City of Madison selected for National Leadership Academy to Connect Children to Nature

Monday, October 5, 2015 – 3:06pm

Madison, WI– The National League of Cities (NLC) and Children & Nature Network have selected Madison to participate in the Connecting Children to Nature Leadership Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah this October. The leadership academy will provide city officials with the skills and knowledge to take up new or expanded leadership roles in improving access to nature in their communities.

Mary Michaud with Public Health Madison & Dane County, Alder Rebecca Kemble, and City Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp visit the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City.
Mary Michaud with Public Health Madison & Dane County, Alder Rebecca Kemble, and City Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp visit the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, City of Madison Alder Rebecca Kemble, Madison Parks Superintendent Eric Knepp, and Public Health Madison & Dane County Policy Director Mary Michaud, will represent Madison. They will learn about promising practices and strategies for connecting children to nature. Participants will work with national experts, attend workshops, conduct field visits and engage in peer learning with city leaders from the seven other cities who have been selected for the leadership academy.

“Kids too often do not have experience associated with this incredible natural world around us,” said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. “This effort to connect kids to nature means there will be less screen time for kids and more time spent exploring the great outdoors.”

Benefits for increasing young people’s access to nature include improved health outcomes, such as lower rates of childhood obesity, as well as stronger academic skills and increased opportunities for social and emotional learning.

“Madison’s participation in the Leadership Academy will help us take advantage of our city’s incredible human and natural assets,” said Alder Kemble. “We look forward to bringing back approaches that benefit youth who don’t normally spend time connecting to nature.”

Following the leadership academy, Madison will receive an invitation to apply for planning and implementation grants to support the city’s programs and initiatives focused on connecting children to nature. Additionally, Madison will have the opportunity to join the new NLC Children and Nature Learning Network, which will provide ongoing opportunities for city leaders to learn and receive support from nationally recognized experts in the field and city peers.

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.

Mary Michaud, 608-280-1461

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