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News Center Items by Richard Louv

As Outdoor Preschools Spread, States Debate How to Keep Kids Safe

Outdoor or nature-based preschools have expanded dramatically in recent years, from just a handful of programs a decade ago to more than 400 across the US today. Now, as outdoor preschools look for a way to expand, the schools and their supporters are pushing states to consider licensing programs, even in places where children can encounter wild animals or poisonous plants.

Better Access to Nature, Even Just Your Local Park, Helps People and the Planet

New research from the European Centre for Environmental and Human Health at the University of Exeter shows that people who spend time in nature are more likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors. Using data from more than 24,000 English adults, the researchers found that exposure to nature, including strolling through a city park, makes people more likely to recycle; get around in greener ways, like walking and biking; buy local and seasonal produce; and engage in environmental volunteering.

Study Investigates Reasons Why Screen Time Reduces Time Spent Outdoors

A recent study from Canadian researchers found that adolescents consider being outdoors less important than access to screens. The study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, also found that the addictive nature of screen time was a barrier to connecting with nature for this group.

Experiencing Wilderness Keeps Us Happy, so We Should Protect It Even in Cities

New research led by University of Washington researchers found that experiencing wilderness is important for our physical and mental health. The study, based in Discovery Park in Seattle, reports that exposure to wilderness is especially important in urban landscapes, even compared to other types of natural areas. The research was prompted by the park’s advisory board, which asked the team to find out which elements are most important for park-goers in order to better inform decision-makers.

Study: Children Who Grow up Feeling Close to Nature Are Happier and More Likely to Care for the Planet

According to a research team in Mexico, children who grow up feeling close to nature are happier and more likely to become eco-friendly, compared to those who suffer from nature deficit disorder. The researchers surveyed nearly 300 children to find a link between ecological and sustainable awareness and feelings of happiness. The study is the first to show that connectedness to nature makes children happier due to their tendency to perform sustainable and pro-ecological behaviors.

New York State Senate Passes Outdoor Rx Act in Unanimous Vote

The New York State Senate passed the Outdoor Rx Act which will lower barriers for veterans to access New York State’s scenic and restorative outdoor spaces. More than 800,000 veterans live in New York State, but numerous barriers often prevent them from exercising their human right to access nature.

Spending Time in Nature May Lower Stress, Anxiety

New research from an interdisciplinary Cornell team has found that as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting can help college students feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress. The research, published in Frontiers in Psychology, is part of a larger examination of the therapeutic benefits of nature for college students.

New Report Warns That the World Is Failing to Give Children Healthy Lives

No single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures, says a major new report by over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world. The report references UNICEF’s work in child-friendly cities, with an emphasis on walkability, outdoor play, and green space in cities for the benefit of children.

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