A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) found that nature is an under-recognized healer, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing. The study found that people living close to trees and green spaces are less likely to be obese, inactive, or dependent on anti-depressants. The study team spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.
News Center Items by Angela Hanscom
A new study from the University of British Columbia suggests that developing positive experiences in nature at a young age can influence attitudes and behaviors towards nature as adults. The study researchers interviewed 50 university students between the ages of 18 to 25. Of the group, 87 percent of study respondents who played outside as children expressed a continued love of nature as young adults. Of that group, 84 percent said taking care of the environment was a priority.
The New Jersey-based National Winter Activity Center (NWAC), a nonprofit geared toward raising the next generation of skiers and boarders, hopes to help urban youth learn the sport. Now in its third season, NWAC has grown from 800 kids in 2016 to 1,100 in 2017 and is now a laboratory for youth sports and wellness
Chicago and Philadelphia are at the forefront of a growing, big-city trend of developing parks and public spaces for social and economic benefits. Aided by a longstanding tax that goes directly to parks, Chicago has been undertaking a major parks and open space program, upgrading neighborhood playgrounds and recreation centers, scooping up acres of disused land for new green areas and repurposing large swaths of formerly industrial waterfront.
Children in Wellington, New Zealand voice their demand for more nature play spaces in a new Play Spaces Policy draft submitted to the Wellington City Council. The group, Wellington Playcentre Association, coordinated the effort as part of their larger effort to create a network of play spaces. The new policy does not focus on playgrounds, but rather emphasizes nature play including more natural sensory play opportunities and use of sustainable, natural materials and native planting where possible.
A recent study has found that tuning into nature documentaries can have an immediate impact on increasing happiness and reducing overall stress. The study was commissioned by the BBC to mark the launch of its new critically-acclaimed nature series “Planet Earth II.”
In an effort to promote healthy habits, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix has implemented a new approach to screen time combining technology with physical activity. If children want screen time, they have to earn it with physical activity. A wearable tracking device worn on the wrist, provided to the Boys and Girls Clubs by Unitedhealthcare, keeps track of exercise or play activity. The more points the kids get, the more video time they get.
Myopia is a “looming epidemic” with young children needing glasses sooner, according to experts in Australia. A decade ago, myopia tended to peak in children when they hit puberty, but optometrists are now reporting significant rates of the condition in children as young as five. Experts point to a decline in time outdoors in favor of screen time indoors as a factor damaging children’s eyes.