How to Reconnect Your Youth to the Natural World

Thursday, June 06, 2019

“With access to nature, we have real racial disparity in our city. If you are a middle-class kid, your parents or scout troop are making sure you have positive outdoor experiences. This is not the case for a kid struggling with not having enough food and the trauma of everyday life,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “If we consciously tackle this now, we will create better outcomes for all kids today and tomorrow.”

Research shows that childhood has moved indoors, leaving kids disconnected from the natural world. This trend has profound implications for children’s health and wellbeing and disproportionately affects marginalized youth in urban areas.

A group of city leaders is working to change this reality. Imagine a city guided by a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, where municipal leaders, community organizations and nonprofits work together to defy statistics. Imagine a city committed to strategies that help all children, regardless of background, have meaningful access to outdoor learning and recreation.

Seven cities across the US are doing just that. Joining a group of other cities as part of the ongoing Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative, Baltimore, Md.; Gary, Ind.; Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Rochester, N.Y.; Seattle, Wash.; and St. Louis, Miss. will implement nature connection strategies with a focus on equity.

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