Archive for the 'Children in Nature' Category

Trash to Treasure

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
It's Your World -- let's make it beautiful.

It’s Your World — let’s make it beautiful.

This is Passport to Texas

A project in El Paso, has HS students and the local art community turning roadside trash to treasure.

It’s called It’s Your World, and it’s a really, really cool project.

Nicole Roque, an AmeriCorps volunteer with Texas Parks and Wildlife, based in El Paso, heard about El Dorado HS art teacher, Candace Printz who, with her students, created the project to improve their community.

She started It’s Your World, and what they do is they go into the community and they do cleanups. They adopted a portion of highway and they went out a few months and cleaned it completely. And they kept statistic on what they found, and then they took all this trash back to their school, they cleaned it up, they separated it, and then used it as art supplies.

It’s Your World compliments AmeriCorps’ mission of improving the human condition. Nicole partnered with the project to develop art workshops.

And they’ve created some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. They recently had an art exhibition; I went to go see it, and it floors you to look at some of these really amazing things [made from trash]. And one of my favorite things that Candace told me is they opened their portable where they had all the supplies, and local artists were coming in to collect supplies for their art, and people were fighting over the trash.

One man’s trash…. Learn more about It’s Your World…we have a link to their website at passporttotexas.org.

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

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Some of the students working on art projects made from trash collected along a two-mile stretch of road in El Paso.

It's Your World workshop.

It’s Your World workshop.

 

A Brighter Future Starts Outdoors

Monday, September 18th, 2017
Entrance to Franklin Mountains State Park, and location of an AmeriCorps Vista program.

Entrance to Franklin Mountains State Park, and location of an AmeriCorps Vista program.

This is Passport to Texas

They say you can never go home again. Just don’t tell that to Nicole Roque. After graduating college, she moved back to El Paso; in March, she took a job as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

AmeriCorps is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty.

Headquartered at Franklin Mountains State Park, Nicole says a question she usually gets is:

How are you alleviating poverty [via] parks?

Research supports the theory that people who engage the outdoors 30 minutes to one hour a day are happier, healthier and smarter.

Kids do better in school, they have higher self-esteem. They’re just more confident in general. It’s more than just going out and hiking.

A solid education, a high level of confidence and good self-esteem are all tools that help people to move beyond barriers and to lean into success.

We’re definitely looking to help kids feel more welcome by environmental science careers and STEM careers in general – and strengthen them in that way.

Tomorrow Nicole tells us about a program where El Pasoans turn trash into art while learning about environmental stewardship.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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

Reconnecting Children with Nature

Friday, August 25th, 2017
Nature Rocks!

Nature Rocks!

This is Passport to Texas

In one generation, we’ve seen kids go from days spent outdoors in nature to days spent indoors with media.

Time spent outdoors by ourselves is where we [previous generations] found our creativity. It’s where we became problem solvers. Where we really shared in this long-running dialogue of imaginative play.

Jennifer Bristol, Texas Children in Nature Coordinator says excessive time indoors on these devices does not inspire kids to be healthier, happier and smarter the way nature play does; and parents are taking notice.

They wish that there was a space or a place that their children could experience that same sort of freedom. And disconnect from everything and play and come up with the games and revisit them over and over again.

The Texas Children in Nature program is a grassroots network that connects children and families with nature in Texas. One way is by creating nature play areas in state parks and community parks.

Government Canyon State Natural Area just installed a beautiful natural play area. They also combine it with having a discovery trail; and it’s really scaled to a child’s level. I really love that about it.

Visit the Nature Rocks Texas.org website to find all the parks, nature centers and activities where you can play, explore and connect with nature near you

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

Think Globally, Play Locally

Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Getting kids outdoors makes them healthier, happier and smarter.

Getting kids outdoors makes them healthier, happier and smarter.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Children in Nature is part of the larger – global – children in nature movement.

The concept is that there is a disconnect that has been happening for the past few decades between children and nature.

Texas’ Children in Nature coordinator, Jennifer Bristol, says that disconnect is at the root of various health and wellness issues for our children. It also affects the future of environmental stewardship; but there is reason for hope.

Texas leads the way for the Children in Nature movement within the country. And we’re very excited about the work that we have done throughout the entire state. We have really created some system changes in the way that we think about how do we care for children in our places like schools and daycare centers. How are we helping them have a connection while they’re in those institutions, but also then – how are we looking at their play as a way to also help facilitate that connection with nature?

We’re seeing more nature based play areas at schools and parks. Educators and health care providers promote time in nature as a prescription to help kids become healthier, happier and smarter.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps keep Texas wild with support of proud members across the state. Find out more at tpwf.org

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

TPW Magazine — Nature Play

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
Children with dip  nets in woods at outdoor family workshop in Georgetown near Austin. Image from Texas Children in Nature

Children with dip nets in woods at outdoor family workshop in Georgetown near Austin. Image from Texas Children in Nature

This is Passport to Texas

While all play benefits children, experts agree that nature play is best. Yet, we’ve seen kids disconnect from it.

And that disconnect has resulted in a myriad of different health issues, wellness issues – and then even [affects] becoming the next stewards to take care of our natural spaces and wild things.

Jennifer Bristol coordinates the Children in Nature program. The concept of nature play isn’t new, but the collaboration to ensure children have access to it via a “playground” experience is.

Landscape architects, the childhood development people, and the playground designers all came together and said: ‘Okay, let’s create this space where children can interact with nature, but on a much smaller scale.’

Bristol said studies showed parents like playgrounds because they exist within defined boundaries, and parents can keep an eye on their kids.

Looking at that concept, the playground designer said, ‘Okay, let’s validate what the parents are feeling and that they need, but let’s make the elements that they’re playing with out of natural materials. Or, replicate things that they would find in nature, and use those to help them grow, develop their gross motor skills, problem solve, and then all the other elements when children actually are being active and playing in the outdoors.’

Jennifer Bristol wrote an article about the growth of Nature Play in Texas for the July issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

The NatureRocksTexas.org website lists all the parks, nature centers and activities where you can play, explore and connect with nature near you.

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