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News Center Items by Josefina Prieto

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN NATURE: An Interview with Karen Pittman

Karen J. Pittman is president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank” that combines thought leadership on youth development, youth policy, cross-system/cross-sector partnerships and developmental youth practice with...

Just 20 Minutes of Nature Significantly Lowers Stress Hormones

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently asked a group of adults to take “nature pills,” or to spend some time either sitting or walking in nature. Participants were required to spend 10 minutes or more in nature at least three times a week for an eight-month period. After analyzing the results, the researchers found that having a 20-minute nature experience reduced cortisol levels.

An Alarming Kids’ Health Report Shows Cities Must Act Now on Traffic Pollution

A landmark new study published in The Lancet Planetary Health this week reports that as many as 4 million new cases of pediatric asthma occur every year because of exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from traffic fumes, which can travel inside the respiratory tract and cause serious health issues such as asthma. While they grow, children are especially vulnerable to external toxins contained in air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90% of the world’s 1.8 billion children are exposed to toxic air pollutants on a daily basis. Experts are hoping the study will encourage cities to undertake more efforts to reduce traffic pollution

Bush Schools Are Increasing in Australia and Teachers Say They’re Achieving Amazing Results

In Australia, bush schools are on the rise with some primary schools becoming full bush schools in which students spend the majority of their time learning outdoors every day. Bush schools are the Australian version of forest schools, both models embrace outdoor learning. Educators at the bush schools are reporting positive changes in their students.

Free Park Fees During National Park Week

National Park Week 2019 will take place from April 20 to 28. In honor of National Park Week, parks across the country will host a variety of special programs and events. To kick off National Park Week, all entrance fees are waived at U.S. National Parks on Saturday, April 20th.

Counties with More Trees and Shrubs Spend Less on Medicare, Study Finds

A new study has found that spending on Medicare-covered health services is significantly less in counties that are rich with forests and shrubbery. For the study, University of Illinois researchers analyzed county-level health and environmental data from 3,086 of the 3,103 counties in the continental U.S. Urban and rural counties with the lowest socioeconomic status appeared to benefit the most from increases in forests and shrubs

Norwegian Hospitals Add Woodland Cabins and Forest-play for Healing

The two largest hospitals in Norway have created Outdoor Care Retreats set in nature. Built in partnership with the architectural firm, Snøhetta, and with the help of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation charity, the spaces are set in nature but accessible to patients from the main hospital. Hospital administrators hope the natural setting will promote healing, particularly for pediatric patients.

State Raises Outdoor Recreation to Next Level

New Mexico’s Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed off on a bill that will create a new outdoor recreation division within an existing New Mexico state agency. The legislation is a first step toward bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation economy and will also create an “outdoor equity grant program” aimed at helping low-income families in New Mexico enjoy skiing, camping and other outdoor pursuits. A number of other Western states have created similar state government offices in recent years.

In Atlanta, a Pilot Program to Turn School Lands Into Public Parks

Atlanta has plans for a pilot program that would allow the public to use school grounds after hours and on weekends. The pilot, a collaboration between the city of Atlanta, the Trust for Public Land, Park Pride, the Urban Land Institute-Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools, will include at least 10 schools over the next three years. Atlanta’s ParkScore, the percentage of Atlantans who live within a 10-minute walk of a park, is only 66 percent – meaning 34 percent of the city’s residents do not live within walking distance of a park. Partners hope that if Atlanta’s schools were open to the public, the city’s ParkScore would jump to 79 percent.

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