A new census from the Land Trust Alliance reveals that U.S. landowners voluntarily protect more land (and water) than all national parks in the lower 48 states. More than 56 million acres of private land in the United States have been voluntarily conserved across the country, an area representing double the size of all land in national parks across the lower 48 states. The report, called the National Land Trust Census, is released every five years, and suggests that public lands serve a key role in the country’s conservation portfolio, helping to fill gaps among higher-profile parks and preserves.
A new report finds that young children and teens are losing anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of sleep a week, putting children at risk of stunted physical growth, poor performance at school, anxiety or depression and potential future health problems like obesity. The report emphasizes the benefits of outdoor time in improving a child’s sleep, making children more alert during the day, and tired at night.
A major internal case review by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has found that many children and young people in Ireland, some as young as five years of age, have unlimited and unsupervised access to the internet. The data is based on an internal case review, carried out in July, of the different cyber issues affecting young people and their families that had been encountered by the children’s charity in the previous 18 months.
An Australian boy is challenging his peers to pick the outdoors over screens. As part of a school project, 11-year-old Hunter Barrett undertook a three-day screen-free challenge, which inspired a broader 30 Day Nature Play Challenge in Australia. The challenge encourages children to have a #summer2remember by swapping screen time for green time over the holidays.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced more than $350,000 in funding to engage youth and veterans in hands-on conservation projects on public lands from Big Bend National Park in Texas to North Cascades National Park in Washington State. The grants are part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), an ongoing national effort to prepare the next generation of outdoor stewards by training and employing thousands of America’s young adults to protect, restore and enhance our nation’s public lands and waters.
President-elect Donald Trump selected Montana congressman Ryan Zinke (R) to serve as secretary for the Department of the Interior, a position that manages natural and cultural resources. If Zinke accepts the job, he would oversee about 20 percent of the country’s public land, some 70,000 employees, and agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.