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Building a Movement to Reconnect Children & Nature

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Marilyn Wyzga

NH Fish & Game Department Convener for the New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition

The Spark

Affirmed by Rich Louv s book and hearing keynote messages from 2 rock stars of the movement, Frances Kuo and Cheryl Charles, at 2006 NAAEE Conference

NH Fish and Game Department caught the big one and decided to sink our teeth in by organizing a statewide meeting on the issue.

One person grew to 15 and then 20, continuing to ripple out and encompass more and different people.

Hosted NH Leave No Child Inside Summit, May 2007 – 100 people, 5 sectors, 2 funders, 1 national voice, 1 champion

Hosted Leave No Child Inside Forum, Nov 2007 – 1000 people, 50 dignitaries, 5 sectors, 5 expert panelists, 2 funders, 1 national voice, 1 champion

Need to organize – Structuring the Coalition: Affiliations, Partners, and Champions •  First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch (pediatrician specializing in childhood obesity) •  NH Healthy Eating Active Living (sister initiative) •  NH Charitable and Harvard Pilgrim Foundations (funders) •  C&NN Grassroots Leadership Team •  David Sobel, Antioch University New England

The mission of the New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition is to foster experiences in nature that Ø Improve physical and emotional health and wellbeing, Ø Increase understanding of and care for the natural world, and Ø Promote stronger connections to community and landscape; and to provide a forum for continued collaboration by Coalition participants and others.

New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition Organizational Structure


Development Committee

COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM Messaging, Audience and Communications Committee

Committees and Members at Large

Natural Leaders Project Group

Recruitment Working Group

Conference Committee

Chair Ex Com

Facilitator Treasurer Secretary

Education SubGroup

Fiscal Agent

Partners and Collaboration – multiple sectors in statewide coalition using collaborative model of governance •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Education Environment Health Media Culture Recreation Built Environment

What NHCiNC has been doing – from structuring to capacity building to messaging •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Marketing campaign Toolkits Natural Leaders program Let s G.O.! Events White paper Facebook Website Annual fall conference Get Out and Play! Weekend Environmental Literacy Plan Exhibits at other events Mother Nature s Child Screenings

Actions we take to reach all children including under-served. •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Affirm teachers who bring the outdoors indoors. Create diverse natural areas to the school grounds. Encourage school nurse to prescribe outdoor play. Connect conservation lands with schools. Educate builders/planners Cultivate Natural Leaders. Rural and urban areas. Forge new partnerships.

What we have seen grow from the initiative and partner efforts

Fully accessible trails, nurses Rx outdoor play, Natural Leaders, more school gardens, nature play spaces for early childhood, Walking School Bus

Challenges: AMC

Many partners, each with own governance system, learning to value the collaborative model









Challenges: changing behavior in a changing climate

•  Economic Climate •  Political Climate •  Social Climate

Challenges •  Countering expectations – nature deficit extends to rural areas •  Two-edged sword – when one partner provides paid staff to convene the team

What We Need: •  Strengthen and diversify the coalition •  Fully embrace the collaborative model •  The means to implement all our great ideas!

On target for the future

- reach politicians - collect data and document stories - new work plan

NH Children in Nature Coalition

Find us on Facebook

Celebrate each success – Hurray! And keep making our way to the next summit!

133 members strong! Visit

COLLABORATIVE (GBCAN) Presented  by  Mary  Hardcastle   EE  Manager,  Parks  &  People  Foundation     &   Co-­‐founder/Steering  Committee  Member,                                           Greater  Baltimore  Children  &  Nature  Collaborative  

GBCAN Summary! •  2007/2008 Initial efforts funded by Hooked on Nature/ Baltimore pilot - outreach and networking!

• 2008 - 1st GBCAN Conference (180 participants)! Keynote - Akiima Price, plenary, breakouts, panel! • 2009 - Steering Committee formed; Parks & People Foundation takes on leadership of collaborative by providing staff support for coordination! • 2011 - 2nd GBCAN Conference (200 participants); Strategic Planning begins; Formed initiatives, action projects implemented! ! • 2012 - 3rd GBCAN Conference (200 participants) ! Keynote - Rue Mapp, founder Outdoor Afro! Added a stewardship project to agenda !

GBCAN connects to: ! !

"  !


MD State initiatives! C&NN ! Ø Natural Families! Ø Natural Leaders! Ø Natural Teachers!

State Initiatives Maryland No Child Left Inside Coalition - supports NCLI legislation! ! MD Children in Nature Partnership - MD State Dept. of Education and MD Dept. of Natural Resources lead volunteer partners from across the state to implement a plan that connects children with nature on public lands and in schools. ! ! MAEOE – Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education provides information and professional development. MAEOE holds an annual conference w/ workshops & trainings (February). MAEOE runs Maryland s Green School Program to certify best practices and promote sustainability. 7 MD Counties have Environmental Literacy Plans

MD Children in Nature Partnership ž  ž 


Executive Order ! Collaboration of Dept. of Natural Resources & MD State Dept. of Education! Coalition support: active, defined leadership; invested, active membership!


Coordinator, writer (ie, paid staff support) !


Funder involvement!


MD Children s Outdoor Bill of Rights!

Greater Baltimore Children & Nature Collaborative - GBCAN !


Initiatives: Ø Annual Conference of Grassroots Leaders ! Ø Natural Leaders! Ø Natural Families! Ø Natural Teachers! Ø Docs in the Parks! Ø Nature Play Spaces ! Ø Grow Art/Art in the Parks ! Ø Naturalist in Every Neighborhood!

GBCAN Conference 2008, 2011, 2012! Keynote, Plenary, 20 workshops, panel, stewardship project


Habitat & tracking workshop

!Natural Leaders - ages 14-29 • Hold workshops at events! •  Lead nature art workshop for children! •  Lead stewardship projects!

Natural Leaders Participate in recreation and service projects throughout the year

GBCAN Natural Families

v Outings arranged by volunteer parents using a website and a printed brochure for sharing mission and description, and a Meetup site for organizing events. ! v Offer workshops for parents & caregivers!

GBCAN Natural Families

GBCAN Natural Teachers Baltimore Green Schools Network (BGSN)! EE Providers, Naturalists, and Agriculture Educators partnering to support an Environmental Literacy Plan for Baltimore City Public Schools! BGSN endorses the MD Green School Program, Baltimore s Office of Sustainability and GBCAN.!

GBCAN Natural Partners •  Over 40 cross sector organizations!

including health (MD Chapter of AAP); education (City Schools office), business (local REI stores); community (Downtown Family Partnership); Arts (Arts&Effects); Environmental (Natural History Society of MD)! •  12 Member Steering Committee that meets once a month! •  Connecting local partners via website, annual conference, printed material (brochures)! •  Creating a directory & an online map of nature locations where families can visit on their own or participate in a program!

Docs in the Park • Pediatricians model the healthy behavior they are prescribing for their patients - nature precriptions ! • GBCAN volunteers support events in parks! • Guidelines for structuring events! ü Activities! ü Healthy food! ü Wildlife exhibits! ü Nature hikes!

• Funded by Kaiser Permanente and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks!

Nature Play Spaces

GBCAN Steering Committee members volunteer at events to demo nature play spaces!

Portable Nature Playspaces! Goal:! • To create a portable demo that can be installed at outdoor events. ! • To demonstrate possibilities for what anyone might create in a backyard, vacant lot, schoolyard, or daycare center.! ! • To promote unstructured playtime in nearby nature!

Free material is collected by Parks & People Foundation in partnership with Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks!

. Materials include:! • Tree cookies ! • Tree stumps and logs! • Bamboo stalks! • Tree branches! • Vines

• Website! • Brochure! • Quarterly Newsletter! ! !


Grassroots Webinar O1  
Grassroots Webinar O1  

Grassroots Webinar Materials