Project Nature

About Project Nature

At BestStart Washington, we know that the earlier children explore nature, the greater the positive effects.

Why Project Nature?

Project Nature, launched in 2018, is an initiative created in collaboration with community partners to empower families and caregivers to explore nature with children.

Time spent outdoors increases children’s physical activity, health, school achievement and overall wellbeing. Young children who are allowed and encouraged to explore the natural world—even with brief, regular exposure—have better knowledge of science and greater empathy for natural places.

Backed by pediatricians, Project Nature empowers families and child caregivers to explore nature with children, with a goal to reach families with the most barriers and greatest need.

Project Nature enables physicians and community organizations to increase family access to nature through well-child visits, online resources and social media.

Project Nature empowers families during well child checks for children ages 1-10 years, tailored to fit into the flow of the office.  Families receive an engaging, age-specific brochure and children are given a fun nature toy.  Both families and pediatric practices have rated Project Nature highly, while families have reported more nature time.

Practices can implement Project Nature!

The University of Washington has funded Project Nature in five pediatric practices across Washington State, outside of King County. 

AT WELL CHILD VISITS, FAMILIES ARE GIVEN:

  • Engaging materials about time outside. Children choose from a variety of nature toys. Access to online content to support more time spent outside.

RESEARCH

  • Families are surveyed about their knowledge of the health effects of nature, and how much time their children spend having nature experiences.
  • Family surveys are conducted before the materials are shared with families, and then again at the conclusion of the project.

CLINIC SUPPORT

  • Virtual orientation & training led by: Dr. Danette Glassy, MD FAAP. & Dr. Pooja Tandoon, MD FAAP
  • Work flow design & Technical Assistance.
  • All patient materials and nature toys will be provided.
  • Monthly coaching calls, data collection. Onsite coaching available.
  • Participating practices will receive up to a one time $500 stipend. Potential for free MOC part 4/CME Cat 1.
  • To learn more, please click here.

“Project Nature materials provide an easy prompt to explore with families creative ways to spend time outside and highlight benefits of doing so. I learned great ideas from these exchanges that I’d then later pass on. It is an energizing space to be in and I’m hopeful will continue to gain momentum and spread.”

Julian Ayer, MD FAAP

To learn more, please contact Edna Maddalena – edna@beststartwa.org