Archive for the 'Children in Nature' Category

Overcoming Outdoor Anxieties

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

Eco-therapist, Amy Sugeno. Image from her Facebook page.

This is Passport to Texas

Did you know that spending time outdoors may be the cure for people who are anxious about spending time outdoors?

There are ions that come up out of the soil and tend to have these effects—like calming the nervous system.

Former TPWD biologist, Amy Sugeno is a licensed clinical social worker and eco-therapist. She says medical researchers studied earthing, which involves direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth. Among its benefits, researchers found it produced feelings of well-being.

Something as simple as gardening without gloves. Barefoot walking is kind of becoming more popular. You can just sit in your backyard, take your shoes and socks off, and just put your feet onto the grass, or onto the ground.

Anxiety about spending time outdoors is common.

Back when I was working for Parks and Wildlife and would take groups of children out, it would not be uncommon for a child to say, well wait a minute, are there skunks out here? Are there snakes out here? And I would be surprised because I’m so used to being out in the field. But it would remind me that there are anxieties for people.

Other anxieties develop around whether one has the necessary skills to stay safe outdoors. Eco-therapist Amy Sugeno addresses the topic of outdoor anxiety and how to manage it during a segment in our new long-format podcast called Under the Texas Sky.

Find it at underthetexassky.org or wherever you get your podcasts.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

It’s Fun to Get Wild in Class

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
Project Wild

Project Wild

This is Passport to Texas

The more children learn about nature and wildlife, the greater their potential of becoming good stewards of the land.

That’s the philosophy behind a program from Texas Parks and Wildlife called Project Wild. Project Wild is an environmental education program and conservation education program. The idea behind it is to help young people in grades K-12 learn about wildlife and understand natural resources.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Outreach and Education staff lead workshops that teach adults hands-on activities that incorporate wildlife-related concepts into the teaching of basic learning skills…like math, science, language arts and social studies.

Different types of activities take place at each workshop. Some include quiet activities like drawing, writing and coloring. Some involve activities can be somewhat physical. All activities have an environment theme. Project Wild workshops are available to anyone who works with children. Educators who complete the workshops earn 6 hours TEA-approved CPE and TEEAC Credit.

Find upcoming workshops in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our show.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Get Campy with the Kiddos

Monday, November 26th, 2018
Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

This is Passport to Texas

When Ryan Spencer worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife, he connected people with nature through the Texas Outdoor Family Program.

I work out of a trailer and we go all over the state. It’s a unique office, but I really love it.

Ryan currently manages the Children in Nature Collaborative in Austin. But when he was with Texas Parks and Wildlife, he would…

…go from park to park and show people how to go camping for the first time.

Studies prove that when children spend time outside with their families they are healthier, happier and smarter. In addition, the family bond grows stronger.

They have better family cohesion. So that means, that children who spend more time with their parents outside, become nicer teenagers when they grow up.

Rally the family around outdoor fun and caring for our environment.

We teach about “Leave No Trace” and how to protect the environment while you’re out there enjoying it. We want to give them some skills that they can repeat on their own when they come back from the state park. So, things like cooking on a camp stove; setting up a tent.

To find a Texas Outdoor Family Workshop near you, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Out show receives support from RAM Trucks. Built to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Back to School Week: Texas Children in Nature

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Children connecting with nature. Image: www.texaschildreninnature.org

This is Passport to Texas Back to School Week

Richard Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” in his 2006 book, Last Child in the Woods. Three years later, the Children in Nature Network formed.

And the real work began: to reconnect children and families with nature around the state.

Jennifer Bristol coordinates the Texas Children in Nature program at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

We work with over 500 partner organizations to look at how does the education, the conservation, the built environment, the faith communities, the different youth development communities, health community—all work in tandem to make sure that we are doing our very best to connect more children and families with nature.

Children spend between 7 and 11 hours indoors with media. Health experts attribute this sedentary lifestyle to a rise in childhood obesity and behavior issues.

When they’re not connected with nature, those things are more prevalent. Versus if they’re outdoors and they’re active and they’re enjoying playing in nature—those are healthy life choices that stick with them for their entire life.

Teachers can help improve the future of our youth.

What I talk to teachers about all the time is any lesson can be taught outdoors. It’s very beneficial; they’re more engaged while they’re out there. And most teachers that take that step out the door see good results.

Find classroom resources on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website—click the Education tab. And, the Nature Rocks Texas website points families to nearby nature-based activities.

Our series receives support from RAM Trucks; built to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Equitable Access to Nature for Everyone

Monday, May 28th, 2018
AmeriCorps VISTA, Carli Herz

AmeriCorps VISTA, Carli Herz

This is Passport to Texas

Carli Herz received her Masters’ degree from the School for International Training based in Brattleboro Vermont while working as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Americorps VISTA Volunteer.

I’m in the second year of my program, and I was looking for a hands on practical experience to fulfill the field work portion of my grad program. I was focusing on sustainable development and training. When I was looking for jobs, the Texas Children in Nature position came up, and it fit really well with my long-term career goals and then my short-term goal of finishing grad school. And it [dovetailed] with my personal and philosophical goals of connecting kids to nature; so I ended up down here in Texas.

She’s working with the Texas Children in Nature program to create equitable access to nature for everyone—no matter their socioeconomic status or where they live.

Because we’re finding families that are in the urban core don’t have [easy] access to green spaces like some people might who live in the country, or Hill Country. And it’s not just the access to nature, either. It’s access to the knowledge of nature; being comfortable and confident in going out into nature. So, it’s creating that access not only to being able to get out to these green spaces, but it’s also getting equitable access to the knowledge and the resources so parents and teachers also feel comfortable leading their kinds in these nature experiences.

Find information about the Texas Children in Nature program on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show…. brought to you in part by Ram trucks: built to serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.