E.O. Wilson, the famed Harvard biologist and conservationist known for his influential ideas about evolution, shares why spending time in nature is not only good for our health, but for our brains too. Thirty years ago, E.O. Wilson introduced the idea of biophilia, or the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes, and now analyzes how it is useful in today’s world.
Washburn Center for Children needed a bigger location to serve 2,700 children annually. Lead Designer Mohammed Lawal, of Lawal Scott Erickson Architects, found inspiration in Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder,” and focused on natural light and spaces. The 2.5 acre site now houses gardens, green space, and a brand new whimsical playground.
Youth in South Australia will now be able to interact with nature thanks to a $6 million Government program. The money is being distributed to preschools across the state, and the program will develop 20 new outdoor play areas within the next four years.
A new study suggests that children exposed to the protein A20, often found in dirt on farms, tend to develop less allergens. This new research is an important step in developing more effective allergy prevention, and indicates that aerosol vaccines may have a greater success rate than classic injections.
Laura Whittaker, 31, is one of Duluth Minnesota’s Top 20 under 40. Whittaker was nominated for the award because she founded Wind Ridge Schoolhouse, her own outdoor preschool. Whittaker currently serves as the preschool’s director as well as a teacher, and is committed to promoting outdoor education.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker launched Salt Lake City Explore — a program to challenge local youths and their parents to spend at least 30 minutes a day outdoors for a 30-day period. The program is part of a national effort spearheaded by U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to promote healthy lifestyles by connecting children with nature and inspiring the next generation of outdoor stewards.
A recent study conducted of 2,000 first graders at 12 Chinese primary schools found that kids who spent more time outside were less likely to develop myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness. The study evaluated kids over a three year period, with one group engaging in more outdoor time during the school day as well as outside of the classroom.
Outdoor preschools may be more affordable ways to educate children. Tiny Trees is an organization that has a goal to start 20 new outdoor preschools across the coast of Washington by 2020. Many are run by city parks departments and nonprofits.
A new playscape in Durham, North Carolina immerses kids and families into nature. This weekend members of the Museum of Life & Science will be the first to experience Hideaway Woods — the museum’s newest outdoor playscape. Hideaway Woods features eight treehouses interconnected with slides, bridges and windy staircases.
Ecotherapy is a relatively new form of medicine that borrows from the concept that nature exposure benefits human health. Practitioners warn, though, that nature prescriptions cannot occur only once. In order to experience the full value of ecotherapy, patients need to develop a relationship with nature and give back.
The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced the recipients of 44 “Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium” grants. Supported by the Disney Conservation Fund,the program is a partnership with the Children & Nature Network, building on their successful Family Nature Club initiative. Nature Play grants provide financial, logistical and creative support.
Wilderness Awareness School uses the Japanese practice of forest bathing as a way to encourage adults to unplug from technology. Although primarily working with kids, the wilderness school heard from parents and adults that they needed time outside too. In response, they launched their first ever “Unplug and Recharge in Nature” day.