The City of Madison is on course to start an exciting initiative. With a planning grant of $25,000 from the Children & Nature Network in partnership with the National League of Cities Institute for Youth several public, non-profit and private institutions are working together to formulate a program to make the many outdoor recreation resources of our community more accessible to kids. With a few organizational meetings already concluded and a collaborative process set in motion, efforts are now underway to make Madison a national leader in nature-based experiential education. Administrated by the Dane County Department of Public Health the Children In Nature Initiative is in the beginning stages of a master plan to impact the lives of young people and their families throughout the region.
“We’re assessing what works locally in connecting children to nature and where there might be gaps, particularly around equitable access,” said Mary Michaud, Division of Policy, Planning & Evaluation director at Public Health. “We have engaged a local nonprofit, the Center for Resilient Cities, to help organize the effort.”
Selected among seven cities across the U.S. Madison is in competition for a much larger implementation grant to put the forthcoming plan into action. Aiming to overcome what Children & Nature Network founder Richard Louv describes as “nature deficient disorder” the cities of Saint Paul, Minnesota; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Providence, Rhode Island; Louisville, Kentucky; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco, California are all vying for the financial resources necessary to get more kids outside.
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