CONCORD, N.H. — Registration is now open for the New Hampshire Children in Nature conference “Where the Children Play: Discovering, Creating and Using Outdoor Spaces” on October 5, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Cody Outdoor and Conference Center in Freedom, N.H. Participants will explore many ways to reconnect children, youth and families with nature in our communities.
The registration fee for the conference is $45, which includes three workshop sessions, lunch and refreshments. To register, visit http://www.nhchildreninnature.org/events.
“We’re excited about bringing people together to exchange ideas and strengthen community efforts to reconnect children, youth and families with nature here in New Hampshire,” said Marilyn Wyzga, convener of the N.H. Children in Nature Coalition. “There are so many ways we can do this, from discovering ways to use our backyards, city parks and other existing spaces; creating new outdoor places in schoolyards and neighborhoods; or providing access to community lands.”
The conference itself is a great chance to enjoy a fall day in the White Mountains. The Cody Outdoor Center, with nearly 100 spectacular lakeside acres, is an ideal setting for exchanging ideas and renewing your own connection with the outdoors. Come early and stay late to walk woodland trails or stroll along the shores of Ossipee Lake.
The conference will appeal to parents, teachers, city planners, environmental educators, artists, recreation professionals, landscape designers, health practitioners – anyone with an interest in connecting young people with the outdoors.
The keynote speaker for the conference is Stephen Kellert, a Yale University professor and founding board member of the national Children & Nature Network. His work focuses on understanding the connection between human and natural systems, with a particular interest in the value and conservation of nature and designing ways to harmonize the natural and human built environments. His research into the inherent need humans have to affiliate with nature for health, productivity and wellbeing provided some of the foundation for Richard Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods. The new film that Kellert co-produced with Bill Finnegan, “Biophilic Design: Architecture for Life,” addresses how designing built environments with nature, to create healthy and productive habitats for modern humans, can positively impact health, community, education and work. This 60-minute documentary will be shown during the conference, followed by a discussion with Kellert.
Participants may choose from a variety of informative workshops and networking opportunities that will give them the resources, tools and knowledge they need to create communities that encourage everyone to spend more time in nature. Workshops will include planning and developing schoolyard habitats, making the outdoors accessible for all abilities, geocaching (using GPS and treasure hunts to explore communities), integrating art and literacy with outdoor learning spaces, creative teaching using trails and open spaces, revitalizing playgrounds, planning early childhood activities for outdoor engagement (from nature walks to fairy houses), getting teens into nature, creating community gardens, and more.
The conference culminates with David Sobel, author of the recently released Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors and other books about children and nature, a book signing and social hour.
Space is limited. Register today at http://www.nhchildreninnature.org/events.
The New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition is dedicated to fostering experiences in nature that improve physical and emotional health, increase understanding of the natural world, and promote stronger connections to community and landscape. The coalition got its start in 2007, when people from health, education, community planning and environmental sectors came together at a series of events to launch a New Hampshire initiative to reconnect children with nature and encourage children and families to get outside and active in the natural world. Find out more about the Coalition at http://www.NHChildrenInNature.org.
The “Where the Children Play: Discovering, Creating and Using Outdoor Spaces” conference and other N.H. Children in Nature Coalition events are made possible in part by generous contributions from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.