Connecting Kids with NatureToday’s A Policy Action Plan
Connecting Today’s Kids with Nature A Policy Action Plan May 2008 Written by Heather White, Esq., Director of Education Advocacy © 2008 by the National Wildlife Federation. All rights reserved. Larry J. Schweiger President and Chief Executive Officer National Wildlife Federation Acknowledgments We especially thank Kevin Coyle, Eliza Russell, Allen Cooper, Patrick Fitzgearld, Julie Gustafson and Bethe Almeras for their many valuable contributions. Special thanks to Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and the founder of theChildren and Nature Network (www.cnnaturenet.org), an excellent resource for research andstrategies on connecting children to nature, and the more than 200 organizations involved inthe “No Child Left Inside ” coalition, www.nclicoalition.org, that have been advocating for ™ federal funding for environmental education and promoting environmental literacy. Cover and back cover images by NWF/Charlie Archambault. Graphic design by Sarah Ornstein, DesignS By Sarah firstname.lastname@example.org NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION 11100 Wildlife Center Drive Reston, VA 20190 703-438-6000 www.nwf.org
Message from the President i Looking out of my home-office window, I can see down a long forested valley across North Park to a far-away place appropriately called “wildwood” where nine decades ago, Rachel Carson and her mother Maria roamed the Pine Creek bottoms, explored rock outcrops and woodlands, listened to birds, and discovered spring wildflowers and insects. Those hours in the fields of western Pennsylvania profoundly influenced one of the 20th century’s greatest women by fostering a rich sense of wonder and profound love of nature. Perhaps reflecting on her wildwood walks with her mother, Rachel wrote later in life, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”©Schweiger NWF President & CEO Larry Schweiger holding his Rachel would be deeply saddened by what has happened to the traditional grandson, Thadeus. connection between Americans and the outdoors, something that is markedly different from anything in our past. The evidence is everywhere. The average child today spends more than six hours a day watching TV, playing video games, or operating a computer. Meanwhile, the amount of time U.S. children now spend outdoors has declined by 50% in the past 20 years. An important connection between being outdoors and caring for nature is being broken, and it greatly concerns me. Children who fish, camp and spend time in the wild before age 11 are much more likely to grow up to be environmentally committed as adults, according to Cornell University researchers. It was for me. As a child, I spent many hours outdoors with my father, who was a dog trainer and hunter. He died more than 30 years ago, yet when I go to the woods and smell a familiar plant or hear a distant crow on a crisp fall day, my memories of being with Dad come flooding back in rich detail, as if it were yesterday. In those moments I can hear his voice clearly and I can see his ruddy face in the golden light of an early morning sun. I cherish those memories. Although many environmental advocates speak of early experiences in nature that formed their connection, people of all professions often talk fondly of childhood experiences outdoors. Most adult Americans had a childhood where they could “go outside and play,” four little words rarely heard today. What will become of wild places if children know little of the mystery, the grace, the interconnectedness of all living things? How will we address global warming and other environmental threats if we do not engage and prepare the next generation for these monumental ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. challenges? We only save what we love and we only love what we know. Exploring nature in your own backyard.
As one of the largest conservation organizations in the country, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is committed toi helping children “rediscover the joy, the excitement, and the mystery” of our world. With over 70 years of experience inspiring and fostering a connection with nature and wildlife, NWF continues to lead the way. Our award-winning Ranger Rick™ magazine has sparked curiosity about nature and wildlife in generations of ©Schweiger children. Every month it delivers engaging stories, wildlife NWF has more than 70 years of experience images, and ideas for fun outdoor activities. In response to inspiring and fostering a connection between children and nature. increasing demand for age appropriate magazines about animals for younger children, NWF also offers Your Big Backyard™ for families with children 3-8 years old and Wild Animal Baby™ for families with children 12 months to 3 years old. With tens of thousands of Certified Wildlife Habitats and Schoolyard Habitats , our wildlife ™ ® gardening programs help individuals and families attract birds, butterflies and other local wildlife to backyards across the country. A more recent addition to the suite of fun family outdoor activities is NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout™, which is connecting families, neighborhoods and entire communities through camping, by sharing campfire stories and eating s’mores. To encourage parents and caregivers to make time for children to “go outside and play,” NWF launched Green Hour, www.nwf.org/kidsoutside, a source of information and inspiration to create daily free time outside for children. NWF and our partners are also working to engage policymakers on the local, state, and national level by: • Advocating for increased funding and opportunities for environmental education, a proven strategy to enhance a child’s connection to the outdoors, improve academic performance, and heighten interest in science and math; • Calling upon our public health agencies to promote and educate parents on the importance of outdoor play for our children’s well-being; and • Increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation by promoting better community design for kid- friendly natural play areas and green spaces for children to grow and to connect. We can’t do this alone. With your help, we can make sure America’s children carry with them a strong connection to nature. These are the memories they will carry with them fondly for a lifetime. You may even discover that you helped the next Rachel Carson find her wildwood. Larry Schweiger, President & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
ii Today’s Reality ©ShutterStock A Parent’s Perspective As I walked through the hallway of my daughter’s elementary school, memories of my own school days came flooding back. For years, my day began by securing books to my bike rack and riding through the neighborhood to school which was only a few blocks away. It is only now that I understand how deep an impact my time riding bikes, playing in the woods, and exploring the neighborhood stream had on my development as a person. As I learn more about the health benefits associated with spending unstructured Exploring nature can provide key bonding time in the outdoors, I am even more convinced of the importance of adding time chances for parent and child. Jaime outdoors—a Green Hour®—to our family routine. Berman Matyas with her two daughters. Outdoor physical activity is good for our lungs, growing bones and our hearts – in a multitude of ways. For me, playing outside opened my heart up to a love of nature, a sense of stewardship and responsibility for other living creatures. I came to understand the interconnectedness of the natural world in a very personal way. As a parent, it is now my responsibility to foster this sense of wonder and stewardship in my children. Providing them experiences in the outdoors is an important way to pass along these values. And I believe that doing so with friends and other families is a great way to have fun and create meaningful relationships.©Matyas Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e Like most parents, I feel forever challenged by time. Ensuring teeth get brushed twice a day, three mealsiv are eaten and homework completed is a daily challenge. Yet as I think about my commitment as a parent to raising healthy children with self- confidence and strong values, I believe there is much more to being a good parent than managing these daily routines. Over the past few years I’ve made a concerted effort to integrate outdoor activities as part of our family’s daily regimen. Now, our favorite setting for relaxed family time is outdoors, not in front of a television. Whether it’s a Saturday morning hike, planting our garden, or lying in the backyard playing the cloud game, the outdoors has provided an ideal setting for my family to tune out other influences and connect with each other and our environment. There’s always ©Matyas something for us to explore and discover together. Simple activities like swinging can be a scheduled activity for today’s kids. When discussing outdoor exploration, a consistent concern raised by other parents is safety. The “I can’t let my kids play outside alone” dilemma. I’ve thought a lot about this. While concerns about unsupervised play outdoors are real, encountering stranger danger is much more likely amongst children surfing the Internet than riding bikes through the neighborhood. While some parents may no longer feel comfortable allowing their children the same freedom to explore the outdoors alone and unsupervised, there are many other ways to connect kids with nature: through community and volunteer projects; scheduled but unstructured group activities; school activities; and family outings. Getting unplugged and outside is good for adults too! There’s more that can be done at school, too. Given the importance of unstructured time outdoors to our children’s overall development and well-being, we should expect a portion of the school day to be dedicated to outdoor and nature education. Unfortunately, with current constraints on schools, there is less time for recess and physical activity in school settings. And yet, the research continues to tell us of the positive relationship between academic performance and creativity and unstructured outdoor play and exploration. As members of the school community, we can help improve our local education system by getting involved. We can help remove barriers to connecting children and the natural world. More physical activity is also believed to have a positive influence on a suite of health issues facing society today, such as obesity, ADHD, and diabetes.©Matyas Enjoying a quiet moment with family can be a treat for today’s Unfortunately, the current trend in many school busy families. systems is to reduce time for PE, recess and field Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Plan trips. As parents, we have the power to make a positive v difference in our children’s education. We can get involved at a local level by volunteering to help create a schoolyard habitat, hosting outdoor school events, or speaking out for the importance of funding hands-on environmental education. We can also make a meaningful difference at the state and national levels by advocating for improvements to current education policy and funding to support more time outdoors and more environmental education. Both will better prepare our ©Matyas children for the future. The pure childhood joy of playing should not be taken for granted but seen as a value for all American children to experience. As a mother and conservationist, I understand the importance of creating opportunities for my children to have time to connect with nature. Healthy children and healthy families need time together in the out-of-doors. We must share responsibility for reversing the concerning trend of children getting less unstructured time outdoors and becoming disconnected with nature. To raise healthy children and future generations that have a concern for the natural world, we must take action now. Make a family commitment to spend regular time out-of-doors – a family Green Hour® – volunteer to lead outdoor programs at a local school, and advocate at the local state or federal level for more funding and policy support for children to have outdoor education. As my girls re-tell stories of our campouts, their berry picking adventures or the interesting creatures they found under a rotting log on a recent walk through the woods, I smile as I know that these activities will forever have an impact on who they are and the kind of adults they will become. Jaime Berman Matyas Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer National Wildlife FederationIns p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
Connecting Today’s Kids with Nature A Policy Action Plan Table of Contents Message from the President ..........................................................................................i Today’s Reality ..............................................................................................................iii Summary ........................................................................................................................1 Understanding Our Children’s Nature Deficit ..........................................................7 Nature Deficit Defined Why We Keep Our Kids Indoors What is at Stake? Solutions to Reverse Nature Deficit and Connect Our Children to Nature ........15 Connect Kids to Nature through Environmental Education Promote Outdoor Play through our Public Health Systems Increase Opportunities for Outdoor Play through Better Design and Access Encourage Parents to Build in Time for Outdoor Play through a National Media and Educational Campaign What You Can Do ........................................................................................................20 Take Action in Your Community Take Action in Your State Take Action at the National Level Endnotes ........................................................................................................................25©NWF/Charlie Archambault.
1 Summary ©NWF/Charlie Archambault.“Go outside and play.” Most of us rememberhearing those four little words throughout our childhood. It is not possible for usto imagine childhood without powerful memories of climbing trees, exploring theneighborhood, or just watching the clouds.Yet recent research shows that children are spending half as much time outside asthey did 20 years ago. Today’s kids spend six and a half hours a day “pluggedinto” electronic media. In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louvdescribed this American trend. He gave this alarming problem a powerful name. “If a child is to keep alive hisToday’s kids suffer from a “nature deficit.” inborn sense of wonder, heThere are many contributors to nature deficit. Often parents’ fear of strangers needs the companionshipkeeps kids indoors. Some parents worry about bug bites, bee stings, and poison of at least one adult whoivy. Many children simply do not have an “outside” to play in because of the lackof playgrounds, parks, and open space. Others cannot get to a safe outside area can share it, rediscoveringbecause of busy roads and intersections. Liability concerns have limited with him the joy, excitementtraditional outdoor play activities like climbing trees and building forts. Videogames and other electronics lure kids inside. In some communities, kids are so and mystery of the world weoverscheduled that they just do not have time to play unless it is through an live in.”organized sport. —Rachel Carson, Author of Silent SpringNational Wildlife Federation (NWF) is committed to connecting children tonature. Children should have access to and time for play in nature. A right forunstructured play. A right to create and explore. A right to experience the senseof wonder of being outside. Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e2 ©ShutterStock Youth spend an average of six hours daily connected to electronic devices. What is at Research has linked childhood obesity even reduces the severity of Stake? to a lack of play time outdoors. symptoms of Attention Deficit/ The Health of Our Children Although physical activity through Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Nature deficit has had profound organized sports can help address which affects millions of American impacts on our children’s mental and childhood obesity, the medical children. physical health. Over the past 20 community recognizes that years, time spent playing outdoors has unstructured free time outdoors has The Economy been cut in half, but the childhood unique health benefits to children. The economic impacts of nature obesity rate has more than doubled Children who play outside are more deficit are significant. The costs of the and the adolescent obesity rate has active and more physically fit than childhood obesity epidemic to our tripled. Doctors warn that, for the first those who don’t. Time in nature public health systems could reach time in American history, life improves a chld’s academic $100 billion annually. Hunting and expectancy may actually decrease performance, concentration, balance, fishing licenses sales have stagnated, because of the health impacts of the coordination, and self-esteem. Recent resulting in severe cuts to state current childhood obesity epidemic. studies indicate that playing outside resource agencies’ budgets. A decline in outdoor retail sales, a $730 billion a year industry sector, may soon follow. The Future of American Know the FACTS Conservation From the redwood forests to the Gulf Research Shows: Stream waters, exploring the diverse E nv i ro n m en ta l E d u c at i on : n Good for overall student n Standardized test performance performance improves landscapes of America has shaped n Great at motivating students n Supports and improves other who we are as Americans. Children n Critical thinking skills science learning who spend time in nature are more consistently improve n Supports language-arts likely to have pro-environmental n Math skills consistently development attitudes as adults. Time spent in improve n Under-resourced nature with an adult important to the n Life science skills students show child often shapes a child’s long-term consistently increased improvement environmental ethic. If this nature deficit continues unabated, we may improve over peers face a dearth of environmental Sources: (Bartosh 2004); (Athman & Monroe 2004). ©ShutterStock Nationa l Wild life Feder ation • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Planleaders, professionals, and advocates education can connect children to the educate parents that down timeas we try to conquer future natural world. In addition to providing outside can result in healthier, happier 3environmental challenges such as this important connection, there are kids. We will ask healthcareglobal warming. We may also lose a many academic benefits to professionals to also considerunique aspect of our national culture environmental education, including recommending outdoor play forand identity. higher test scores in math, reading, overstressed kids and for children and language arts. Studies show that diagnosed with ADHD. integrated environmental education programs also increase children’s Increase Opportunities for ”We talk a lot about our critical thinking skills, self- Outdoor Recreation through children’s future, but not confidence, and academic motivation. Better Design and Access Environmental education can also The use of natural landscapes in that much about children. serve as an educational equalizer playground design leads to more active It’s time for big conservation across race, ethnicity, and and more creative play. In many socioeconomic levels. communities, children do not have organizations to actively access to safe outdoor play areas. engage children and work Promote Outdoor Play Connecting city parks through through our Public Health to protect them, to greenways and other green spaces can Systems provide natural areas for children to energize them, and to NWF will encourage federal and state play and increase wildlife habitat. cultivate their creativity in public health leaders to educate NWF will target cities in our nation’s parents and caregivers about the migratory bird flyways to establish protecting our world.” —Richard Louv, Author of Last Child in the Woods importance of play in tackling these green links that also serve as childhood obesity and improving wildlife corridors. By working with children’s mental health. The medical designers, city planners, and localSolutions to community recognizes that outdoor elected officials, NWF will work toReversing play time is critical to children’s increase wildlife habitat and ensureNature Deficit physical, mental, emotional, and that children have access to green, kid-and Connecting social well-being. Well-child visits friendly areas in their communities forChildren to reflect an important opportunity to unstructured play outside.NatureReversing nature deficit andconnecting children to nature will takeconcerted policy action on the local,state, and federal levels. Since itsinception in 1936, National WildlifeFederation (NWF) has worked todevelop public policies that protect theenvironment and increase outdoorrecreation opportunities for children.As part of our campaign to connectchildren to nature, we will:Connect Kids to Nature ©NWF/Charlie Archambault.through EnvironmentalEducationNWF will advocate for better fundingand access to environmental Physical activity, like bike riding, decreases health concerns such as diabetes.education; hands-on environmental Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e Encourage Parents to Build in Regular Time for4 Outdoor Play through GreenHour®, a National Educational Campaign Parents and policymakers can make a difference to get children to experience all the benefits of free time in nature. NWF’s national media and educational campaign, GreenHour®, helps parents with simple suggestions ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. on how to play outside. To give parents and caregivers the information, tools, and inspiration to get their kids outside, NWF has Enjoying nature as a family has long-reaching effects in children. created an online resource, www.GreenHour.org. NWF and its affiliated state organizations will also accessible green spaces where • Volunteer in a local park, school, form new “No Child Left Inside™” children can learn and play. Visit day care center, after-school care coalitions and work with existing GreenHour.org for ideas on how facility, or nature center. Work in groups of health professionals, to connect children to nature. a community garden, participate in educators, day care providers, after- a trash clean up, perform trail • Garden for wildlife with school care providers, business maintenance, or support park children. NWF has established a leaders, anglers, hunters, safety efforts. gardening for wildlife program environmental leaders, and elected that is a perfect way to share your • Play with a child outdoors. officials to take collective action to love of the outdoors with children Research shows that spending connect children with nature. and foster a future connection to time outdoors with children can nature. Not only does it give kids help shape their long-term What You Can Do a chance to get their hands dirty, environmental ethic. Free play in Take Action Close to Home the program also helps create an nature also increases physical On a personal level, solutions to understanding of how the things fitness and reduces anxiety. Go connect children to nature are pretty people plant impact the fishing. Take a hike. Or just go for simple. Research shows that environment; for example, how a walk and look at the clouds. childhood experiences in nature with replacing grass lawns with native an adult family member or mentor wildflowers, shrubs, and trees Take Action in Your help to shape a long-term connection provides a nurturing refuge for Community with nature. Spend time with your wildlife. The consequences of nature deficit are kids outdoors. Consider the following felt most keenly at the local level. actions: • Encourage your local school to Engage your local government, participate in NWF’s neighborhood associations, and other • Experience Green Hour . NWF Schoolyard Habitats Program, community-based organizations to: ® ® recommends that parents give their an integrated environmental kids a "Green Hour" every day, education program where kids • Get the word out. Educate health a time for unstructured play and plant wildlife-friendly vegetation professionals, teachers, day care interaction with the natural world. on school grounds. It gets kids providers, after-school care This can take place in a garden, a outside, educates them about the providers, city planners, business backyard, the park down the street, natural world, and has been shown leaders, and environmental or any place that provides safe and to improve their scores on professionals, and urge them to standardized tests. Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Plan incorporate nature deficit solutions opportunities for field trips to local • Require public health and into their everyday practices. nature centers, supply tools for an social service agencies to 5 after-school facility garden project, educate parents about the benefits• Work with local planning or give materials for a community- of outdoor play to children’s health commissions and homeowners’ based environmental education to fight obesity and make kids’ associations to create zoning program. lives better. policies and incentives to encourage more kid-friendly green • Encourage day care and spaces for creative play and Take Action in Your State pre-kindergarten certification designate special areas where State governments are responsible for programs to include education on children can participate in the majority of public policies that can the benefits of time outside for traditional outdoor activities such make our children’s lives healthy, children. as climbing trees and fort-building, happy, and more active. State • Provide more funding for which have been limited because governments should consider existing state programs that of liability concerns. integrated policy reforms that include promote recess, access to parks, connecting children to nature• Support opportunities and camp experiences, and other ways throughout the state health, social funding for local environmental to get kids outdoors. service, natural resources, and education, including asking local education systems. There are a number • Declare a Children’s Outdoor school board members to provide of meaningful actions your governor Bill of Rights to ensure children information on current and state legislature should take: have the right to experience all the environmental education efforts, benefits of unstructured free time plans to update programs, and • Host a “No Child Left Inside™” in nature. ways to increase funding for forum to discuss ways to connect programs that help teachers link children to nature with health care students to the outdoors. professionals, business leaders,• Team up with local law nonprofit organizations, educators, enforcement to ensure that parents after-school providers, urban are adequately informed about the planners, hunters and anglers, Know the FACTS safety of public parks and play conservation groups, and state and local officials to create access to Summer Vacation: areas and to increase opportunities for kids to play safely outside. safe outdoor play areas and A Ne w E x p e ri en c e educate parents on the benefits of fo r a n In d oo r• Create a local “No Child Left unstructured free play. G e n er at i on Inside™” Day or participate in other community awareness • Institute mandatory state Research shows standards for minimum exercise that school children events, such as NWF’s Great in school that focus on outdoor are actually gaining American Backyard Campout , ™ weight during summer NWF’s Wildlife Watch Day, activities for children. ©ShutterStock vacation now. Communities National Get Outdoors Day, and • Pass state environmental should respond by: International Migratory Bird Day . education legislation to promote ® n Connecting kids to water• Reach out to after-school place-based and outdoor safety classes and increase environmental education and opportunities for swim programs to see how you can help lessons. them create opportunities for more increase funding for updating environmental education n Sponsoring more day camps free play time outside for kids. at local parks. Research shows that the vast programs. n Working with local libraries to majority of children are enrolled in encourage kids to read about some kind of after-school the outdoors, then go outside. program. Provide incentives and Source: (Von Hippel 2007). Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e Take Action at the National Level6 The federal government has an important role in creating opportunities for children to play outdoors. Several federal policy actions can make a difference in connecting children with nature, and your federal officials should work to: • Pass proposed federal ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. legislation, such as the “No Child Left Inside™” amendment to the “No Child Left Behind” Act, to get environmental education Children who have a significant experience with nature by age 11 are more likely to back in the classroom and give value nature as an adult. incentives to states to create environmental literacy plans. • Form a Twenty-first Century • Increase the federal recreation Presidential Commission on the budget and review current federal • Reauthorize the National Great Outdoors to make outdoor agency programs and assess how Environmental Education Act to time part of children’s daily they can connect children to update environmental education experiences, and more fully nature. standards and increase critical explore the impacts of nature funding for environmental • Use existing federal public deficit on public health. education. health programs to educate parents on the importance of outdoor play to children’s health. • Call upon the Surgeon General FACTS and Secretary of Health and Human Services to ask parents Know the to make a commitment to Research Shows: children’s health by encouraging n Kids are spending less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago. their children to experience daily n Play outdoors can increase creativity, reduce stress, and lead to free play time outside. increased physical fitness. n Viewing nature can reduce physiological stress Conclusion response, increase levels of interest and attention, and decrease feelings of fear, anger, or aggression. Together, we can connect our children to nature and ensure that the next n Early-life outdoor experiences—whether alone or with others—have been identified as the most important factor in developing an generation has the opportunity, the environmental ethic. space, and the encouragement to “Go n Short-term exposure to natural Outside and Play.” areas through brief walks and even looking at images of nature has been found to have positive effects on mood, reducing feelings of anger and anxiety. ©ShutterStock Sources: (Juster et al 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005); (Kuo & Sullivan 2001). Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
7 Understanding our Children’s Nature Deficit ©Shutterstock. Nature Deficit Defined Children are no longer spending time playing outside. Today’s kids spend six and a half hours a day “plugged into” electronic media.1 Research shows that children are spending half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago.2 Meanwhile, the “When children become childhood obesity rate has more than doubled and the adolescent obesity rate has truly engaged with the tripled. Doctors warn that, for the first time in American history, life expectancy may actually decrease because of the health impacts of the current childhood natural world at a young obesity epidemic.3 In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv age, the experience is likely described this American trend. He gave this alarming problem a powerful name. Today’s kids suffer from a “nature deficit.” 4 to stay with them in a powerful way – shaping Why We Keep Our Kids Indoors The contributors to nature deficit are broad: fear of strangers; traffic hazards and a their subsequent lack of safe open space; liability; concerns about insect bites, bee stings, and itchy environmental path.” —Professor Nancy Wells, plants; and competition for outdoor time from video games and electronic media. Cornell University Stranger Danger Many parents are concerned about strangers harming children in public spaces, but the stark reality is that kids may be safer playing outdoors than at home surfing the Internet. Although the risk of stranger abduction is very remote, and stranger danger incidents have actually decreased over the last 20 years, many parents and caregivers have decided that it is just too dangerous for children to be outside on their own—especially if the child is out of sight. Many parents allow 5 their children to play indoors on the Internet unsupervised even though one out of five children (10 to 17 years old) receive unwanted sexual solicitations while surfing online. Nearly one-third of teens have talked about meeting someone in 6 person who they have only met through the Internet; 12% of teens have agreed to meet a stranger that they met online. Sixty percent have filled out questionnairesIns p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e and given their personal information, such as address,8 telephone number, and school name. Children who use the Internet are also more likely to be exposed to inappropriately sexual or violent content. “Nine out of 10 children between eight and 15 have viewed inappropriate content on the Internet, often unintentionally while doing homework or filesharing with friends.” 7 Traffic & Lack of Open Space Children have fewer outdoor places to play in general, and in existing green areas, few kids can bike or walk to their play areas without facing ©ShutterStock dangerous traffic hazards. Safe, natural areas for children to play outdoors The lack of urban planning over the past decades has reduced green space and access have significantly decreased over the to nature in neighborhoods. last 20 years.8 A recent report tracked the space that children were allowed to to walk or bike to school by age ten, Liability roam over four generations. As an compared to 56% of the parents who Even in areas where children are eight-year-old in 1926, the great- walked or biked to school when they allowed to play, many of their grandfather was allowed to roam for were ten.10 Road traffic interferes with activities have been severely limited six miles unaccompanied. In 2007, his safe outside play opportunities, and it by fears of liability for injuries. eight-year-old great-grandson could has been deemed “the one universal Homeowners’ associations often only go 300 yards from home on his factor above all others” that has limited prevent kids from participating in own. In fact, the space that children children’s physical space in which to traditional ways in nature – fort- have to roam around freely has play.11 Yet, policies that promote building, playing in ditches, and decreased by 88% since 1970. 9 Only walking and biking in communities digging in the dirt to make mud pies. 36% of today’s parents allow their kids actually increase pedestrian safety.12 In some outdoor summer camps, children aren’t allowed to climb trees.13 In other green areas, well- meaning adults often admonish kids who go off the trail to explore. In the Know the FACTS few school systems that still offer recess, many districts have R es e ar c h S ho ws : n Spending time outdoors can lessen the symptoms of significantly curtailed outdoor Attention Deficit Disorder/ADHD. n Viewing nature from a window can increase girls’ activities because of liability concerns associated with “active play” such as concentration and self-discipline. n Time playing in natural green spaces can improve tag. Other school districts have removed outdoor playground motor skills, including coordination. n Environmental education can increase science test equipment like swings and seesaws scores. from fear of lawsuits. 14 n 30 minutes outside a day can result in a better ©ShutterStock nights’ sleep. Sources: (Fjortoft 2004); (Touchette 2007); (Taylor 2001). Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Plan For example, pre-schoolers who watch violent television tend to be “I like to play indoors better 9 more antisocial and aggressive during ‘cause that’s where all the school years.20 electric outlets are.” Bugs, Bites, Stings, – A Fourth Grader in San Diego. and Itchy Plants can excel at academics, athletics or Many parents are concerned about specialties.” The media, the 26 bugs, bee stings, poison ivy, and other marketing of children’s toys and so- hazards.21 These concerns are very called educational products, and the manageable. Long sleeved shirts and increasingly rigorous college insect repellent can protect from bugs admission process contribute to this and mosquito-borne illnesses. Poison hyper-parenting phenomenon.27 As a oak and poison sumac are readily result, today’s children are feeling recognizable, and the right clothing more stress, more anxiety, and more can help limit exposure to these itchy pressure to be perfect. From piano plants. lessons to soccer practice, many of today’s kids shuttle back and forth The Overscheduled Child from activity to activity and have very ©ShutterStock The good news is that today’s few chances for outdoor play.Children’s time outside has decreased generation of parents is often moreby 50% over the last 20 years. focused and more family-oriented What is at Stake? than that of the baby boomer The Health of OurVideo Games and generation.22 These parents are making ChildrenElectronic Media conscious decisions to spend more Children are not spending timeAs kids spend more time “plugged in” time with their family. The bad news outdoors, which results in severeto electronic media, outdoor time has is that in the quest to be perfect impacts on their mental and physicaldecreased by 50% and childhood parents, today’s parents may be health. The medical community hasobesity has skyrocketed. According to unaware of the importance of play. declared that “play (or some availablethe Kaiser Family Foundation, today’s free time in the case of older childrenchildren spend an average of six and a Many children’s lives are way over- and adolescents) is essential to thehalf hours a day using media – scheduled, and, like adults, they are cognitive, physical, social, andincluding TV, computers, DVD involved in too many activities.23 The emotional well-being of children andplayers, and mp3 players. Over a medical community observed in a youth.”28 Because of the importantseven-day week, kids log in around 44 2007 study that kids are often “being health benefits of play, the Americanhours of media use – close to a full- raised in an increasingly hurried and Academy of Pediatrics hastime job worth of input. Eight- to 10- pressured style that may limit the recommended that children spend 60 15year-olds watch an average of more protective benefits they would gain minutes each day in unstructured playthan four hours of TV a day. The from child-driven play.” The time.29 The CDC recommends that 16 24University of Michigan has found a American Academy of Pediatrics children and adolescents participate in50% decrease in outdoor time over the warns that overscheduling of children at least 60 minutes of moderatelast 20 years. The more television a is becoming the “culture and even intensity physical activity most days 17child watches, the less time the child expectation of parents.” Dr. Alvin of the week.30 25spends outside playing. Research Rosenfeld has termed this cultural 18shows that playing video games and phenomenon “hyper-parenting,” Yet, for many American children, thewatching TV has negative impacts on which “compels parents to become experience of playing outdoors is atphysical health, and violent media relentlessly self-sacrificing, enrolling risk of going extinct.31 Today’s kidscontent negatively impacts children. children in activities so early so they spend six and a half hours a day 19Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e “plugged in” to some form of outdoors does not emphasize winning electronic media, and children have or losing.36 Some doctors also fear10 decreased their time outdoors by 50% that families experience additional since 1981.32 Children ages three to 12 stress levels when their ultra- spend one percent of their time competitive children’s sports outdoors, but they spend 27 percent of schedules require travel to away their time just watching TV.33 games.37 Furthermore, doctors warn Incredibly, children are now actually that parents should not simply rely on gaining weight over summer break, a organized sports to ensure kids get time most often associated with enough physical activity. Instead, the outdoor activities like swimming, medical community urges parents to hiking, and simply playing outside.34 exercise with their children in the This lack of unstructured free time outdoors to promote an active, healthy outdoors has serious consequences for lifestyle.38 children’s health. The Physical Health Outdoor Play is Different Impacts: Outdoor than Participating in “Play” Instead of Organized Sports Exercise ©ShutterStock Although participation in organized Given the positive associations sports is beneficial to children for a connected to outdoor play and The American Academy of Pediatrics variety of health reasons, it does not negative connotation with “exercise,” recommends 60 minutes of daily have the same impact as unstructured experts recommend that we change unstructured free play as essential to free play outside. Often children the terminology to get kids to exercise children’s physical and mental health. spend more time on the sidelines than outside. Instead of using the term playing in the game. In contrast, play “exercise,” we need to encourage including higher risks of outside involves everyone.35 Play children to “play.”39 cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone outside enhances children’s critical and joint problems, and sleep apnea. 43 thinking skills and creativity. Unlike Lack of Play Time Outdoors Overweight children often become organized sports, unstructured play is Linked to Childhood overweight adults, and the effect of Obesity obesity on adult health is profound. There is growing concern that Doctors warn that without children’s lack of time outdoors is unstructured play time, today’s kids linked to the national obesity are growing up with depression, and Know the FACTS epidemic. The prevalence of anxiety, and have become Research shows: 40 overweight children ages six to 11 has increasingly overweight.44 more than doubled in the last 20 C h ild r en wh o years, increasing from 7% in 1980 to Kids who Play Outdoors Play p la y o ut s id e n Play more creatively n Have lower stress levels 18.8% in 2004. The rate among Harder, have Better Motor n Have more active adolescents aged 12 to 19 more than Development, and are imaginations tripled, increasing from 5% to Generally More Fit 17.1%. Doctors warn that, for the Research shows that kids who play 41 n Become fitter and leaner n Develop stronger immune first time in American history, life outdoors play harder and get more systems expectancy may actually decrease exercise.45 Scientists have shown that n Have greater respect for because of the health impacts of the kids who play outdoors are generally current childhood obesity epidemic. more fit than those who spend the 42 themselves, for others, and for the environment Overweight and obese children suffer majority of their time inside.46 Kids Sources: (Fjortoft 2004); (Burdette & Whitaker 2005). from a myriad of health problems, who play outside in natural areas also Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Planshowed a statistically significantimprovement in motor fitness with 11better coordination, balance, andagility.47 The “richness and novelty” ofbeing outdoors also stimulates braindevelopment.48Outdoor Play May Help KidsGet Better SleepThe National Institutes of Healthrecommends 30 minutes outside dailyfor better sleep, and studies indicatethat children’s play outside canimprove sleep.49 Half of all ©Shutterstock.adolescents get less than seven hoursof sleep on weeknights.50 Insufficientsleep during childhood can cause The Mental Health Lessens the Symptomspermanent changes in a child’s brain Impacts: More Time of ADHDstructure, and some scientists believe Outside, Less Anxiety Over two million children in the U.S.that “many of the hallmark have been diagnosed with Attentioncharacteristics of being a tweener and While today’s children are exposed to Deficit/Hyperactivity Disordera teen – moodiness, depression, and more images of nature through the (ADHD). Children with ADHD areeven binge eating – are actually Internet and television than previous restless, have trouble paying attention,symptoms of chronic sleep generations, they are missing out on listening, following directions, anddeprivation.”51 For toddlers especially, the benefits of a direct experience with focusing on tasks.58 Research has showna lack of sleep can have serious nature.54 Time spent in nature has an that spending time outdoors reduces theconsequences. Research has shown intense psychological effect on severity of symptoms of children withthat less than 10 hours a night of sleep children. “The non-human ADHD.59 The greener a child’s playfor toddlers “is associated with environment, far from being of little or area, the less severe the ADHDexternalizing problems such as no account to human personality symptoms. Even indoor settings withHyperactivity-impulsivity (HI) and development, constitutes one of the windows may be more supportive forlower cognitive performance on most basically important ingredients of ADHD kids than indoor settingsneurodevelopment tests.”52 Obesity human psychological existence.”55 without windows.60 Researchers havehas been linked to sleep disorders in Exposure to nature has many short- also found that even short walks inchildren, and exercise has been shown term benefits on children’s green settings such as urban parksto dramatically reduce sleep problems psychological and physical well-being. increases concentration in sufferers ofin affected children. In one recent Being in nature engages all five senses ADHD and lessens other ADHD relatedstudy, for example, half of the and therefore affects childhood symptoms.61participating children who engaged in maturation very strongly. Nature is 56daily outdoor play for 40 minutes also continuously dynamic and Promotes Self-Confidencefound that their snoring went away in unstable, which heightens awareness and Improves Concentrationthree months. while observing wildlife and Children who spend time playing 53 experiencing the outdoors. Research outside are more likely to take risks, shows that “direct, ongoing experience seek out adventure, develop self- of nature in relatively familiar settings confidence and respect the value of remains a vital source for children’s nature.62 Outdoor recreation physical, emotional, and intellectual experiences like camping can improve development.” children’s self-esteem.63 Green spaces 57 Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e outside the home – including stress. In a 2003 survey, 73% of 67 views of nature from windows – can children said that participating in "When one tugs at a single12 increase concentration, inhibition of outdoor activities allows them to thing in nature, he finds it initial impulses, and self-discipline.64 connect with themselves. 83% of children said that getting into a natural attached to the rest of the Stimulates Creativity and setting allows them to escape the world." Problem-Solving Skills pressures of everyday life.68 Just —John Muir, Naturalist Unstructured play outdoors also viewing nature reduces physiological promotes creativity and problem- stress response, increases levels of developing. Health effects include solving skills, because all play interest and attention, and decreases asthma, allergy attacks, headaches, requires “solving some form of social feelings of fear and anger or and even cancer. 72 problem, such as deciding what to aggression.69 play, who can play, when to start, Costs to Outdoor Recreation when to stop, and the rules of The Economy Industry from Reduced Visits engagement.”65 Public Health Costs Due to to Parks, Declining Interest Obesity and Indoor Air in Hunting and Fishing, and Pollution Fewer Excursions in the Given the connection between nature Outdoors deficit and childhood obesity, the The active outdoor recreation economic toll on our public health economy contributes $730 billion system is significant. According to the annually to the U.S. economy. National Academy of Sciences, Outdoor recreation supports six and a national healthcare costs for obese half million jobs in the U.S., and and overweight adults alone range generates $88 billion in annual state from $98 billion to $129 billion and national tax revenue, and $289 annually. “Obesity-associated annual billion annually in retail sales and hospital costs for children and youth services in the country.73 A continued more than tripled over two decades, nature deficit could substantially rising from $35 million in 1979-1981 impact this profitable sector of the to $127 million in 1997-1999.”70 U.S. economy. ©ShutterStock The economic toll associated with In 2006, 87 million Americans spent children’s exposure to indoor air approximately $120 billion enjoying Time in nature increases concentration for students. pollution, including mold, radon, recreational activities relating to fish nitrogen oxides, tobacco smoke, and and wildlife. This spending equates to Reduces Stress and dust, is also significant. The costs to about 1% of gross domestic product, Aggression public health systems and of lost which means that one out of every Time spent in green spaces, including productivity due to indoor air 100 dollars of all goods and services parks, play areas, and gardens, has pollution amount to an estimated $45 produced in the U.S. is associated been shown to reduce stress and billion per year for the State of with wildlife recreation. Anglers and mental fatigue. At least one study California alone. Air quality inside is hunters spent $75.4 billion in 2006, 66 71 examined kids in inner city urban often worse than outside, even in with an average of $2,225 per person areas of similar income, education, major cities. Some indoor pollutants in 2006.74 and family situations, who live in are two to 50 times higher in public housing. Children who were concentration indoors than outdoors. Unfortunately, hunting and angling exposed to greener environments in Children are particularly vulnerable to activities have rapidly decreased over the public housing area demonstrated the effects of indoor air pollution the last 20 years. Overall hunting less aggression, violence, and mental because their immune systems are participation dropped 10% from 1996 Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Plan businesses are at risk for revenue Instilling a Long-Term losses, too. In 2004, recreation Environmental Ethic in “Environmental Education 77 13 workers held about 310,000 jobs. Our Youth can help a struggling student According to the Bureau of Labor Direct childhood experience in Statistics, about 35% of year-round nature before age 11 promotes a become a competent recreation workers are employed by long-term connection to nature.81 student, and a competent local governments, mostly in park and Studies of British environmental recreation departments.78 A continued educators; a comparison of student grow into a star.” Kevin Coyle, NWF Vice President for Education nature deficit would result in even interviews with American and more local recreation budget cutbacks, Norwegian environmental activists;to 2006. This trend could hurt the thereby perpetuating nature deficit by and comprehensive analysis of Eleconomy if it continues since hunters reducing the already limited number Salvadoran environmentalspent nearly $23 billion on trips, of local green areas for children to professionals demonstrate thatequipment, licenses, and other items experience. childhood contact with nature isto support their hunting activities in essential to shaping a lasting2006. Likewise, the number of anglers Loss of Potential environmental ethic and an interestis decreasing. From 1996 to 2006, the Conservation Savings in environmental professions.82number of anglers 16 years old and According to calculations by the Organizations like the Scouts,above decreased 15%. Fishing in the National Environmental Education environmental education programs,Great Lakes dropped 30% in the same Foundation, improved environmental and Outward Bound-type programstime period. In Alaska, one of the knowledge could result in $76 billion during the teen years also serve asmost popular states for hunting and in savings to the national economy formative experiences in creating afishing, recreational fishing decreased from energy conservation and sustained ethic of environmentalby 26% and recreational hunting environmentally friendly behaviors. stewardship.83decreased by 24%. Nationally, fishing Without effective environmentalrelated spending decreased by 16% in education for tomorrow’s leaders, and The connections between childhoodthe last 10 years. One positive trend is without children who want to connect nature experiences and adultthat wildlife watching has increased to the natural world, however, the environmental attitude are not13%. Wildlife-watching Americans nation could lose out on this unique to environmentalspent $45 billion in 2003 on their considerable annual savings.79 professionals.84 A recent studyactivities.75 investigated the impacts of The Future of AmericanIn addition to dwindling sales of Conservationhunting and fishing goods and Exploring the Greatservices, state hunting and fishing Outdoors is a Speciallicense sales have plummeted. Many American Cultural Valuestates rely on millions of dollars from In a recent national survey, 92% oflicense fees to protect threatened Americans responded that they “loveanimal populations and control other to be outdoors,” and 91% believed thatmenacing populations like deer. If the today’s children are not spendingsales continue to decline, state enough time outside. Exploring the 80resource agencies will be hit hard and outdoors is part of the American ©NWF/Charlie Archambault.may be unable to keep up many experience. From the redwood forestsimportant conservation activities. to the Gulf Stream waters, Americans 76 connect to the diverse landscapes ofVisits to our national parks have our country. If we lose this nature-childdecreased 25% over the last 15 years, connection, we will lose a special part Teaching basic critical thinking skills through nature studies is a keyand park associated recreation of our national culture and identity. component for professional success. Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e childhood nature experiences in interviews with over 2,000 non-14 environmentalists in the 112 most urban areas of the US. The survey asked how often participants had childhood contact with nature, participated in environmental education, nature experiences with other people, and associated these factors with environmental attitudes and behavior. This study concluded that the most important factor of long-term environmental attitudes was “many hours spent outdoors in ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. natural habitats during childhood or adolescence—alone or with others.”85 Love of nature is an American value. A wide array of outdoor activities supports a long-term connection to likely to express pro-environmental sources: many hours spent outdoors in nature. Childhood experiences in attitudes and engage in pro- a keenly remembered wild or semi- nature like walking, playing, hiking environmental behaviors as adults.86 wild place in childhood or in natural areas, camping, hunting, adolescence, and an adult who taught fishing, gardening, or plant Taking a Child Outdoors respect for nature.”87 In fact, research collecting, have a “significant, with You Could Change has shown that time spent outdoors positive association with both adult the World playing, bird watching, hunting, or environmental attitudes and Sharing nature with a parent, camping, or being with a special behaviors.” Books, magazines, and grandparent, close relative, or mentor person is associated with an media also support environmentally often feature prominently in environmental ethic.88 friendly behaviors. People who environmental advocates’ during their youth engaged in active experiences. Environmental leaders pursuits in the outdoors like hiking consistently “attributed their and gardening, however, were more commitment to a combination of two Know the FACTS Research Shows: C hi l d ho o d ac ti v i t i e s p o s i t i v e l y a s so c i at e d w i th an e n v i r o nm e nt a l et hi c : n Playing outdoors n Environmental Education n Spending time with a mentor Programs or close relative in nature n Summer Camp n Fishing n Books & Magazines n Hiking n Media Source: (Wells & Lekies 2006). n Camping n Hunting n Scouting ©ShutterStock Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
Solutions to 15 Reverse Nature Deficit and Connect Our Children to Nature ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. We need to protect our children’s future. To reverse nature deficit and connect our children to nature, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will work to connect children to nature through advocating for environmental education, educating our public health community about nature deficit, increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation experiences for children through better design and access, and embarking on a national public outreach campaign to encourage parents to build in regular time for outdoor play. Several policy actions at the federal, state, local, "At age seven, children have as passionate a longing for and personal level can make a difference. Connect Children to Nature through creative interactions and Environmental Education Hands-on, experience-based environmental education can connect kids to the learning as they earlier had natural world. NWF will support policies to invest in and increase opportunities for explorations of the for environmental education to help reverse nature deficit. Environmental education programs use the environment as an integrating context (EIC) across world." —Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Magical Child disciplines, which often results in interdisciplinary, hands-on, community-based projects that affect the local environment. Despite the intricate causal 89 relationships involved in the environmental sciences, only 44% of high school educators teach environmental education. Environmental education is much more common at the elementary school level with 88% of elementary school teachers using some type of environmental education. There is widespread public support for environmental education, with 95% of adults and 96% of parents supporting environmental education in public schools. Unfortunately, because of the 90 unintended consequences of current federal education legislation, known as the “No Child Left Behind” Act, many schools have reduced their environmental education budgets to meet these new testing and curriculum requirements.Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e There are four major types of programs like Outward Bound or the In addition to connecting kids to outdoor education programs that National Outdoor Leaderships nature, integrating environmental16 serve to connect children to nature: Schools have become “meaningful education into school programs has lifetime experiences” and often proven academic benefits: (1) investigational approaches; promote environmental stewardship. Place-based education connects the Sparks Interest in Science (2) outdoor learning; school to its immediate environment. and Math as Future Career (3) place-based learning; and Community service approaches Pathways advance responsible environmental According to the National (4) community service. behaviors and give children an Environmental Education and Traditional environmental problem- opportunity to support local green Foundation, 80% of all students solving in a community or spaces. Furthermore, experts note that decide to opt out of science and math “investigational approaches” have if environmental education is done careers before entering high school. shown to increase test scores on right it can be worth up to $75 billion Environmental education is a environmental knowledge, reading, a year in measurable environmental “heuristic tool for making science and writing skills. Outdoor learning benefits.91 more relevant and appealing,” and Know the FACTS Research Shows: T he Be ne f it s o f E n v ir o nm e nt a l E d uc a t io n n Kids in environmental education classes have • Controlling for GPA, gender, and ethnicity, EIC higher scores on standard measures of academic programs significantly raised scores on three achievement (reading, writing, math, science, key tests: achievement, motivation, and social studies). critical thinking. n In schools that compared the Environment as an n Increased critical thinking skills are attributed to Integrated Context for learning (EIC) to environmental themes, open-ended research traditional programs, 36 of 39 measures showed projects, student voice, and empowerment. higher performance by EIC students. There were n Motivation improvements attributed to learning fewer behavior problems and more engagement experiences tailored to students’ interests/ and enthusiasm for learning. strengths, and applied to real-life n Environmental education programs have resulted issues/problems. in higher test scores across the board. n Schools with enviornmental education programs n Some specific case studies: showed higher test scores on standardized tests • In a third grade class in Milwaukee, all the in math, reading, writing, and listening. The students in the environmental elementary pattern of enviornmental education school school passed the state reading students’ higher scores persisted for five years of comprehension test, as opposed to only 25% data investigated. of the Milwaukee public schools system-wide. n Outdoor education programs in California showed • At an elementary school in Asheville, NC with that science scores on post-test were higher for an environmental focus, fourth grade students groups in outdoor education. Teachers reported achieved a 31% point increase in math improved self-esteem, conflict resolution, and achievement in one year. relationship with peers, problem-solving, motivation to learn, and behavior in class. • Scores on college admission ACT test were Sources: (Lieberman & Hoody 1998); (SEER 2000); (NEEF, 2000); (Coyle 2005); higher from the School of Environmental (Bartosh 2004); (Athman & Monroe 2004); (American Institutes of Research 2005). Studies in Apple Valley, MN than their peers in schools at the district, state, and national levels. Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Plan overall GPA improvements and critical thinking skills in increased attendance and motivation.95 environmental education programs ”Play is the only way the 17 Another study showed EIC students and traditional classes. The highest intelligence of had better attendance rates 77% of the environmental education classes time and fewer discipline problems.96 significantly raised students’ scores on humankind can unfold.” Joseph Chilton Pearce, Author of The Magical Child two nationally recognized critical Closes the Gap in thinking skills tests. Teachers“provides an appealing entry point for Underserved Communities concluded that students’ criticalstudents thinking about future and Serves as an Educational thinking skills improved because thecareers.”92 In one study, educators Equalizer environmental programs involvedobserved thousands of students in A 2004 study evaluated a place-based interdisciplinary problem-solvingenvironmental education programs environmental education project in an approaches, empowered students byand found that test scores improved under-resourced, predominantly allowing them to choose theiracross the board. Science was the only African-American Louisiana school projects, and allowed students tosubject where 100% of the students’ district. The performance gap between connect their projects to theirscores improved.93 the district’s performance and the state communities.99 average on state educational testsImproved Math Scores improved across all subject areas.97 Higher Standardized TestIn a Houston schools study, fourth The National Environmental Scores in Reading, Math,grade students who participated in Education Foundation found that Science, and Social StudiesNWF’s Schoolyard Habitats® Program “environment-based education Numerous studies, including anincreased math scores significantly appears to be a kind of educational evaluation of student performance inmore than peers with a traditional equalizer, improving reading, science 40 schools in 12 states implementingcurriculum. Overall, minority children achievement, and critical thinking environment as an integrating contextshowed more improvement.94 across ethnic and racial groups and (EIC), show that students in EIC across socioeconomic levels.”98 programs have higher scores inIncreases Academic reading, writing, math, science, andMotivation and Attendance Improves Critical social studies.100A Washington state study concluded Thinking Skillsthat students enrolled in A recent study examined over 400 Increases Self-Esteem andenvironmental education programs high school students in eleven Florida Science Scores showed better high schools and contrasted students’ In California, a comparison of at-risk sixth-grade students showed that students in hands-on environmental education significantly raised their science scores by 27%, and they showed better self-esteem, motivation, and behavior.101 Promote Outdoor Play through our Public Health Systems NWF will encourage public heath leaders to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of play in tackling childhood obesity and ©ShutterStock improving children’s mental health. TheParent and child playtime in the natural world strengthen bonds. medical community recognizes that Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e outdoor play time is critical to green areas in their design. Natural • Avenues to experience weather18 children’s physical, mental, play areas result in more active play. 107 and changing seasons, like mobiles emotional, and social well being. The Natural areas can also increase a stirred by the breeze, soft wind American Academy of Pediatrics child’s interest in the environment.108 chimes, or covered porches recommends that pediatricians promote Research shows that green • Insect and butterfly gardens free play as “a healthy, essential part of landscaping in playgrounds makes childhood,” and discourage parents from kids’ play more creative and more • Natural places to sit in, under, lean overuse of passive entertainment like physical.109 Better community design against, climb and provide shelter TV and videogames.102 Routine well- that connects green spaces with and shade child visits provide an important walking paths and hiking trails can • Different levels and nooks and opportunity to educate parents that play promote a more active lifestyle for crannies, where kids can sit, read, time outside can help their kids be families and help to combat obesity. and talk healthier and happier. NWF will urge The medical community also healthcare professionals to consider recommends that physicians and • Rubber walkways, ramps, and low recommending outdoor play for over- health care professionals work to hills instead of stairs to promote stressed kids and as a way to augment support active lifestyles by promoting exploration of gravity strategies to help children diagnosed “safe recreational facilities, including with ADHD.103 Public health programs parks, playgrounds, bicycle paths, NWF will also focus on developing like the Children’s Health Insurance sidewalks, and crosswalks.”110 green spaces in cities in the nation’s Program (CHIP) and the Women, Infant, migratory bird flyways to create and Children nutrition program (WIC) Experts recommend using natural habitats and access for wildlife, and in can provide critical information to vegetation as “both the play setting return, access for children to observe parents on the importance of playing and the materials” in natural play nature firsthand. Since urbanization outside.104 NWF will also reach out to areas. According to designer Randy often fragments habitats, green link the Surgeon General and Secretary of White and professor Debra Rivkin, projects can work to connect Health and Human Services to seek kid-friendly, green playgrounds might habitats.112 Urban green spaces “play a support for combating nature deficit and include :111 crucial role in maintaining water to urge parents to make a commitment quality, loafing grounds, feeding to get their children outside for • Indigenous vegetation, including grounds, perch sites, ambient unstructured play time. trees that change colors, waving temperature, buffer strips, and other long grasses, and high vines that important factors that contribute to the Increase Opportunities attract birds and butterflies overall health of an ecosystem.”113 for Outdoor Recreation NWF will continue to support our • Sand and water play areas Through Better Design and Access By working with designers, city planners, and local elected zoning commissions and officials, NWF will work to ensure that children have accessible kid-friendly green spaces for unstructured free play. In many communities, children do not have access to safe outdoor play areas. 105 Where there are playgrounds, many are barren, concrete slabs that ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. resemble parking lots. Given the 106 many health benefits of play in natural areas, playgrounds should incorporate Test scores increase when students have regular outdoor learning experiences. Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action PlanWildlife Habitat® program andSchoolyard Wildlife Habitats© 19programs to enable communities toform green links in theirneighborhoods.Connecting nature through greenwaysand green links can not only improvewildlife habitat, but also provide manyquality of life benefits to citizens. InPortland, Oregon, for example, the140-mile green “loop” around the city ©ShutterStockconnects hiking trails, parks, and bikepaths.114 NWF will also research All-season play and exploration provide new opportunities for learning.incentives and innovative policies topromote urban green spaces and share The vast majority of Americans will also target influential communitycreative approaches with local receive their environmental leaders, who are often trendsetters andplanning officials. In Davis, information through traditional media opinion leaders, to seek their supportCalifornia, for example, a city like television and newspapers. 116 to educate parents about nature deficitordinance requires that new According to a recent national survey, and potential solutions.development link to the city’s 91% of Americans believe thatgreenway.115 A better built- children need to spend more time NWF and its affiliated stateenvironment and better access to outside.117 Now we need to urge organizations will form new “Nogreen spaces will help connect our parents to create time for outdoor play Child Left Inside™” coalitions, andchildren to nature. for their children. NWF will use our work with existing groups of health existing publications, including professionals, educators, day careEncourage Parents to Ranger Rick® magazine, to encourage providers, business leaders, anglers,Build in Regular Time parents to build regular time for hunters, environmental leaders, andfor Outdoor Play outdoor play into their children’s elected officials to take collectivethrough Green Hour®, a lives. NWF will also reach out to the policy actions to connect children toNational Educational advertising and business communities nature.Campaign in our efforts to get kids outside. WeParents and policymakers can make adifference to get children toexperience all the benefits of free time FACTSin nature. NWF’s national educational Know thecampaign aims to reduce and address Research Shows:barriers preventing children from ©ShutterStockexperiencing the outdoors. Our goal is S u g ge s te d O ut do o r A c t iv i ti esto reach two million parents (10 f o r Pa re n ts an d K id s n Nature Journalingmillion children) encouraging them to n Bird Watching n Puddle Jumpingbuild regular outdoor time into their n Building a Fort n Wildflower Identificationchildren’s lives. NWFs Green Hour , ® n Taking a Tree Walk n Walkingan online resource for parents,features ideas for unstructured play n Using a Field Guide n Gardeningand interaction with the natural world. n Looking at Clouds n Skipping Rocks n Shape Searches n Climbing Trees Source: www.greenhour.org n Bug Collecting Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
What You Can Do20 ©Shutterstock. Several policy actions at the local, state, and level can make a difference in connecting children to nature. Take Action Close to Home Experience Green Hour® Documented benefits of spending time outdoors motivated NWF to create a family-friendly website to encourage families to spend 60 minutes of time outside each day. You do not have to know a lot about the natural environment to enjoy "Nature has been for me, as time outdoors with your children. Take a field guide with you and learn together. long as I remember, a Or just simply take a walk to your local park. Spend some time together in your garden. Look for birds. Watch the clouds. For ideas on how to spend time source of solace, inspiration, outdoors, visit www.nwf.org/kidsoutside. adventure, and delight; a Garden for wildlife with a child home, a teacher, a NWF’s gardening for wildlife suite of programs encourages homeowners, companion." — Lorraine Anderson business-owners and community members to create wildlife friendly landscapes Author that are accessible for all to enjoy. Nurturing an appreciate for plants and wildlife at a young age is a key component for fostering a child’s future connection to nature. For more information, visit www.nwf.org/gardenforwildlife/. Encourage your local school Encourage your local school to participate in NWF’s Schoolyard Habitats© Program, an integrated environmental education program where community members, children, teachers and administrators work to create outdoor learning centers and labs. Both through the creation and utilization of these teaching spaces, children learn about the natural world, and can improve their scores on standardized tests. Nation al Wild life Federa ton • www.b eoutthere.org
A Policy Action Plan • Law Enforcement. Work to ensure that green areas like state 21 and local parks are healthy, safe places for kids to play. • Business Leaders. Provide paid leave time both in private and public sector for parents to go to schools and participate in outdoor field trips and school gardening projects. ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. Support opportunities and funding for educationFishing and hunting provide experiential learning for students and mentoring Support opportunities and funding foropportunities with community members. local environmental education,• Volunteer in a local park, school, • Health Professionals. Ask about including asking local board members day care center, after-school care time outdoors during well-child to provide information on current facility, or nature center. Work in visits and consider “prescribing” environmental education efforts, plans a community garden, participate in time outdoors to improve children’s to update programs and ways to a trash clean up or trail physical and mental health. increase funding for programs that maintenance project, or support help teachers link students to the • Teachers, Day Care Instructors, outdoors. park safety efforts. and After-school Program• Play with a child outdoors. Providers. Use the local Join local law enforcement Research shows that spending time environment as an opportunity to Team up with local law enforcement outdoors with children can help learn, incorporate nature into to ensure that parents are adequately shape their long-term lesson plans, and enable kids to informed about the safety of public environmental ethic. Free play in have some quiet time outside parks and play areas and to increase nature increases physical fitness before class. Participate in NWF’s opportunities for kids to play safely and reduces anxiety. Go fishing. Schoolyard Habitats® program. outside. Take a hike. Or just go for a walk For more ideas, visit www.nwf.org. and look at the clouds. • Planners. Design more green play Create a “No Child Left areas that enable free play. Provide Inside™” DayTake Action in Your better, safer and pedestrian- or participate in other days of action,Community friendly access to parks and including the Great AmericanThe consequences of nature deficit are playgrounds. Work with elected Backyard Campout®, National Getfelt most keenly at the local level. officials to make parks safer, to Outdoors Day, Wildlife Watch Day,Consider working with your local encourage families to get active and International Migratory Bird Day.government, neighborhood and be outside to reduce healthassociations, and community costs. Market the unique Reach out to after-schoolorganizations to: environmental qualities of your programs community. Reach out to after-school programs toGet the word out see how you can help them createEducate health professionals, • Environmental Professionals. opportunities for more play timeteachers, city planners, business Educate citizens on the benefits of outside for kids. Research shows thatleaders, and environmental spending time in nature with kids. the vast majority of children areprofessionals and encourage them to enrolled in some kind of after-schoolincorporate nature deficit solutions program. Provide incentives andinto their everyday practice. opportunities for field trips to local Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e nature centers, supply tools for an after-school garden, or give22 materials for a community-based environmental education program. Enroll in the NWF’s Schoolyard Habitats® Program NWF has worked with schools to plant wildlife-friendly vegetation on school grounds. This tried and true program works and has been found to ©Dynamic Graphics increase participating students’ math scores and educate them about the environment. A family GreenHour® can instill a love for nature. Create zoning policies and Take Action Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay incentives in Your State Watershed Education & Work with local planning State governments are responsible for Training Program commissions and homeowners’ the majority of public policies that can Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay associations to create zoning policies make children’s lives healthier, happy, Watershed Education & Training and incentives to encourage more kid- and more active. State governments Program strives to ensure that all friendly green spaces for creative play should consider integrated policy children within the Chesapeake Bay and designate special areas where reforms that include connecting watershed have a meaningful bay children can participate in traditional children to nature throughout the state experience before they graduate from outdoor activities, like climbing trees health, natural resources, and high school.119 In conjunction with the and fort-building that have been education systems. Some state reform Chesapeake Bay program, the National limited because of liability concerns. policies worth investigating include: Oceanic & Atmospheric Association’s Consider the following actions: Bay and Watershed Education & Connecticut’s No Child Left Training (B-WET) Program supports • Advocate for better playground Inside™ Parks Program environmental stewardship and design that incorporates natural The State of Connecticut created a provides hands-on watershed landscapes. “No Child Left Inside™” program, experiences and uses the environment which includes a multi-week as an integrating context. Two Pacific • Support walkways and bike trails scavenger and adventure hunt in the programs have also been created, into neighborhoods, unlinked to “Great Parks Pursuit Day” to including Monterey Bay in 2003 and roads, for recreating and encourage families to experience the the Hawaiian Islands in 2004.120 commuting by families. state park system. This comprehensive • Push for investments in public program provides park passes for California’s Children’s transportation infrastructure so foster families, supports an urban Outdoor Bill of Rights natural areas are easier to access. fishing program, promotes water On July 6, 2007, the State of safety classes for children to learn California issued a proclamation • Promote a “walking school bus,” how to swim, and connects the recognizing the “Children’s Outdoor where parents take turns walking outdoors to the state library system by Bill of Rights.” Drafted by the a group of kids to school in your offering a summer environmental California Roundtable on Recreation, community to help kids walk to reading program and special park Parks, and Tourism, the Children’s school safely, but also enjoy some passes that are only available at the Outdoor Bill of Rights states that by time outside and get some libraries. the age of 14, every child in California exercise. 118 Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
A Policy Action Planhas the right to experience the Pennsylvania Environmentalfollowing activities: Education Grants Program 23 The Department of Environmental• Discover California’s past Protection set aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties collected• Splash in the water annually for a grants program that• Play in a safe place funds environmental education projects across the state.123• Camp under the stars• Explore nature Governors and state legislatures can make a difference in connecting• Play on a team children to nature and should take• Follow a trail action to: ©ShutterStock• Catch a fish • Host a “No Child Left Inside™”• Celebrate their heritage Forum, to discuss ways to connect Share your love of the outdoors with a children to nature with health care child.Washington State No Child professionals, business leaders,Left Inside™ Grant Program nonprofit organizations, educators, • Pass state environmentalIn January 2008, Washington State after-school providers, urban education legislation to promoteannounced a No Child Left Inside™ planners, hunters and anglers, place-based and outdoorgrant program administered by the conservation groups, and local environmental education andWashington State Parks and officials to work together to create increase funding for updatingRecreation Commission. The program access to safe outdoor play areas environmental educationhas $1.5 million available to and educate parents on the benefits programs. Try to connect everyWashington state outdoor education of unstructured free play. school with a natural place.and recreation youth programs to Consider incorporating • Declare a Children’s Outdoor environmental education intoconnect children to nature.122 Bill of Rights to ensure that teacher education and children have the right to accreditation programs. experience all the benefits of unstructured free time in nature. • Require public health and social service agencies to educate • Institute mandatory state parents on the benefits of standards for minimum exercise outdoor play on children’s in school that focus on outdoor health to fight obesity and to activities for children. As a result make kids’ lives better. Public of the No Child Left Behind health agencies should work to legislation, many states have cut redefine exercise to take away its physical education programs, stigma and call it “play,” and work outdoor field trips, and with health professionals to environmental education. Exercise advance time in nature as a programs in school that potential avenue to lessen the incorporate the outdoors would symptoms of ADHD, fatigue, and provide substantial benefits to the childhood depression. ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. health of our children.Environmental education increasesinterest in science and math. Ins p i r i n g A m e r ic a n s to pro te ct w i l d l i f e f o r o ur children’s future.
C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e • Increase the federal recreation Take Action at the engage children in environmental budget, and conduct a review of stewardship projects and24 National Level federal agency resource budgets The federal government has an environmental education. and assess how they can connect 127 important role in creating children to nature. opportunities for children to play Federal policies can make a difference outdoors. Some existing federal in connecting children to nature, and • Use existing federal public programs worth investigating include: your federal officials should work to: health programs to educate parents on the importance of U.S. Forest Service “More • Pass proposed federal outdoor play to children’s health. Kids in the Woods” Program legislation, such as the “No Child The Children’s Health Insurance In 2007, this federal program awarded Left Inside™” amendment to the Program (CHIP), the Women, $1.5 million with cost share partners “No Child Left Behind” Act to get Infants, and Children (WIC) for local projects that connect children environmental education back in nutrition program, and Medicaid to national forest lands.124 the classroom and give incentives reflect unique avenues to to states to create environmental encourage parents to support U.S. Bureau of Land literacy plans. outdoor play. Management’s (BLM) • Reauthorize the National • Call upon the Surgeon General “Take it Outside” Program Environmental Education Act to and Secretary of Health and This program expands many existing update environmental education Human Services to ask parents initiatives that connect children to the standards and increase critical to make a commitment to their 258 million acres of BLM-managed funding for environmental children’s health by encouraging public lands. The agency partners with education. their children to experience daily schools, youth organizations like the • Form a Twenty-first Century unstructured free play outside. Girl Scouts, and provides a website for families on recreational Presidential Commission on the opportunities on BLM lands.125 Great Outdoors to make outdoor Conclusion time part of children’s daily Together, we can connect our children U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service experience, and more fully explore to nature and ensure that the next “Children and Nature” the impacts of nature deficit on generation has the opportunity, the Initiative public health. space, and the encouragement to “Go This new initiative aims to connect Outside and Play.” children with nature, and to encourage families to visit national wildlife refuges to experience nature firsthand. 126 National Park Service’s Youth Programs The National Park Service has several educational programs to engage children who visit national parks, including the Jr. Ranger Program. The Park Service also has partnerships with groups such as the Student ©NWF/Charlie Archambault. Conservation Association, the Youth Conservation Corps, and Job Corps, and private youth organizations like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to Outdoor play results in healthier kids. Nationa l Wild life Fed er a tion • www.be outthere.o rg
ENDNOTES Cowan, Alison Leigh (2007). “School Recess Gets Gentler and 14 Adults are Dismayed,” altparentingsolutions.com, http://groups.google.com.sg/group/alt.parenting.solutions/browse_t 251 Rideout, Victoria et al. (2005). Generation M: Media in the Lives hread/thread/b0d00fe0c9545d81(accessed Mar. 3, 2008); Lahoud,of 8-18 Year-Olds. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Susan (2006). “Tagged Out,” The Sun Chronicle, Oct.17, 2006,http://www.kff.org/entmedia/up...f-8-18-Year-olds-Report.pdf http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2006/10/18/features/featur(accessed Oct. 22, 2007). e37.txt (accessed Mar. 7, 2008); USA Today Editorial (2006). “Our Juster, F. Thomas et al. (2004). “Changing Times of American View on Children’s Welfare: All Work and No Play… Makes Kids Fat and Passive”, (Nov. 28, 2006),2Youth: 1981-2003,” Institute for Social Research, University ofMichigan. Child Development Supplement, http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2006/11/ post_67.html (accessedhttp://www.umich.edu/news/Releases/ Mar. 7, 2008).2004/Nov04/teen_time_report.pdf (accessed Oct. 27, 2007). (Rideout et al. 2005). 153 NIH News. (2005). “Obesity Threatens to Shorten U.S. Life Span, Ibid. 16New Analysis Suggests,” (Mar. 17, 2005), available at 17 (Juster et al. 2004)http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm (accessed o Mar. 18 Burdette, Hillary L & Whitaker, Robert C. (2005). “Resurrecting8, 2008); Olshansky, S. J. et al. (20005). "A Potential Decline in Free Play in Young Children: Looking Beyond Fitness and FatnessLife Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century," New to Attention, Affiliation, and Affect,” Arch Pediatr Adolesc MedEngland Journal of Medicine. 32: 1138-1145, 159: 46-50, http://archpedi.ama-http://content.nejm.org (accessed Mar. 8, 2008). assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/159/1/46 (accessed Nov. 10, 2007). Louv, Richard (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Browne, KD & Hamiltion-Giachritsis, CE (2005). “The Influence4 19Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books of Chapel of Violent Media on Children and Adolescents: A Public HealthHill. Approach,” The Lancet, 365: 702-10. U.S. Department of Justice. Finkelhor, David, et al. (2002). Christakis, Dimitri A. & Zimmerman, Frederick. (2007). “Violent5 20Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates and Television Viewing During Preschool is Associated with AntisocialCharacteristics, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Behavior During School Age,” Pediatrics, 120: 993-99.Runaway, and Throwaway Children, Bulletin, (Louv 2005).http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/nismart/04/ (accessed Nov. 5, 212007); Williamson, L.J. (2007). “Let Kids Outdoors: Crime is DeMarco, Laura. (2004). “Generation X Parents Outshine Baby 22Down, but Parents Shelter Children as if there is a Predator on Boomers: Group Called Slackers Embraces Family,” The PlainEvery Corner,” Los Angeles Times, (Mar. 29, 2007), Dealer (Sept. 7, 2004).http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-williamson29mar29,0, Bronson, Po. (2007). “Snooze or Lose,” New York Magazine, 23803913.story (accessed Mar. 9, 2008). http://nymag.com/news/features/38951/ (accessed Nov. 21, 2007);6 U.S. Dept. of Justice. (2001). Highlights of the Youth Internet Elkins, David (2003). “The Overbooked Child,” Psychology TodaySafety Survey, http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/fs200104.pdf (Jan/Feb 2003).(accessed Mar. 9, 2008). Ginsberg, D. (2007). “The Importance of Play in Promoting 247 WiredSafety.Org. (1998). Overview of Online Survey, Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Childhttp://www.wiredsafety.org/askparry/special_reports/spr1/qa33.html Bonds,” Clinical Report, American Academy of Pediatrics,(accessed Mar. 9, 2007); Polly Klass Foundation (2005). “Results http://www.aap.org/pressroom/playFINAL.pdf (accessed Nov. 1,of Internet Survey: One Third of Teens Have Talked with Strangers 2007).Online About Meeting in Person; Nearly One in Eight Have Ibid. 25Learned that Adults Online Were Pretending to be Younger,” 26 Rosensfeld, Alvin & Wise, Nicole. (2005). The Over-Scheduledhttp://www.pollyklaas.org/media/new-survey-data-reveals- Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap. St. Martin’s Press.risks.html (accessed Nov. 15, 2007); Enough is Enough (2005). (Ginsberg 2007).“Making the Internet Safer for Children and Families,” Internet 27Statistics Fact Sheet, Ibid. 28http://www.enough.org/inside.php?tag=statistics (accessed Nov. 14, Ibid. 292007). 30 Centers for Disease Control. (2007). Fact Sheet, “Prevalence of8 Moore, Robin C. (1989). “Playgrounds at the Crossroads: Policy Overweight Among Adolescents and Children 2003-2004, Obesityand Action Research Needed to Ensure a Viable Future for Public Still a Problem,”Playgrounds in the United States,” published in Altman, I. & Zube http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/06facts/obesity03_04.htmE., Public Places and Spaces. Human behavior and the (accessed Nov. 4, 2007).environment, Vol. 10. New York: Plenum, 31 Kellert, Stephen R. (2004). Building for Life: Designing andhttp://www.naturalearning.org/aboutus/countersedentary.htm Understanding the Human-Nature Connection. Island Press.(accessed Nov. 20, 2007). 32 (Juster et al. 2004). (Louv 2005). Hofferth, S. and J. Sandberg. (2001). “Changes in American9 33 Ibid. Children’s Time, 1981-1997.” In Hofferth, S.L. and T.J. Owens,1011 Ibid. eds. Children at the Millennium: Where Have We Come From,12 Jacobsen PL. (2003). “Safety in numbers: more walkers and Where Are We Going? Oxford, England: Elsevier Science.bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling. Injury Prevention 9: 205- Von Hippel et al. (2007). “The Effect of School on Overweight in 34209, http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/9/3/205 Childhood: Gain in Body Mass Index During the School Year and(accessed Nov. 20, 2007). During Summer Vacation,” American Journal of Public Health, 97:13 (Louv 2005). 606-702. McCafferty, Dennis. (2007). “Mother Nature: Raising Healthier 35 Kids, Getting your Kids Back in Touch with the Great Outdoors can Improve their Health and Well-being. USA Weekend Magazine, (Nov. 18, 2007), www.usaweekend.com/07_issues/071118/071118healthy-kids- report.html (visited Nov. 22, 2007). 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C o n n e c t i n g To d a y ’s K i d s w i t h N a t u r e Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness and Council on School Marsh, P. (1999). Does camping enhance self-esteem? Camping 36 6326 Health (2006). “Active Healthy Living: Prevention of Childhood Magazine, 72(6), 36-40. Obesity Through Increased Physical Activity,” Pediatrics 117; 64 (Taylor et al. 2001). 1834-1842, www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/117/5/1834 (Burdette & Whitaker 2005). (accessed Nov. 18, 2007). 65 (Taylor et al. 2001). (Rosenfeld & Wise 2000). 66 37 Kuo, F.E. and Sullivan, WC. (2001a). “Environment and Crime in (Council on Sports Medicine 2007). 67 the Inner City: Does Vegetation Reduce Crime?” Environment and 38 (Burdette & Whitaker 2005). Behavior 33: 343-367; Kuo, F. & Sullivan, WC (2001b). 39 Luepker, RV. (1999). “How Physically Active are American “Aggression and Violence in the Inner City: Effects of Environment 40 Children and What Can We Do about it?” International Journal of via Mental Fatigue,” Environment and Behavior 33: 543-571. Obesity 23(2): S12-17; Sturm, R. (2005). “Childhood Obesity: 68 Harris Interactive. (2003). Outdoor Industry Association Outreach What Can We Learn from Existing Data on Societal Trends, Part 1. Study. Outdoor Industry Association. Preventing Chronic Disease [serial online] 2(1): 1-9, (Burdette & Whitaker 2005). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/jan/04_0038.htm; Henig, 69 Robin Marantz. (2008). “Taking Play Seriously,” The New York National Academy of Sciences. (2004). Preventing Childhood 70 Times, (Feb. 17, 2008). Obesity: Health in the Balance, http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11015&page=125 (CDC 2006). (accessed Nov. 12, 2007). 41 Olshansky, S. J. et al. (2005). 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(2007). 2006 National Survey of http://www.colorado.edu/journals/cye/14_2/article2.pdf (accessed Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation: National Oct. 20, 2007). Overview (May 2007). Ibid. Ibid. 47 75 Rivkin, Mary S. (2000). “Outdoor Experiences for Young Greenwell, Megan. (2007). “Clinics Pursue Elusive Quarry: New 48 76 Children.” ERIC clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Hunters,” The Washington Post (Nov. 12, 2007), Schools, http://www.eric.ed.gov (accessed on Nov. 17, 2007). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- (NIH 2007). dyn/content/article/2007/11/11/ AR2007111101591_pf.html 49 50 (Bronson 2007). (accessed Nov. 12, 2007). Ibid. Pergams, O. R. W. and P. A. Zaradic. (2006). “Is Love of Nature 51 77 Touchette, E. et al. 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