Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN), a joint initiative of the National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network, supports municipal leaders and their community partners to connect children to the benefits of nature more often and more equitably. The CCCN initiative focuses on confronting marked economic and racial disparities in access to nature and is generously supported by The JPB Foundation.

Launched in 2016, CCCN includes cities across the U.S. that create programs, partnerships and policies to help kids learn, play and grow with nature as a key part of their daily lives. Cities use a variety of strategies, implemented through parks, schools, libraries and early childhood settings.

Apply for The Early Childhood Nature Connection

CCCN offers city officials and their partners technical assistance, peer learning opportunities and access to national experts to help ensure that nature connection strategies become an integral part of city planning, programming and policymaking. Local elected officials in turn have found that nature connection strategies help advance other priorities, from community health and wellness, education and job creation to climate resilience and land use.

Request for Proposals

  • Bring nature’s benefits to young children, ages 0 – 5, in your city and support other city priorities, such as school readiness, health and wellness, and equity in child development. CCCN invites cities to apply by March 18th to receive technical assistance to launch or expand approaches to connect young children to nature more equitably. Click Here to Apply
  • Please join us on February 14th, 2-3:30 PM ET for an info session. CCN will select six cities to receive 18 months of technical assistance to increase equitable access to nature for young children (0-5) with a focus on communities that lack nature access due to systemic racism and injustice. Cities that have received CCCN catalytic grants are not eligible to apply.

Why does children’s nature connection matter?

  • Increasingly indoor and sedentary lifestyles have created pressing child development issues such as rising rates of obesity, mental illness and chronic disease in children.
  • Too many children currently miss out on the benefits of regular nature connection, which include enhanced health, increased social and emotional skills, and improved academic outcomes.
  • Longstanding systems of inequity have reduced access to safe, outdoor spaces and experiences.

The Growing CCCN Network of Cities

Find more tools for city leaders and their community partners in the CCCN Resource Hub. And to learn more about the CCCN team at NLC, email us.