LEARN | CONNECT | ACT
Updated: 22 min 56 sec ago
In Mumbai, children’s play areas are on the decline, leaving them with extremely limited safe outdoor play options. According to the NCERT All-India Education Survey, about 75% of Mumbai schools do not have their own playgrounds. Additionally, the Mumbai Traffic Department seeks to develop over 50 acres of existing children’s play areas into pay-and-park facilities.
A partnership between Earth Day Canada and the city of Toronto launches a pilot initiative that allows neighborhoods to get a permit to transform residential streets into playing fields for children. The StreetPLAY pilot project is in part a response to a controversial bylaw forbidding street encroachment and imposing fines for such acts as leaving outdoor play equipment outside.
Participation in Park Rx Day is expected to more than double this year, with celebrations expanded to include local, state, and regional parks and public lands. An event in San Francisco alone is expected to draw 3,000 people at Crissy Field at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Park Rx Day is April 23rd.
The number of studies on the restorative effects of natural environments on children has grown from a handful thirty years ago to more than 500. Richard Louv, a keynote speaker at the Children and Nature Network International Conference in Vancouver from April 18-21, says the studies show that children today are more likely to report symptoms of attention disorders and depression, and are more likely to be medicated for those problems than at any time in human history.
A new initiative from the Seoul Metropolitan Government will equip each city district with a ‘forest kindergarten’ outdoor space over the next few years, affording children living in urban areas a rare opportunity to experience nature. According to a new plan revealed by the Seoul Municipal Government, more than 400 forests in the city offering outdoor education programs will be opened by 2023.
To address the growing lack of nature connection, more than 800 leaders and activists from 22 countries will gather in Vancouver B.C. for the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference and Summit. This premier gathering of the children and nature movement brings together the world’s leading voices on creating a world in which all children benefit from nature in their daily lives.
To celebrate the 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference & Summit, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds is building a Nature-Play pop-up park in Vancouver’s Devonian Harbour Park. The pop-up park will be filled with hay bales, water, soil, mulch, burlap, twine, logs, and joyful kids building forts, playing hard, and getting dirty. The pop-up park is a collaboration with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Children & Nature Network, and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
Ohio’s Springcreek Elementary School recently received a “Best School in Ohio Connect to Nature Award” from the Miami County Park District. Springcreek is the first school in Ohio and the U.S. to receive this designation. To qualify for the recognition, the school had to meet a set of criteria established by the Leave No Child Inside: Miami Valley Collaborative (MVLNCI) and Dayton Regional Green (DRG).
A new conservation program in Milwaukee hopes to engage traditionally under-represented young people in conservation. A partnership in Milwaukee between the parks department, Employ Milwaukee, Groundwork Milwaukee, Maximus and United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee aims to increase land stewardship efforts, address unemployment and increase representation of Milwaukee’s diverse community in service to public green space.
A safety organization in the Netherlands is campaigning to encourage parents to let children play more dangerously. The national safety body has launched a campaign called “Risky Play” which messages that children should be encouraged to play with penknives, climb trees and light fires – with appropriate supervision.
REI wants more women and girls to get outside. The outdoor co-op is launching a new initiative called “Force of Nature,” a commitment to making women the prime focus of the company’s nonprofit investments, gear development, and marketing for the rest of 2017. Among the efforts, the company plans to hold more than 1,000 events for the women throughout the summer.
A survey of 1,000 U.S. parents conducted on behalf of the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) found that eighty percent of parents said their kids enjoy playing outdoors significantly more than playing indoors. Research from the inaugural Voice of Play Parent Survey finds that kids, on average, are playing four days per week. The survey also uncovered generational differences among parents in play attitudes and behaviors, highlighting an opportunity for increased education on why play is critically important.
In the UK, a petition to the government was recently launched calling for the development of a General Certificate of Secondary Education in natural history. The petition hopes to make nature part of British society again. According to the petition, natural history should not be folded into biology but should stand on its own.
Denver, Colorado is making a shift to natural playgrounds. The city’s Parks and Recreation department is focusing on nature play options in its parks with multiple natural playground projects planned. Natural playgrounds, made of recycled trees and boulders, have become a popular option over traditional playgrounds with slides, monkey bars and swings.
Students in the UK will have more opportunities to learn outside, thanks to the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. The organization has launched a project to offer a range of outdoor learning opportunities to primary and secondary schools in the South Yorkshire area as well as outdoor learning training for teachers. Organizers say the effort will boost children’s education by giving them hands-on experience of the wild world.
Brief but intense doses of physical activity could be part of a ‘prescription’ for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health. An international study led by a researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that as little as 10 minutes a day of high-intensity physical activity could help some children reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.