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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Watching Garden Birds Is Good for Your Mental Health, Research Shows

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:13am
A new UK study finds that just being able to see birds, shrubs and trees can help mental health, even if people are not in a rural area. The academics found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. It did not matter what species of bird they were watching.

Want Happy Kids? Give Them More Experiences and Less Stuff

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:09am
According to a new study, experiential gifts are more likely to build long-lasting memories for kids than material gifts because of the emotional connection that accompanies doing something rather than getting something. In addition, the type of experience matters less to children than the sense of connection it brings.

National Parks Saw a Record-setting Number of Visitors Last Year

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:06am
United States National Parks set attendance records in 2016. A new tally shows 330.97 million recreational visits to national parks last year, a 7.72% increase from the year before. National Park Service says the Find Your Park marketing campaign, designed around the 100th anniversary of the NPS’ creation, built on a five-year upswing in visitation nationwide.

The Secret History of ‘Pokemon G0’

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:05am
The creator of the wildly successful mobile game, Pokémon GO, says getting people outside was an original goal for the development of the game. Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed the “secret history” of Pokémon GO as part of his keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday. Hanke said the creators hoped to create healthy, wholesome, play experiences.

Adaire Elementary Breaks Ground for New Green Space

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 9:03pm
Philadelphia’s Alexander Adaire Elementary School is getting a revitalized schoolyard which will feature new infrastructure designed to capture and reuse stormwater, a large rain garden with a nature trail, a toddler playground, and seating for community gathering. The new schoolyard is the product of a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Friends of Adaire, and the Trust for Public Land. The $1 million project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer and ready for use in the 2017-18 school year.

‘Forest Cities’: The Radical Plan to Save China From Air Pollution

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 8:58pm
Architect Stefano Boeri unveiled plans to create an entire forest city in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing with hundreds of biophilic buildings. Boeri says the first forest city could be built in China by 2020. Boeri described his “vertical forest” concept as the architectural equivalent of a skin graft, a targeted intervention designed to bring new life to a small corner of China’s polluted urban sprawl. His Milan-based practice claimed the buildings would suck 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air each year and produce about 60 kg of oxygen every day.

Hundreds of Schools in Islamabad to Be Made ‘Green Schools’

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 8:53pm
As part of the ‘Green Pakistan’ campaign, 422 public sector schools will be turned into ‘Green Schools’ through organized tree plantings. The Deputy Mayor of Islamabad made the announcement at the tree planting ceremony held by Pakistan Youth Climate Network (PYCN) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Climate Change. Under the national campaign, 257 million trees, a majority of which will be local and indigenous species will be planted across Pakistan.

The Trust for Public Land To Launch Park Information Database

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:08am
The Trust for Public Land will unveil a new, interactive platform that tracks urban park access nationwide, in spring 2017. When completed in 2018, the platform, called ParkServe, will include data from 13,931 cities and towns across the U.S., covering more than 80% of the U.S. population. The web-based tool will let people locate the park nearest to them, determine the percentage of residents who live within a 10-minute walk of a local park, and identify the neighborhoods most in need of new parks.

Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Summit

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:35pm
Miami will host a Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside Summit on March 11th to connect inviting teachers, industry professionals and families to come together to discover new ways to connect children to nature. This year's summit is the sixth annual Leave No Child Inside Summit.

Gary Looking at Letting Some Parks Back to Nature

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:32pm
The city of Gary, Indiana is considering a reduction of its total number of parks, while revamping some that have been neglected for a long time. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the parks are being examined to see whether they are actually serving the residents in light of the decreased population of the city. Parks Superintendent McKenya Dilworth said as many as 20 of the city's 57 parks could be allowed to revert to their natural state, adding that any decision would be made in consultation with the council and residents.

New Milwaukee Park will be Sustainable, Eco-friendly… and Green

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 10:25pm
New plans are underway in Milwaukee for a new, super-green park intended for communities and families. The park, which will be built on a vacant lot, will be a “storm water park” that is sustainable and eco-friendly. The project is being overseen by the city’s Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) through a public-private partnership run by the ECO, which converts vacant lots into healthy green spaces to drive economic development and job creation and increase quality of life. Since the partnership started in 2014, the group has created 30 new pocket parks, orchards, and community gardens from more than 50 vacant lots.

School Gardens Are More Than a Trend

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:30am
School gardens are on the rise in the United States with more than 7,000 school gardens growing across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School census. Organizations and studies report a list of long list of benefits to school gardens including an increase in students' standardized test scores, greater nutrition awareness and reduced symptoms of ADD, ADHD and stress.

Preservation of Public Lands a Top Priority for Americans, Survey Finds

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:27am
A recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), a network of more than 52,000 park and recreation professionals and advocates, reaffirms that Americans are passionate about the preservation of public lands, such as local, state and national parks, making the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund an even bigger priority for lawmakers and the new administration.

Park Use Influences Perceived Health

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:26am
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine showed that Americans who use their local parks or participated in recreation programs offered by local park and recreation agencies are more likely to report high levels of self-reported overall health status.The research stems from data collected in 1991 and 2015 as part of a broader look at Americans’ use and perceptions of local parks and recreation services. Both studies were commissioned by the National Recreation and Park Association.

Finland Wants You to Celebrate Its Independence by Going Outside

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:24am
Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary as an independent nation this year by inviting everyone to go outside and take advantage of the country's beautiful nature. The country is promoting a national event called four "Nature Days" (one per season), which are full of events outdoors including skiing, hiking, birdwatching, or swimming. The dates are February 4, May 20, June 17, and August 2nd.

Pets Are a Child’s Best Friend

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:15am
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, household pets may have a major influence on child development and could have a positive impact on children’s social skills and emotional well-being. The study, which surveyed 12-year-olds from 77 families who had at least one pet and more than one child in the household, demonstrated lower levels of conflict and greater levels of satisfaction in children who had dogs versus other types of pets.

The Greening of Atlanta’s Schools

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:10am
High schoolers tending to miniature goats; preschoolers pumping water to irrigate gardens; third graders building forts from sticks. Students in a growing number of Atlanta- area schools are heading outdoors to learn as schools are seeing an upsurge in interest in nature-based learning so expose more children to the many benefits of nature.

Dodge Nature Center: 50 Years of Celebrating the Great Outdoors

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:05am
Minnesota's Thomas Irvine Dodge Nature Center celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Dodge Nature Center, which encompasses over 460 acres, was one of the first nature centers in Minnesota. Its centers and preschool are recognized nationally for environmental education.

First Nations Leaders Launch Non-profit to Help Youth on Reserves

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:00am
First Nations leaders have launched a non-profit to help youth on reserves, engaging them with nature and with their cultural roots. The organization, Paddling With the Cree, takes Kashechewan’s young people on wilderness outings with leaders and elders. Author and journalist Alexandra Shimo and several First Nations leaders decided to found the non-profit organization to try and mitigate some of the ongoing impacts that are affecting First Nations children.