New Initiative to Help Cities Increase Nature Access for Children Launched By National League of Cities
Washington, DC - To encourage and support city efforts that expand children's access to nature, the National League of Cities will partner with the Children & Nature Network to launch the Cities Promoting Access to Nature initiative. This new, three-year project, made possible by a major new grant from The JPB Foundation, will help city leaders develop or expand strategies for getting more young people outdoors and connected to parks, green space and natural areas, with a focus on children and youth in economically stressed communities.
The Cities Promoting Access to Nature initiative will also build upon NLC's new partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the YMCA of the USA. The three organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2014, pledging to coordinate efforts to reduce the disconnect between children and the outdoors.
"The enrichment and education of our nation's children and young adults was one of the primary reasons I became involved in NLC," said NLC President and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "I'm proud to say that this program will give mayors and other city leaders the capacity to work closely with the Children & Nature Network, Department of the Interior and the YMCA to drive major improvements in access to nature for low-income and minority communities throughout the country."
The program will add to the latest research on city initiatives; hold leadership academies for city officials who show a commitment to expanding access to nature for low-income populations; create action guides; and support cities in their efforts to develop and implement community action plans. Additionally, the project will provide planning and implementation grants for selected cities.
"The Children & Nature Network is thrilled to partner with the National League of Cities to help municipal leaders take actions that recognize the importance of a connection to nature in children's healthy development. We believe that an investment in both the physical and human infrastructures to connect young people to nature can yield a very high return for cities," says Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director of the Children & Nature Network.
Studies indicate that providing children with access to nature-rich environments reduces stress and anxiety, encourages healthy and active lifestyles, improves motor skills, can boost educational outcomes and help to build the next generation of environmental stewards.
About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
About the Children & Nature Network
Founded in 2006 by author Richard Louv, the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) is leading the grassroots movement to reconnect children and families to nature. C&NN invests in leaders, inspiring and supporting them to take action to create a future in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives.