Madison Connecting Children to Nature: Updates!

We have completed multiple steps in our planning process as one of seven cities participating in a national initiative to Connect Children to Nature. A collaboration between multiple community organizations, led by Public Health Madison & Dane County and Madison Parks, the initiative is developing a plan by mid-August that will shape a path toward boosting time all children spend in nature.  The initiative is sponsored by the Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities, Institute for Youth, Education and Families.

What’s up, when. The goals and timeline for this initiative will give you a more detailed sense of what’s up and what’s to come.

On March 5, more than 85 community members joined us at Warner Park to identify assets and barriers to connecting children and families to nature, and we dreamed about possibilities. We have summarized themes from March 5 and will more succinctly summarize results soon. Currently, we are conducting community interviews to diversify perspectives. We’re also expanding our look at assets across age groups and settings.

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More than 85 community members identified assets, barriers and dreams to connecting all Madison children to nature.

Members of the core planning team are scheduled to meet again on May 17 to review data and articulate goals and objectives for an action plan. After that, there will be periodic updates and we’ll call on those of you who indicated interest to in identifying steps toward financial sustainability of a plan.

Bring on the Youth! In June, we will welcome 6 high school student interns through the City of Madison’s Wanda Fullmore Internship program. If you know of students interested in this program, please forward this information to them! When they apply, they can mention interest in the Children & Nature Initiative on their applications. Their role this summer? Gather insights from youth and community members about the value of nature and the “Commons” to community building. They will work on projects with Centro Hispano and Community Groundworks, along with Public Health and Parks, all guided by staff from the Center for Resilient Cities.

Your chance to engage. If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to engage youth or others in the community, here are the instructions! We welcome your contributions!

Also, Please save the date: On Tuesday, July 26, from 4-7pm, we’ll host a public review session of a draft plan. It will be fun, social and lively! Location/details to follow! If you know of someone who you think would like to be included in this initiative, ask them to fill out this online survey.

Many thanks to James Mills for coverage of this initiative! We also wanted to share a link if you didn’t have a chance to hear the WPR interview.

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