On April 7-9, attendees at C&NN’s sold-out 2015 Children & Nature Conference in Austin, Texas, helped set the agenda for the coming decade on a number of issues – among them technology, parks, education, health care, cities and the law.
April also marks the tenth anniversary of the first publication of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”(Algonquin Books), by Richard Louv, which led to the creation of the Children & Nature Network in 2006.
Over half a million copies of the book have been sold in the U.S. and Canada, and it has been translated into 13 languages and published in 17 countries. Louv also received the prestigious Audubon Medal for his work. The newest printing of “Last Child in the Woods” includes an updated report on the state of the movement.
"It’s hard to overstate the importance of ‘Last Child in the Woods’ to the movement to reconnect children to nature,” says Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director of the Children & Nature Network. “Ten years ago, most conservation groups were not talking about connecting children and families to nature. Today, it is a central piece of the conservation conversation.”
She adds: “Leaders from the health, government, education, business and youth development sectors are stepping forward to talk about the important role of nature in the everyday lives of children and families. And the movement is picking up steam.”
For C&NN and many other organizations, 2015 year is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for the children and nature movement. Here is a sampling of the emerging events and campaigns:
• In 2015, Cities Promoting Access to Nature will be launched by The National League of Cities and C&NN. The National League of Cities (which represents 19,000 municipalities and 218 million Americans) and C&NN will promote new urban policies that connect families to nature, devise methods to measure progress, and provide training programs.
• In 2015, C&NN and the Canadian Wildlife Association will partner to jointly promote family nature clubs. C&NN’s partnership will build on existing C&NN partnerships with the American Camp Association and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Growing interest in family nature clubs is also evident in other nations, including China.
• In June, 2015, a model Nature Library for the nation will be opened in St. Paul, Minnesota. With the help of the mayor of St. Paul, and a partnership between C&NN, St. Paul and Wells Fargo Bank, Sun Ray Library has been designed from the ground up to incorporate nature inside and outside the library, as a model for the rest of the country.
Also, in September, 2015, the White House’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative begins. It will provide every 4th grader in the U.S., and his or her family, with a free annual pass to any National Park or other federal lands, and will work with schools and business to engage a generation of young people with the natural world. Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Parks Service, will speak at the upcoming C&NN conference.
• The upcoming C&NN conference, co-sponsored by C&NN, the Texas Children in Nature and Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, will bring together hundreds of movement leaders from around the world on the 10th anniversary of “Last Child in the Woods.”
Read more about the New Nature Movement.
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