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News Center Items by Josefina Prieto

Neighborhoods With More Green Space May Mean Less Heart Disease

According to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, people who live in leafy, green neighborhoods may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and strokes. Study researchers from the University of Louisville collected blood and urine samples from over 400 people of varying ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic levels over five-years to assess the impact of neighborhood greenspaces on individual-level markers of stress and cardiovascular disease risk.

Study Highlights Hazards of Inactivity in Children

Research by Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) has identified that Australian children cannot jump as far as their parents and their sporting abilities and participation rates are declining. Researchers also highlight that children are not engaging in physical activities common to previous generations, such as playing hopscotch, climbing trees and skipping rope.

National Wildlife Refuges Announce 2019 Fee-Free Days

National Wildlife Refuges announce five fee-free days for 2019. During these fee-free days, thirty refuges that normally charge entrance fees will offer free admission. The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s largest network of conservation lands, encompassing 567 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Every state and U.S. territory has at least one national wildlife refuge, there is and one within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. 

Study Uncovers Troubling Rise in Screen Time Among Rural Youth

According to a new study in the journal “Environment and Behavior,” rural children are spending more time in front of screens than in nature. The researchers surveyed 543 sixth- to eighth-grade students across rural South Carolina. According to the survey, screen time was higher than outdoor time for almost every demographic group that the researchers examined. Students who reported increased screen time tended to also report lower levels of connectedness to nature.

Snowball Ban Overturned in Colorado Town After Request From 9-year-old Boy

A nine-year-old boy in Severance, Colorado convinced his town’s board to overturn a long-held ban on snowball fights by citing the benefits of the outdoors to children. Dane Best told the board that today’s kids need reasons to play outside and that research suggests that a lack of exposure to the outdoors can lead to obesity, ADHD, anxiety and depression. Speaking in front of a crowd of residents and media, Best told town trustees that because of the nearly 100-year-old ban, which classified snowballs as a type of missile, he couldn’t throw a snowball without worrying about breaking the law, or getting into trouble.

National Park Service Offers 5 Fee-free Days for 2019

The National Park Service announced five fee-free days for 2019, applying to the 115 park sites that normally charge visitors. The five free days for 2019 include Martin Luther King Jr (1/21), Day, National Park Week (4/20), National Park Service’s Birthday (8/25), Public Lands Day (9/28), Veterans Day (11/11). The number of free days is up by one from 2018, but down from the 10 that were offered for the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2017.

Kids Need More Green Time, Less Screen Time, Says New Report

A new report from Nature Canada titled “Screen Time vs Green Time: The Health Impacts of Too Much Screen” warns that screen time is having a major negative health impact on Canada’s children. According to the report, the vast majority of Canadian children are exceeding recommended screen time for their age, and 85 percent of children aged 5 to 17 do not meet the guidelines for adequate sleep or physical activity. The report, which includes input from medical and research professionals, also states that more time spent outside in nature can counteract these impacts

New Research Shows Benefits of Mindfulness Education

A study from researchers at Western Sydney University aims to promote the well-being of children with challenging behavioral and or emotional needs with adventure in the outdoors. The study, while founded on a small-scale inquiry of nine children aged 11-12, has produced encouraging insights into the possible positive impacts of this novel interdisciplinary approach. The program is based on interactive and outdoor activities including themed nature walks and experiential learning to deal with psychosocial difficulties.

Community Allocates Funding for New Nature Play Spaces in the Australian Capital Territory

Nearly two million dollars have been allocated to build new nature play spaces as well as upgrade dozens of playgrounds across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). A community-led forum made the decision in order to enhance children’s physical health and well-being by providing opportunities for social skills and motor skill development.

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