LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 58 min 45 sec ago
The outdoor gear retailer REI released a new report entitled "The Path Ahead" which reflects trends that affect the future of life outdoors. The report is designed to provoke discussion by exploring nine ‘brutal truths’ juxtaposed with nine ‘beautiful possibilities’ and to paint a picture of what could happen if we stay inside as a species or #OptOutside.
A Singaporean hospital was named the inaugural winner of the Stephen S. Kellert Award for Biophilic Design by the International Living Future Institute. The award is given in an effort to recognize building design that reconnects people to nature and relies on natural materials and themes to make buildings healthier for people. The award itself is named for the late Yale University social ecologist & former C&NN board member, Stephen S. Kellert, whom many people consider the father of biophilic design.
In an effort to encourage people to get outside and enjoy nature, many states and national parks will be letting visitors into their parks for free on Black Friday, November 24. Around the US, national and state parks are participating, waiving park entry and parking fees in an effort to entice visitors.
The Mayors of London and Accra, alongside international agencies including the European Network for Child-Friendly Cities, recently launched The Child Health Initiative (CHI). Central to the new initiative is the "Declaration of Every Child’s Right to Safe and Healthy Streets" which calls for global leaders to commit to the protection of children who are currently using the world’s most dangerous streets, to ensure they are not breathing the polluted air that is especially damaging to growing lungs, and to provide a safe and healthy journey to school for every child worldwide. Experts emphasized children’s right to play and socialize within the public realm, and to be supported as full stakeholders in their towns and cities with the right to enjoy their own culture and fully participate in the life of their communities.
A new study of the outdoor play environments in early childcare centers showed significant decreases in depression and antisocial behavior, alongside increases in moderate to vigorous physical activity, independent play, and prosocial behaviors with the introduction of interventions to increase opportunities for nature and risky play. Educators also observed improved socialization, problem-solving, focus, self-regulation, creativity and self-confidence, and reduced stress, boredom and injury in the children. As outdoor space at childcare centers can be many preschoolers' primary experience of outdoor play, the researchers conclude that outdoor play spaces are important for promoting children's well-being and development.
Following a survey showing that computers, consoles, tablets or mobile phones are the most popular way for children to have fun, the Power of Play campaign has been launched in the UK to provide more opportunities for play. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of play in childhood development while raising money to help BBC Children in Need give 30,000 disadvantaged children and young people across the UK the opportunity to develop vital life skills through play.
The Children & Nature Network’s Executive Director, Sarah Milligan-Toffler, was awarded the 2017 Fran P. Mainella Award for sustained and innovative achievement by a woman in the management of North America’s natural, historic or cultural heritage. The award was a part of the Hartzog Awards & Lecture Series at the Clemson University Institute for Parks. Sarah Milligan-Toffler’s 30-year career has been focused on ensuring that women, vulnerable children, people with disabilities, veterans, and other underserved populations have access to the healing power of nature in their everyday lives.
Paris has joined 32 cities from the 100 Resilience Cities Network to release its first resilience strategy, part of which will incorporate public schoolyards as ‘new’ public spaces. The strategy is a part of a plan to prepare the French capital for the risks of the 21st century. The Chief Resilience Officer for the city says the city plans to add green features to city schoolyards and then to open the schoolyards to the public.
New research from Germany has found that living in close proximity to forest land is linked with strong, healthy functioning of a key part of the brain. The findings indicate that, compared with those who live in a mostly man-made environment, people who dwell on the border between city and forest may be better able to cope with stress. The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The outdoor gear co-op REI is closing on Black Friday for the third year in a row. The co-op plans to shutter all 151 of its stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, days which kick off the holiday season’s peak period. REI will also not process any online orders on Black Friday, which is not a statutory holiday but a regular work day. It will pay its 12,000 employees, including hourly workers, for their time and encourage them to spend that Friday enjoying the outdoors.
Under a new proposal from the National Park Service, 17 of the most popular U.S. national parks could see entrance fees for weeklong passes increase from around $25 to $30 to $70 for a single private vehicle. Many worry the cost increase will be a barrier for some families and will disproportionately affect families of color in accessing the parks.
A new report from the 8 80 cities project, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the Urban 95 program entitled " Building Better Cities with Young Children and Families" offers tactics, strategies and principles for the participation and engagement of children, young people and their families in creating more child and family-friendly cities. The report used a mix of background research, place-based research and interviews with researchers, practitioners, policymakers and thought leaders along with snapshots and case studies of innovative and interesting projects. C&NN's Jaime Zaplatosch, Director of Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities, served as an advisor for the report.
UC Berkeley recently established a new institute, the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity to tackle the most pressing issues facing the future of parks, including climate change and equitable access. The Institute’s inaugural executive director will be Jonathan B. Jarvis, who served 40 years with the National Park Service (NPS) and as its 18th director from 2009 to 2017. During his tenure, Jarvis expanded the NPS by 22 new parks, and led the service through its Centennial with a vision for a second century of park stewardship, engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.
A new survey of technology use at home shows the gap in computer access between rich and poor students is rapidly closing. The gap in access to mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, has virtually vanished and high-speed internet access is becoming more commonplace. However, the survey found that screen time has also increased disproportionately for low-income children compared with the last time the survey was taken, in 2013.
Philadelphia's Adair Elementary School has a new green space, which gives students a great place to play that is environmentally friendly. The schoolyard was revitalized due to the efforts of a partnership among the School District of Philadelphia; the city's Departments of Water and Parks & Recreation; Friends of Adaire, a volunteer group of Fishtown community members; and the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit group working to create parks and protect land to ensure healthy, livable communities. The green schoolyard at the K-8 school will serve and features equipment designed to capture and reuse stormwater, a large rain garden with a nature trail, a toddler playground, and seating where residents can gather.
Better facilities, targeted programming and more marketing are among the recommendations included in a new study of 175 neighborhood parks in 25 major American cities. From 2014 to 2016, researchers from the RAND Corporation, City Parks Alliance, and The Trust for Public Land observed park use, park-based physical activity, and park conditions, as well as the way users felt about their local parks. The study points to tangible ways that cities can encourage residents to use parks more in general, and for physical activity in particular.
A new report on children's health and wellbeing from a U.K. parliamentary group calls for the national curriculum to incorporate physical activity into traditional classroom learning. The group also recommends that the curriculum include high-quality outdoor play and active learning. Among its recommendations is regular training on playtime learning for educators.
Students showed improved behavior as well as increased literacy and math skills two years after a Melbourne primary school introduced more frequent, regular outdoor play breaks into the school day. The radical overhaul of the school timetable allows students six breaks during the day. The initiative was inspired by standard practice in Finland, where it's mandatory for students to take a 15-minute outdoor break every hour.
Citing the evolving needs of working families and a desire to be more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced Wednesday that it will begin accepting girls next year. Starting in 2018, the Cub Scouts (the program for seven to 10-year olds) will begin accepting female members. The BSA has not yet announced what female integration into Boy Scout troops (ages 11 to 18) will look like, but does state that girls will have the chance to work toward the highest rank of Eagle Scout beginning in 2019.
A new study from Norway has found clear associations between the amount of time children spend in outdoor play and their progress in school. Among children of ages 4 through 7, researchers observed those who spent more time outside during child care performed better on an executive function assessment and showed fewer inattention-hyperactivity symptoms. The findings were consistent among children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as those not diagnosed with ADHD.