News from the Children & Nature Network
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This special update from the Children & Nature Network provides a behind-the-scenes look at what we're doing, where we've been, and what we have planned for the months ahead.
• Second Annual Children & Nature Awareness Month
• Nature Clubs for Families Tool Kit Greeted with Enthusiasm and Praise
• C&NN signs request asking for Obama's support for Great Outdoors Month
• Natural Leaders Coordinator, Juan Martinez, Introduces Salazar at PowerShift '09
• C&NN BOD member Brother Yusuf is Honored by Albany’s Commission on Human Rights
• Charles, Louv, LeBlanc, and Chawla Venture North
To Help Get Canadians Outside
• From Richard Louv: Orion Article and His Newest BLOG
• The Chicago Zoological Society brings Louv to Illinois on March 18th
Second Annual Children & Nature Awareness Month
In celebration of Children & Nature Awareness Month, C&NN will be promoting April programs and events.
We'll be listing April events on the C&NN movement map and promoting them in our newsletter and in public appearances from coast to coast. The C&NN movement map will showcase regional events from network members (like you) that offer innovative programs and opportunities to connect children with nature.
If you’d like to participate, simply submit your program or event.
[+] submit your April event or program
[+] view events and programs visit the movement map
We’ve also posted a Press Release Template to help you spread the word. Feel free to use it and adapt it to your needs.
download the Awareness Month Press Release template [>]
Nature Clubs for Families Tool Kit Greeted with Enthusiasm and Praise
“ I just wanted to let the Children & Nature Network know how much I value the new Nature Clubs for Families Tool Kit. What a wonderful resource! RI Families in Nature is fairly new, but we've grown to include 80 families in our 2+ short months of existence. With that growth, I was just starting to consider such issues as liability, photo release permission, and the types of events and activities I should conduct. I simply cannot tell you how much I appreciate the Tool Kit and how sure I am that it will help make RI Families in Nature a successful organization.” -- Jeanine Silversmith, Rhode Island Families in Nature
On Feb. 23, 2009, C&NN posted the latest resource for the children and nature movement, the Nature Club for Families Tool Kit, designed to encourage parents and caregivers to form their own Nature Clubs for Families with a "Do It Yourself! Do It Now!" call to action. That morning, over 800 Tool Kits were downloaded, with the total number of downloads from our site reaching over 3,000 to date.
The publication also sparked an increase in family nature club listings on the movement map, going from 8 to 18 in two weeks. This is clearly an initiative and an idea that has resonated within the network and in the general public.
If you have not downloaded your copy, do so today, along with the list of links to family friendly nature activities and resources.
Download the Tool Kit [>]
C&NN signs request asking for Obama's support for Great Outdoors Month
The Children & Nature Network joined the American Recreation Coalition, the National Wildlife Federation, and several other outdoor organizations this month in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to designate June 2009 Great Outdoors Month. C&NN's Richard Louv signed a similar request in 2007 addressed to President Bush. “We write to you today to urge you to continue this tradition,” the letter states, “especially in a year when healthy, safe, and inexpensive fun will appeal to more Americans than ever before.”
download the full text and supporting materials [>]
Natural Leaders Coordinator, Juan Martinez, Introduces Salazar at PowerShift '09
Last month in Washington D.C., Juan Martinez, C&NN's newly appointed coordinator for the Natural Leaders initiative, spoke before a gathering of over 10,000 leaders from across the country and the world at Powershift '09.
Juan took the podium to introduce Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. He also had the opportunity to speak informally, backstage, with other leaders, including Majora Carter, Van Jones, and Billy Parish, about the children and nature movement and the importance of connecting all youth with nature.
Adding Juan's voice and the voices and vision of other up-and-coming leaders is essential to getting the word out to youth and youth leaders from all sectors who are working to improve the lives and the health of the next generation.
Juan Martinez and other Natural Leaders are now available for speaking engagements through the C&NN Speaker's Bureau.
[+] For more information contact C&NN's executive assistant, Robyn Bjornsson.
C&NN BOD member Brother Yusuf is Honored by Albany’s Commission on Human Rights
Children & Nature Network board member Brother Yusuf Burgess was honored for his work in supporting diversity, tolerance and understanding in Albany, N.Y. Yusuf was presented this prestigious award by Vicente Alfonso at the City of Albany's Commission on Human Rights celebration, held Feb. 4, 2009 at City Hall.
Brother Yusuf's Camps Diversity Program provides outdoor and natural resource experiences to youth, especially from urban areas, who would not otherwise have such opportunities. Through a comprehensive program of pre-camp activities, one week at a state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) summer residential camp, and post-camp activities, the expectation is that some who attend will one day seek higher education and careers in environmental fields.
[+] for more information visit the N.Y. DEC Web site
[+] read the press release
Charles, Louv, LeBlanc, and Chawla Venture North To Help Get Canadians Outside
The Get Outside Forum invited C&NN board members and advisors to join them at the University of Victoria and at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., recently to launch an alliance in support of the children and nature connection in British Columbia. During the three-day conference, Richard Louv, Cheryl Charles, Martin LeBlanc, and Louise Chawla presented on a range of topics, from reports on the children and nature movement to research to strategies for engaging youth.
In addition to speeches, presentations, and workshops, participants signed a "Get Outside Declaration," asking that governments, non-governmental organizations, industry and business, individuals, parents and youth act to ensure that children become reconnected to nature.
[+] read the declaration and view a full range of reports and video for the gathering at http://www.childnature.ca
From Richard Louv: Orion Article and His Newest BLOG
Don't miss Orion magazine’s March/April issue featuring Richard Louv's article, "A Walk in the Woods," wherein Louv discusses the moral rights of children and asks the fundamental question: "Should children be guaranteed access to nature?"
[+] read the article on Orion's Web site
This month also brings you a new BLOG entry by Louv, "Nature’s Own Economic Stimulus Package."
[+] read the BLOG
“ For stressed-out families, spending more time in the natural world – a nature stimulus package – may be just what the doctor and the economist ordered.” — Richard Louv
The Chicago Zoological Society brings Louv to Illinois on March 18th
The timing could not be better for Richard Louv's upcoming speaking engagement at The Chicago Zoological Society’s 2009 Spring Lecture Series.
On Jan. 30, 2009, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, at his first press conference as governor, vowed to reopen state parks that had been closed by his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. "I recently read a book – it talked about nature deficit disorder where we should leave no child inside,” he said.
On March 5, Quinn reopened seven state parks, arguing that parks bring tourism dollars to the state, and also are important for local residents who can’t afford to go on vacations during tough economic times.
[+] read more
“We do not want children to have nature deficit disorder. In Illinois we want no child left indoors.” — Gov. Pat Quin
In “Last Child in the Woods,” the book to which Quinn referred, Louv praises Illinois’ efforts to create safe places for families to connect to nature, including the work of Chicago Wilderness, an alliance of more the 230 public and private organizations, which launched a Leave No Child Inside regional initiative in 2007.
The Chicago Zoological Society (a founding member of Chicago Wilderness) opens its series with a public lecture to be held at Riverside-Brookfield High School. They also will be presenting Louv with their 2009 George B. Rabb Conservation Medal on March 19th.
For more information about these events, call (708) 688-8390.
The Children & Nature Network is looking for your ideas, too
C&NN is looking for imaginative activities that help families engage with nature. The best ideas will be distributed on C&NN Web sites, in workshops, and on the resource lists for C&NN's Nature Clubs for Families. Deadline to submit your ideas is fall 2009.
Please submit your ideas today [>]
Children & Nature Network