The National Forum on Children and Nature Endorses 30 Projects That Get Kids Back Outdoors
November 12, 2008
Vanessa Vaughan, The Conservation Fund, 703.908.5809
Arlington, VA ‘“ The National Forum on Children and Nature today announced its endorsement of 30 creative demonstration projects across the nation that reconnect kids with nature. These projects promise to improve children’s health and well-being.
“The Forum celebrates these projects for demonstrating how to get kids back outdoors, said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund, which hosts the Forum. This is critical for children’s health–and for the future of our environment. Saving a generation is not a spectator sport. These ideas invite corporate leaders, educators, community planners, government officials and others into the game.
Children have a basic right to a healthy, whole childhood. Despite major advances in medicine, education and other fields, however, kids today are developing chronic health conditions–such as obesity and depression’”earlier and more frequently than ever before. Growing evidence links the decline in children’s health, in part, to their disconnect from nature, including less active time outdoors.
Recognizing an urgent need to reconnect kids with nature, The Conservation Fund launched the National Forum on Children and Nature in 2007. The Forum includes 54 dynamic public and private leaders, including chairs Governors M. Jodi Rell (CT), Edward Rendell (PA), Mark Sanford (SC) and Brian Schweitzer (MT), and honorary co-chair Richard Louv, bestselling author of Last Child in the Woods. The mayors of Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago are Forum members, as are the CEOs of The North Face, REI and the National Audubon Society, among other organizations.
The Forum’s mission is to:
* Elevate the issue of reconnecting children with nature to the highest levels of our national consciousness
* Connect the fast-growing grass-roots side of this movement to some of the most powerful engines of American society ‘“ public, private and nonprofit
* Make real for every American’”through nationally significant demonstration projects’”ways that each of us can help reconnect children with nature
Over the past year, the Forum solicited and vetted 560 proposals from demonstration projects seeking endorsement. Forum advisory panels culled the best ideas for investment in children’s health through nature, particularly in the areas of education, technology and community. Ultimately, the Forum endorsed 30 projects, based on their relevance, impact and sustainability. By endorsing these projects, the Forum commits to raising visibility and support for them.
Collectively, these 30 projects bring nature back to kids in urban neighborhoods and rural communities, reaching preschoolers, school-age kids and teens across different races and backgrounds. From public housing to wilderness adventure, science education to prescribing nature, these projects serve as innovative models for community leaders, planners, educators and others who want to take concrete steps locally to reconnect kids with the great outdoors.
“Today, more than ever, communities are searching for simple ways to improve children’s well-being,” notes Richard Louv. “These 30 projects offer ideas that educators, planners and others can use to benefit kids today–and for decades to come.”
Learn more about the Forum »
Projects Endorsed by the National Forum on Children and Nature
The Birds & The Bees Challenge
Children and Nature Evaluation Center
Connecting Kids to the Nature of Wyoming
Green Infrastructure Vision
Green Stops Partnership
Kids in Nature
The Nature of Learning
No Child Left InsideSM Initiative
Nuestra Naturaleza, Nuestra Communidad
Outdoor Connections for Houston Youth
Outdoor Spaces for Children: Exposure West Atlanta
Pass It On ‘“ Outdoor Mentors
Pathway to Nature Preschool Program
Pittsburgh Outdoor Promise
Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Science & Spanish Club Network
Secondary Environmental Education Collaborative
Sesame Street: Connecting Preschoolers with Nature
Spring Break Back to Nature
Teaching Kids About the Environment
Trees for the 21st Century
Wise Kids® Outdoors
About The Conservation Fund
The Conservation Fund is the nation’s foremost environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting America’s land and water legacy for current and future generations. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, working landscapes, community greenspace and historic sites totaling more than 6 million acres. With 1% fundraising costs and 97% program allocation, The Conservation Fund is recognized as the nation’s top-rated environmental nonprofit by both the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator.