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News Center Items by Richard Louv

Free Park Fees During National Park Week

National Park Week 2019 will take place from April 20 to 28. In honor of National Park Week, parks across the country will host a variety of special programs and events. To kick off National Park Week, all entrance fees are waived at U.S. National Parks on Saturday, April 20th.

Counties with More Trees and Shrubs Spend Less on Medicare, Study Finds

A new study has found that spending on Medicare-covered health services is significantly less in counties that are rich with forests and shrubbery. For the study, University of Illinois researchers analyzed county-level health and environmental data from 3,086 of the 3,103 counties in the continental U.S. Urban and rural counties with the lowest socioeconomic status appeared to benefit the most from increases in forests and shrubs

Norwegian Hospitals Add Woodland Cabins and Forest-play for Healing

The two largest hospitals in Norway have created Outdoor Care Retreats set in nature. Built in partnership with the architectural firm, Snøhetta, and with the help of the Friluftssykehuset Foundation charity, the spaces are set in nature but accessible to patients from the main hospital. Hospital administrators hope the natural setting will promote healing, particularly for pediatric patients.

State Raises Outdoor Recreation to Next Level

New Mexico’s Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed off on a bill that will create a new outdoor recreation division within an existing New Mexico state agency. The legislation is a first step toward bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation economy and will also create an “outdoor equity grant program” aimed at helping low-income families in New Mexico enjoy skiing, camping and other outdoor pursuits. A number of other Western states have created similar state government offices in recent years.

In Atlanta, a Pilot Program to Turn School Lands Into Public Parks

Atlanta has plans for a pilot program that would allow the public to use school grounds after hours and on weekends. The pilot, a collaboration between the city of Atlanta, the Trust for Public Land, Park Pride, the Urban Land Institute-Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools, will include at least 10 schools over the next three years. Atlanta’s ParkScore, the percentage of Atlantans who live within a 10-minute walk of a park, is only 66 percent – meaning 34 percent of the city’s residents do not live within walking distance of a park. Partners hope that if Atlanta’s schools were open to the public, the city’s ParkScore would jump to 79 percent.

Attenborough and Stars Back Campaign to Save Wildlife

A group of celebrities including Sir David Attenborough have come together in a special campaign based on the film, Wind in the Willows, to encourage children to work together to save the UK’s wildlife. The campaign shows the famous characters from the much-loved children’s book, like Toad, Badger and Moly, falling into hardship as a result of roads being constructed, river pollution and intensive farming, threats faced by nature and wildlife in the UK. Sir David Attenborough has been outspoken about his concerns that today’s children are losing touch with nature and wildlife.

Tinkergarten Raises $21M in Funding

The outdoor play-based learning company Tinkergarten raised $21M in funding to launch the program more widely in cities and to further develop the platform as a global brand in early outdoor education. Tinkergarten provides a technology platform that enables families to connect with certified, local teachers who bring the curriculum’s play- based lessons to life in natural learning environments. 

First Look at Designs for Ireland’s Largest Adventure Playground

Ireland’s Gosford Forest Park has plans for a new outdoor play adventure experience for its younger visitors. The designs for Gosford Forest Park will showcase five iconic play structures linked by a 1.2 mile woodland play trail. Park administrators hope the new outdoor adventure play experience will satisfy the growing demand for more child-orientated outdoor experiences in Northern Ireland.

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