Nearly 90 percent of Chinese parents are concerned about how their children spend recess time, according to a survey released by the China Youth Daily Thursday. As children are not allowed to play outside during break time in many schools, nearly three quarters of parent expressed concern over excessive stress and over half expressed concern for their children’s eyesight.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, unveiled a “Back to Nature” garden she helped design at the RHS Chelsea Flower show this week. The Duchess’ garden was created specifically to encourage children to play outside — tying into the focus of her work on how important the early years of life are in childhood development and in setting the stage for a child’s future. The garden, designed by the Duchess and award-winning landscape architects, is a woodland setting for families and communities to come together and connect with nature and includes a swing seat and a high platform tree house, inspired by a bird or animal nest and made from chestnut, with hazel, stag horn oak and larch nest cladding.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research has found that adults who had close contact with the environment during childhood have better mental health. As part of the study, researchers asked adult participants to answer a questionnaire on their frequency of use of natural spaces during childhood, including purposeful hiking in natural parks- and non-purposeful playing in the backyard. The study is one of the first to explore the impact of childhood exposure to natural environments on mental health and vitality in adulthood.
Washington, DC has earned first place in the Trust for Public Land’s 2019 ParkScore® rankings, unseating perennial champion Minneapolis. The city’s improvements in park amenities such as basketball hoops, dog parks, and bathrooms increased its place in the ParkScore ranking. The ParkScore index analyzes the 100 largest U.S. cities based on park access, acreage, amenities, and funding.
A study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a connection between a decline in pollutants in the air and a decline in cases of asthma in children in Southern California over a 20-year period. Study researchers from the University of Southern California found that as air pollutants declined about 20 percent over the study time period, new cases of asthma in children also declined about a 20 percent.
Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey has introduced a new bill, the Outdoor Recreation Therapy for Veterans Act. The bill, HR 2435, would establish a task force charged with finding ways to make better use of public land in treatment and therapy for vets. The bill acknowledges the important role public lands and unspoiled wilderness play in American society and could direct one of the largest budgets in the world—that of the U.S. military—toward protecting public lands and funding the guides and gear necessary to recreate on them, all the while educating millions of veterans about the importance of conserving our wild places.
REI and National Forest Foundation have teamed up for a third consecutive year to restore trails and connect youth to National Forests. This year funds will support up to 15 high-impact projects on National Forests around the country. In addition, every project supported year has a youth element such as an internship, a summer field program or a day of stewardship.
Adidas Outdoor and 1Climb, a nonprofit co-founded by American rock climber Kevin Jorgeson, announced an initiative to build 10 climbing walls in Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. (a nonprofit that “inspires and enables” underserved youth through various programs and opportunities) around the country. The partnership hopes to introduce 100,000 kids in urban areas to their first climb. The 1Climb Boys & Girls Club facilities will be completed by 2020 and join three others that 1Climb has already built in Saint Louis, Missouri, Los Angeles, and Sonoma, California.