Today’s children spend less time in nature than any generation in all of human history. April’s Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) campaign is aimed at reversing that trend! Join in as people of all ages get outside to Play, Serve and Celebrate during the month of April. Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) is the brainchild of Natural Leaders, the youth leadership section of the Children & Nature Network. In their words, “This is not just a call to action, it is a call for fun! Think of it as a party invitation, and the party location is all the green and living space around us. Community gardening, local hikes, river clean-ups, bird watching, fishing, biking, beach days, trail maintenance and habitat restoration – however and wherever you get outside in nature.”
So, join the party, join the fun! For a listing of outdoor activities in April, go to the Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) website, type in your zip code, and you’ll see what’s happening near you. Have your own event to list? We want to hear about it! Follow this link to post your own event. Afterward, post photos and information about your event at the C&NN Connect.
PS – Spread the word! E-mail on to your friends, neighbors, school and co-workers or print the flyer at right using this link.
Who said that kids don’t play outside in the winter in Cincinnati? A recent trip to the Cincinnati NatureCenter’s new Nature PlayScape revealed plenty of area children at play in this fabulous new project. Don’t know what a Nature PlayScape is? Think about playing WITH nature, not playing IN nature. Learn more about this exciting project and plan a visit soon! It’s fun for kids of all ages and an inspiration to anyone thinking of building a natural play area at home, at school, or any place else, for that matter!
Cincinnati has been identified as one of 2011′s Top 100 Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance. The award is presented to communities who are successfully working to improve graduation rates. LNCIgc is actively involved in two of the programs cited in achieving that award: Cincinnati Public Schools Elementary Initiative, which includes Fifth Quarter for at-risk students, and the Safe Routes to School project.
2011 was the first year of Let’s G.O.!, which is a youth led initiative aimed at getting people all across the country outside to Play, Serve and Celebrate during the month of April. Plans are underway to make it bigger and better in 2012. Does your organization have an event or service project planned for April? Register it on the Children & Nature Network’s website to let people in your community know about it. The Ohio Leave No Child Inside Collaboratives will be working to promote Let’s G.O.! events throughout Ohio.
2011 marked the fifth anniversary of Leave No Child Inside – Greater Cincinnati. We’ve come a long way since 2006! See our 2011 Annual Report for some of the highlights of last year. It is thrilling to see all of the good work happening as this message becomes a part of the culture of organizations throughout Greater Cincinnati.
Now it its sixth year, the Kid’s Outdoor Adventure Expo was bigger and better than ever this year. In addition to serving as the conclusion to Cincinnati Public Schools’ Fifth Quarter program, the event provided over 4,000 area children with hands-on experiences designed to “spark their interest in the world of nature” and enhance academic performance. Read more and see photos here: http://www.ohioriverway.org/
- Jim Shelton meets with fifth quarter planner and CPS parents
In an innovative program designed to stem the loss of learning that takes place during the summer for many students, Cincinnati Public Schools offered a Fifth Quarter, targeting grades K-7 at thirteen* schools. The voluntary program included enrichment opportunities intended to close the achievement gap between low-income and more economically advantaged students. A recent Johns Hopkins University study found that 65 percent of the achievement gap between poor and more advantaged ninth-graders is due to unequal summer learning experiences during elementary school years. By the fifth grade, low-income children can be 2-1/2 years behind their middle and upper-income peers.
- Pleasant Ridge Montessori Students Plant Garden
Seizing the opportunity to provide children with valuable environmental education and healthy outdoor activities, Leave No Child Inside-Greater Cincinnati partnered with Cincinnati Public Schools and CincyAfterSchool (overseen by the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati) to establish the EarthSmart Institute. With assistance from Greater Cincinnati Environmental Educators and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, LNCIgc provided the schools with a menu of over sixty school outreach programs and more than thirty-five field trip opportunities, many of which were offered free of charge. In an effort to encourage problem-solving, creativity and outdoor physical activity, LNCIgc also helped each school to identify a “nearby nature” location for the students to visit. There, students completed a series of self-directed activities, using an EarthSmart Institute Passport as a roadmap to discovering “nature in the neighborhood” and learning how human behavior impacts the environment. Fifth Quarter concluded on Friday, June 26, with grades four through seven attending the Paddlefest Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo. EarthSmart Institute “graduates” were presented with a certificate signed by Superintendent Mary Ronan and Mayor Mark Mallory, and participating schools received recognition from Governor Ted Strickland.
- Pleasant Ridge Montessori Students Show Off Muddy Hands
Planning for the EarthSmart Institute, the Passport and graduation certificates were all donated to Cincinnati Public Schools. Many community organizations deserve recognition for their support of Fifth Quarter, but special recognition is due to the Fifth Quarter Planning Team: The Cincinnati Park Board, the Foundation for Ohio River Education (formerly ORSANCO), ALLY, Dater Montessori Nature Center, CincyAfterSchool and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Special thanks also to the Paddlefest Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo planning team: Hamilton County Park District, Ohio River Way, Inc. and the Paddlefest Steering Committee. All of these groups volunteered many hours of staff time to support this important and innovative initiative. We would also like to thank Greater Cincinnati Water Works for donating the cost of printing the EarthSmart Institute Passport.
*Sixteen schools were originally targeted for this program, but three of them are now in redesign and were removed from Fifth Quarter.
- Ethel M. Taylor Academy Students Show Off The Covers They Made for Their EarthSmart Institute Passports
News of the movement to get kids back outside seems to be everywhere these days, but this event in New York City is worthy of special mention! A coalition called Play for Tomorrow hosted a Giant Block Party, expecting to attract 10,000 people. To their surprise, 50,000 showed up to participate in games like I Spy and drawing on the sidewalk with chalk (hop scotch, perhaps!). Read about it here.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has invited Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, to speak at their national conference in October, 2010. This is evidence of the growing recognition of the critical role that nature plays in healthy childhood development.
The AAP also recently published a paper, “Build with Recreation in Mind”. An estimated 32% of American children are overweight, and physical inactivity contributes to this high prevalence of overweight. This policy statement highlights how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity.
In September, 2010, an Ohio Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights has been endorsed by Governor Ted Strickland and more than thirty Mayors across Ohio. Click here to view the Ohio Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.