Check out this new program launched by the Colorado State Library, local library systems, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to encourage people to visit state parks and get outdoors: patrons can check out a backpack containing maps, brochures, binoculars, and other materials including a park pass. The pilot project is starting now with 8 libraries in Colorado who received two “Check Out State Parks” passes along with the backpacks running until March 31, 2016. The full program will launch to all 260 libraries in the state April 1, 2016. Find out more here or click the image below!
Nature Explore is a research-based collaborative program of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation to encourage and assist children and families in developing a joy for and engagement with the natural world daily. The offer workshops, design consultations and hands-on, field-tested resources to schools, nature centers, national forests, early childhood programs etc. There is even a network of certified Nature Explore Classrooms created throughout the United States in place of typical playgrounds. Be sure to check out their Environmental Action Toolkit of resources too. Listen to this PSA to hear more:
If you missed the article in American Libraries Magazine in March/April 2011, check it out online or better yet read about it at http://www.natureexplorium.org/ . Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) in Centereach, NY, created a 5000 sq ft outdoor learning space adjacent to the library, in collaboration with the Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids (LINCK) – a group of early childhood, museum, and library professionals who actively promote the development of parks, outdoor classrooms, and community places for nature education. MCPL’s Nature Explorium which opened on April 20, 2011, contains a variety of areas, all geared toward connecting children to a different aspect of nature. Some fun aspects include climbing/crawling area, messy materials area, building area, nature art area, music and performance area, planting area, gathering/conversation place, reading area, and water feature, a Book Path where donors select their favorite children’s book or quote, a Friends Bench displaying native Long Island animals and READ plaques displaying donors’ favorite quotes about Reading, Environment, Adventure, and Discovery. Check out their array of workshops and offerings in the areas of Climb It, Dig It, Plant It, Read It, Create It, Play It, and Splash It!
Check out the photos if you can’t visit the area, and better yet, brainstorm a way to create this type of natural learning space at your library!
Research show children of the current generation in America are growing up disconnected from nature. And June has now been proclaimed National Great Outdoors Month by President Obama. The National Wildlife Federation has a program called Green Hour: a parent’s place for nature, play and learning, with the idea that by “giving our children a Green Hour a day — a bit of time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world– we can set them on the path toward physical, mental, and emotional well-being” The site offers ideas, activity suggestions (including option for weekly activity podcasts on the go), a community corner for exchange of ideas, a parents guide on how to engage kids with nature, and a green hour blog with lots of ideas, news and information. You can also connect with them on Flickr, facebook and twitter.
Promote this idea and great resource on your library web site or with your staff and perhaps offer some outdoor activities @ your library.