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News Center Items by Mike Lanza

Grand Rapids Students Get Out of the Classroom and Into Nature

City officials and school leaders from the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan held a sneak preview and project update of a green schoolyard project and nature play area at Plaster Creek Family Park. The project is part of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature initiative aimed at engaging children in outdoor learning spaces and new nature experiences instead of the traditional steel playground structures.

How a Child’s Environment Can Affect Their Personality

Researchers from Yale University found that a child’s environment can affect such personality traits as patience and being risk-averse. The study, which involved children from four countries, showed that being brought up in an urban setting could dramatically shape the behavior and actions of children.

Children Who Have Afternoon Breaks Are Fitter but Need a Supportive Environment

A Swansea University study looked at the connection between afternoon breaks during the school day and impacts on children’s health. Over 5000 students from 56 primary schools in Wales were involved in the study. Researchers found that children who had afternoon play were significantly fitter, which suggests that removing afternoon play for children may be detrimental to their physical health.

Pop-up Parks Provide More Than a Patch of Grass

With pop-up and temporary green spaces becoming increasingly popular in cities, researchers are exploring the social and ecological impacts of the installations. According to researchers from RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research (CUR), temporary pop-up parks and green spaces in urban areas offer great benefits for the environment as well as the physical and mental wellbeing of people.

Michigan Joins National Effort to Promote Outdoor Recreation Industry

The state of Michigan has partnered with a consortium of states dedicated to promoting the outdoor recreation industry. The partnership is part of a growing national effort to build public awareness about the economic, social and public health benefits of outdoor play and provide a unified voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that make up the industry. Michigan offers more than 8 million acres of publicly accessible lands, 12,000 miles of state-designated trails, Great Lakes, rivers and streams.

Nearly Two Thirds of British Parents Think School Children’s Mental Health Is at Risk

A new survey has found that more than half of parents in Britain believe there has been increase in mental health and wellbeing issues in children compared to when they were younger. The parents cited mandatory homework their children must do as a key contributing factor. Almost 50 per cent of the parents surveyed think their children’s time would be better spent playing outside, learning from friends, on field trips and through play rather than doing homework. 

Netherlands Has Most Asthmatic Children in Europe

The Netherlands has the highest concentration of asthmatic children caused by traffic pollution in Europe according to a new study published in the journal, The Lancet. Researchers report that one in five Dutch children suffer from pollution-induced asthma, rising to over half in the bigger cities. Pediatricians say the damage compromises children’s lives in many ways including preventing them from playing outside.

National Public Lands Day Helps People Connect to Nature through Service

In celebration of the annual National Public Lands Day, September 28, 2019 has been designed as a Free Entrance Day for most National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas and other participating federal sites. National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands with hundreds of thousands of people volunteering each year to assist with various projects designed to restore and enhance public parks, forests, waterways and more.

Every Kid Outdoors Program Provides Fourth Grade Students with Free Entrance to Public Lands

The federal government has authorized the Every Kid Outdoors program for the next 7 years. The program provides fourth graders with free access to explore, learn, and recreate in national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests. The Every Kid Outdoors Program is an interagency collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service. Every Kid Outdoors replaces the Every Kid in a Park program that was established in 2015.

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