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YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN NATURE: An Interview with Karen Pittman

Karen J. Pittman is president and CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan “action tank” that combines thought leadership on youth development, youth policy, cross-system/cross-sector partnerships and developmental youth practice with...
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TIME FOR A CAMP REVIVAL: The Return of Nature Camps and the Support for Those That Never Went Away

Dear friends, I hope you will join me at the 2019 Children & Nature Network International Conference in Oakland, California, May 16-18, 2019. The conference is anticipated to be the largest gathering of leaders, advocates and activists from the children and nature...
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A DOZEN WAYS FAMILIES CAN #OPTOUTSIDE EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR

In 2015, the leaders of the retail outdoor equipment Co-op REI made a big decision. They closed their doors on Black Friday, the biggest day in the global retail calendar. Instead, they encouraged their 12,000 employees to Opt Outside (#OptOutside), to reconnect with...
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GOD AND MOTHER NATURE: Mister Rogers and the Gift of the Honest Self

It’s 1993. Fred Rogers enters a noisy hotel lobby, taking pictures of the people who have come to meet him. You realize that you have lowered the volume of your voice. I look down at my son, Matthew, who had turned 6 on the day before Halloween. Normally ebullient and...
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A TREASURE CHEST: What Mothers Leave Behind

My mother, perhaps like yours, gave the gift of nature. I remember her here. The old chest of drawers proved to be a treasure chest. It was a small piece of furniture, perhaps an old washstand, with three drawers. It sat in a storage unit for over a year, and when we...
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DEAR VIRGINIA: On Writing

Dear Virginia, Time has slipped by, and I’ve been meaning to write to you. I met you about a year and a half ago at a conference of environmental educators in Asheville, North Carolina. You were 11 years old then. Your mother had brought you to one of my sermonettes....
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SINGING FOR BEARS: Reclaiming Our Senses, Including Our Sense of Humility

My son Matthew and I were wading up a stream of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. For a second year, Joe, our guide, was teaching us how to sense the presence of Kodiak brown bears, the largest grizzlies — the ones that can run 35 miles per hour, the ones you cannot...
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