Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Year Later

Students from The Hill School meet the great oceanographer Sylvia Earle
during the National Dialogue on Children and Nature held at NCTC.

It's coming up on a year since the National Dialogue on Children and Nature, which was presented by The Conservation Fund and hosted by the National Conservation Training Center.

Has progress been made since that event?

Yes. Lots.

Let's look at some of the accomplishments and on-going initiatives that have arisen from this seminal gathering.

1. The Children and Nature Network Rich Louv gives an update currently on the website front page.
In the past year we have seen the growth of countless new private and public programs aimed at reconnecting children and nature — and the bolstering of many existing ones. The idea of a national children and nature movement has become a reality.
2. The National Forum on Children and Nature

The major outcome of the meeting was a commitment to elevate this issue to the national agenda through a National Forum on Children and Nature. This initiative was launched on June 21, 2007 and is chaired by Governors Schweitzer of Montana, Rendell of Pennsylvania, Rell of Connecticut, and Sanford of South Carolina.

The National Forum on Children and Nature will involve governors, mayors, corporate CEOs, heads of environmental organizations, and leaders from health and education institutions, and will invest several million dollars in projects with on-the-ground tangible results that address the issue of children’s isolation from nature.

The National Forum is now seeking project proposals.

3. The Hill School in Middleburg, Virginia is going full bore with an enhanced curriculum and continued landscape project, working with Stephen Kellert at Yale.

4. The Fish and Wildlife Service has identified "Connecting People with Nature" as a top priority. A Service work group is working to expand and enhance activities to reconnect kids and adults to nature.

"Sixty years ago, Rachel Carson wrote that wildlife refuges provide a 'release from the tensions of modern life,'" said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall. "They do that, and more. National wildlife refuges also promise outdoor adventure to children growing up in a digital age, whose idea of nature might be watching animals on television. Refuges offer the real thing."

The Service's National Wildlife Refuge System Week will take place October 7-13, with the theme: "Time to Connect With Nature". More here. And go visit a refuge soon.

There's lots more out there.