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News & Commentary In the News

At 100, National Park Service Seeks Younger, More Diverse Crowd

This year the National Park Service launched a “Find Your Park” campaign as part of a larger effort to attract more diverse visitors. To help meet this challenge, several Minnesota groups are finding ways to connect younger, more diverse populations to national parks.

REI’s #OptOutside Movement Close to 1 Million Mark as Black Friday Approaches

Since REI announced it’s #OptOutside campaign for Black Friday, more than 150 other companies, nonprofit organizations and agencies that support state and national parks are also encouraging people to spend Black Friday outside. As Thanksgiving approaches, REI plans to recognize the hundreds of thousands of people and partner organizations that are opting to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.

UMF students collaborate to develop nature-based play area for education program

Early Childhood Education students at the University of Maine Farmington are working together to develop a nature-based play area for their education program. The play area will give students the ability to observe how children can develop physically, mentally and emotionally — all in an outdoor environment using natural elements.

3 Reasons Why You Can’t Ignore the Power of Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning is a powerful way to engage students in the educational experience and to foster a greater appreciation for the natural world. T. R. Dunlap, a research assistant for George Washington University, shares the top three reasons why you should embrace outdoor learning.

Nature Boosts the Health of Both Mind and Body

The international movement is going strong in Ireland. Next week experts from environmental and health sectors are coming together at the Delivering Health Through The Environment conference in Belfast, Ireland. Their main goal is to pass policies that promote nature experiences to improve the mental and physical health of Irish citizens.

Inspired by REI, California State Parks Free on Black Friday

Inspired by REI’s announcement about being closed on the day after Thanksgiving, Save the Redwoods League is sponsoring free admission to 49 participating California redwood state parks on Nov. 27. Guests simply have to download a pass and present it at the park. California has the largest state park system in the United States. Minnesota state parks also are offering the same deal at 76 of its parks.

Kids in Day Care Need More Outdoor Play Time

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that preschoolers in child care centers do not get enough time outdoors. It showed that only 3 in 10 children in full-day child care programs got at least 60 minutes of outdoor recess and showed that 32% of children spent no time outdoors at all.

NI Children ‘Disconnected from Nature’

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) of Northern Ireland recently conducted a survey of 2,400 children. It found that 75% of children in Northern Ireland are not as connected to nature as they should be. Children who were more connected to nature showed higher ranks in health and well-being – a link that RSPB feels cannot be ignored.

Global Humanitarian Entertainer Aaron Ableman to Kick Off First European Tour

Award-winning, highly-acclaimed, humanitarian artist, actor and author, Aaron Ableman, is starting a month-long musical tour of Europe, to raise awareness of major causes, including reforesting schools and communities worldwide, and how youth and families can address climate change through everyday actions.

Canadian Museum of Nature Announces Winners of 2015 National Nature Inspiration Awards

Last week the Canadian Museum of Nature announced winners of 2015 National Nature Inspiration Awards. These awards started in 2014 as a way to recognize individuals, groups and organizations whose leadership, innovation and creativity connect Canadians with nature and the natural world.

Outdoor Living Classroom Constantly Evolves to Bring Children Closer to Nature

Students at Hedge School in Carlow, Ireland grow food and cook outside while learning about ecosystems, climate and the different seasons. AP+E, an international architecture studio, designed Hedge School’s award winning pavilion as well as created a year-round planting design with minimal maintenance.

Community Gardens Can Improve Your Mental Health, Study Shows

According to a new study conducted by researchers at Westminster and Essex University in the U.K., those who garden at least 30 minutes a day have lower body-mass indexes, higher self-esteem, better moods and lower stress than their non-gardening counterparts.

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