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How Libraries Can Connect Children & Adults to Nature

How Libraries Can Connect Children & Adults to Nature



This presentation focuses on partnerships, strategies, and programs libraries can develop to connect children and adults – and the community at large – with its natural resources. By nurturing a ...

This presentation focuses on partnerships, strategies, and programs libraries can develop to connect children and adults – and the community at large – with its natural resources. By nurturing a connection with nature, libraries across the US can build advocacy and unique identities tied to their region’s biology, ecology, and natural resources, resulting in a greater sense of place.



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  • Happier : Nature play increases self esteem, improves psychological health and reduces stress. Children learn self-discipline and are more cooperative Healthier : Nature play improves physical conditioning and reduces obesity Smarter : Nature play stimulates creativity and improves problem solving. Children do better in school.

How Libraries Can Connect Children & Adults to Nature How Libraries Can Connect Children & Adults to Nature Presentation Transcript

  • fourcircleslearning.com
  • Connecting to Nature How Libraries Can Build Bioregional Identity, Sense of Community, and Advocacy by Connecting Children & Adults to Nature Deb Hanson SWFLN Paraprofessional Day May 10, 2011
  • Why Connect to Nature?
    • “ The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
    • – Richard Louv, author the Nature Principle
  • The State of Things
    • Children are spending 40 to 65 hours a week attached to electronics
    • Childhood obesity has increased from 4% in the 1960s to 20% today
    • One study shows – kids can identify 1000 corporate logos but less than 10 species of trees in their neighborhood
    • Indirect learning is taking the place of direct, hands-on learning
  • Nature Deficit Disorder
    • Growing gap between children and nature
    • Adults experience it, too
    • A disconnect between humans and natural cycles and systems
    • Not a medical condition
  • Connecting with Nature
    • Reduces ADD symptoms
    • Improves the senses
    • Stimulates ability to pay attention
    • Calms and focuses the mind
    • Improves academic performance
    • Enhances immune system
    • Lowers stress hormones
  • Connecting with Nature (cont.)
    • Humans are more active when outdoors, therefore healthier
    • Improves imagination & creativity
    • Exposure to nature leads humans to be
      • more caring to each other
      • to value community
      • to be more generous with money
  • Why Libraries?
    • What are libraries…
      • Social institutions
      • Common spaces & Commonly held resources
      • They provide…
        • Resources in many formats
        • Information literacy
        • Support for teaching and learning
        • Support for community as whole
  • Why NOT Libraries?
    • “ Environmental literacy is a part of information literacy.”
    • – Kathryn Miller, Public libraries online
    • Heart of the community – cultural, social, intellectual
  • The Nature Principle
    • “ A re-connection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being, spirit, and survival.”
    • - Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle
  • Local Libraries…
    • 5 nature oriented programs in all Lee County Libraries since Sept. 1, 2011
    • Collier County – no animals/nature/outdoors choice for searching programs
    • Charlotte County – Beach story time at the beach
  • So, how do we connect?
  • Build Bioregional Identity
    • Bioregion – ecologically and geographically defined area
    • Identity – Characteristics that define a person, place or thing
    • What characteristics define THIS region?
  • Develop a Sense of Place
    • Know and be able to name 10 plants & 10 animals
    • Be able to predict seasonal changes
    • Understand when and how food is produced in your area
    • Be a part of the natural community
  • Connect through Collection Development
  • Lee County’s Living Green Collection
  • Loan out outdoor gear
  • What about?
  • Connect through Programming
  • Programs
  • Stash the Cache Geocaching.com
  • Connect through Cultures
  • Connect through the Facility
    • “Green” your library
      • Walk the walk
      • Conserve energy
      • Recycle materials
      • Be the model of stewardship
      • Use natural lighting
      • Bring plants indoors
      • LEED certification
  • Connect by Example By Kathryn Miller
  • Sustainability
  • Thinking Outside the Library
    • Create outdoor space that brings patrons to nature right outside the library
    • Creative outdoor play space for kids
    • Safe zones for reading, playing, learning outdoors
  • Connect with Outdoor Space New Lee County Downtown Fort Myers Library Plan – lots of outside space
  • Verdi, NV Community Library & Nature Center
  • Maricopa County, AZ
  • Outdoor Library, Bryant Park - NYC http://www.flickr.com/photos/malcolmtredinnick/974637953/
  • Connect with Partners (become the info hub for outdoor activities)
    • Nature Centers
    • County Parks & Conservation Programs
    • LEEF – southwest region
    • National Wildlife Federation
    • Conservancy of SW FL
    • SCCF, CREW, Charlotte Harbor Preserve, SEE Florida
  • Wolf Creek Hatchery & Russell Co. Library
    • Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery
    • Jamestown, KY
    • Categories: Sports & Outdoors , Nature Price: Free
    • A Fun family activity designed to help get you and your family outdoors and connected with nature! Monthly gatherings rotate between the Library and the Hatchery . Activities will be geared towards kids ages 5 and up, although any and all children are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Families come in all forms too, so it may be friends, nieces and nephews with aunts and uncles, grandparents and grandchildren.
  • Library-Nature Center Partners
    • "Meet the Locals" @ Edwardsville Public Library
    •   Wed. April 13, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Adults and children welcome! 
    • Join Dr. Alana Tibbets, at the Edwardsville Public Library, for a discovery workshop:  Identifying Madison County's wonderful flora and fauna!  Do you know who your neighbors are?
    • Come by the library for this informative program and pick up your "discovery packet," complete with maps, species' checklists, safe viewing/handling information and more.  Participants are eligible for random drawing prizes.  Various related events will also be hosted by the Watershed Nature Center throughout the spring and summer.
    •   This program will kick off a series of family events and activities, some hosted at the Watershed Nature Center.
  • Get Outdoors Florida
  • Re-nature the community
    • Partner with local garden and native plant organizations
    • Encourage planting native plants
    • Hand out seed packs
    • Encourage homeowners to meet and discuss how to increase biodiversity in their yards
  • Connect through Schools & Homeschool Groups
    • School garden programs
    • Certified Schoolyard Habitats (NWF)
    • Science & Environment Clubs
  • Kids & Nature
    • Children are happier, healthier and smarter when they connect with nature.
  • Green Reading for Kids National EE Week website http://www.eeweek.org/resources/green_reading
  • Connect Patrons to Green Volunteer Activities
    • VolunteerMatch(Get Involved): Powered by Your Library – California Public Library)
    • The Great Green List
    • Eco-Volunteer USA (Florida DEP)
    • Local organizations
  • Is nature or the environment mentioned in your mission?
    • Roselle Public Library, IL has an “Environmental Plan”
  • Mission, Collection, Programs
  • Benefits to Community
    • Provides “safe” outdoor zones for kids
    • Brings community/environmental organizations & patrons together
    • More opportunities to learn about the health and learning benefits of nature
  • Benefits to the Library
    • Adds new dimensions to programs
    • Expands traditional partnerships
    • Reaches new patrons
    • Demonstrates leadership in the community
    • Strengthens patron loyalty and support
    • Avenue for additional funding
  • Start Small
    • National Environmental Education Week @ Your Library (April each year)
    • Tweak your programs
    • Train Staff
    • Plant native plants (Pine Island Library)
  • What We Can Do
    • Encourage nature-based, children-friendly spaces and places throughout our communities.
    • Make re-connecting children and nature a priority.
    • Educate parents, grandparents and other caregivers about the cognitive, physiological, and emotional benefits to children who play in the out-of-doors on a regular basis.
  • Join the Little Free Library Movement
  • Write Grants for EE
  • Green is the Future
    • Thomas Frey in The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation, argues that libraries will move from being “a center of information to a center of culture.”
  • Be the future…
    • “… economic instability, energy depletion, and planetary degradation are transforming society, and in turn transforming libraries.”
    • -Monika Antonelli. “The Green Library Movement”
  • More Resources
    • C&NN Community Action Guide: Building a Movement to Reconnect Children and Nature from the Ground Up on the C&NN http://childrenandnature.org
    • Nature Clubs for Families Toolkit
  • Contact me: [email_address] @DebH2U (Twitter) http://fourcircleslearning.com
  • Sources/Credits
    • Louv, Richard. 2011. The Nature Principle .
    • Louv, Richard. 2005. Last Child in the Woods .
    • Be Outside: 60 Possible Program Ideas and Activities for Idaho Libraries
    • How Libraries Can Connect Children and Adults to Nature, and Build Support for Libraries, Richard Louv on March 02, 2011