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News & Commentary In the News

Nature Infused into Playground

Sandy Grade Elementary school has a new playground just in time for school this year. Using logs from fallen trees, the elementary school transformed an asphalt schoolyard into an 80 feet by 100 feet naturescape filled with logs from fallen trees.

Administration Launches Every Kid in a Park Pass

Starting September 1, 2015, fourth graders nationwide can visit the new Every Kid in a Park website to obtain a pass that provides free access to students and their families to all federally managed lands and waters – including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. The pass is valid for the 2015-2016 school year.

Kinders of the Woods

Former middle school teacher Jennifer Walker started Forest Song Nature School in Juneau, AK to immerse three-to six- year olds in nature. Without a set curriculum, Walker encourages her students to ask a lot of questions, structuring the day with the kids’ interests in mind.

Mpls.-based Wilderness Inquiry Treats City Kids to Paddling Adventures

Creating lifelong stewards of the outdoors cannot happen in one exposure. That’s why Wilderness Inquiry established Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures, a program that seeks to introduce them to progressively longer and farther-flung adventures, leading to lifelong stewardship, and even a career in the outdoor industry.

Send Children Outside: Nature Is the Best Training Ground for STEM Careers

In the next ten years, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs will outpace non-STEM jobs. Marijke Hecht explains that outdoor environmental education prepares children with core experiences and skills that they will need to succeed for this career field.

Buffalo Zoo’s Nature Playground Brings Out Wild Side in Children

Last fall, Buffalo Zoo hosted nature play workshops to solicit ideas from families and the result is a new playground made of logs from a fallen tree to teach kids balance and coordination. The play space was made possible through a grant from Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium.

Great Outdoors University Shows City Kids What They’re Missing

The Great Outdoors University of Greater Charlotte is successfully connecting city kids with nature. More than 10,000 have participated in their year-long program since it started 2 1/2 years ago. Many participants are from low-income families, while others live in group homes.

Healthy Eaters, Strong Minds: What School Gardens Teach Kids

This summer Eastern Senior High students worked with City Blossoms to install a school garden. City Blossoms, a nonprofit that brings community gardens to schools, community centers and other urban areas, is one of many groups across the country teaming up with local communities to install school gardens.

Nature: The Savior of Cities?

Yoshi Silverstein reviews and explains the key concepts in Robert McDonald’s book, Conservation for Cities: How to Plan & Build Natural Infrastructure. Rather than focusing on how to protect nature from cities, the book focuses on how to protect nature for cities.

The Blossoming Health and Academic Benefits of School Gardens

Research suggests that school gardens help students get excited about school and do better on tests. John J. Pershing Elementary School is one of many schools in low-income neighborhoods in Texas that are partnering with REAL School Gardens, a program that helps schools plan and build their garden based on students’ designs.

How You May Be Suffocating Your Kids without Knowing It

British Adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls recently left his 12 year old son stranded on a crop of rocks off the north Wales coast and was excited to do so. Practicing free range parenting, this event stirred a lot of conversation about parenting and whether being an over-protective parent is actually causing more harm than good.

Announcing “Estamos Aqui”, A New Film from Latino Outdoors and The Nature Kids Institute

Estamos Aqui is a new film co-directed and co-produced by Kenny Ballentine, founder of The Nature Kids Institute, and Jose Gonzalez, founder of Latino Outdoors. This feature-length documentary film will uncover and celebrate the often little-known but beautiful and vibrant Latino heritage for conservation and outdoor recreation.

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