Tag Archives: nature

BestStart Washington/Project Nature’s Commitment to Breaking Down Barriers Caused by Racial Inequality

BestStart Washington is committed to ensuring that all children and youth in Washington state  have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We recognize that entrenched structural racism is an unacceptable barrier to child health and potential.

In our pediatric practices, we see first-hand the negative health outcomes that arise from racism including increased infant mortality, low birth weight, increased incidence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), decreased school readiness, higher school drop-out rates, and mental health problems stemming from chronic stress. We agree with our partners in King County that racism is a public health crisis with many families of color lacking sufficient access to health care and other resources to support child health and resiliency. As pediatric leaders, we have a responsibility to do much more in our practices and in our communities to end structural racism and combat its effects on child health.

We have found overwhelming evidence that nature access is a critical resource that promotes stronger physical and mental health outcomes for children. We launched Project Nature with the knowledge that children today spend less and less time exploring and moving in outdoor nature. For children and families of color this nature gap is especially stark. Historically, white-controlled systems of power—like segregation and red-lining—deliberately denied access to green spaces, parks, and pools for persons and communities of color. Constraints of money and time are also barriers for some families, especially when paired with the reality that greenspaces and parks can be severely limited in underserved communities.

We pledge to listen to families of color. With Project Nature, we are committed to building communication with black, brown, Native American and traditionally under-represented minority communities. In several studies, we have surveyed parents to ask them how often they are able to connect their children with the outdoors and what barriers they face. We recognize that fear can come with venturing out in nature as a person of color. We offer nature play kits and information to families to encourage nature contact. We are creating partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations who are determined to create a reality where a child’s race or ethnicity will never prevent them from experiencing the joy and good health that time outdoors can bring.

Our work with BestStart Washington and Project Nature is just one small part of our larger commitment. We look forward to working with our health care colleagues in counties and in diverse communities across the state to continue to brainstorm, create, and weave together a fabric of solutions that ensures optimal health and developmental outcomes for all children in Washington.

Julian Ayer, MD, FAAP

Danette Glassy, MD, FAAP

Beth Harvey, MD, FAAP

Kimberlee Hauff, MD FAAP

Edgar K. Marcuse, MD, MPH, FAAP

Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP

 

Project Nature

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Playing and exploring outdoors can improve a child’s overall health and wellbeing.  But not all children and families have access to nature​. ​Racism, economic inequality, and lack of awareness are some of the barriers that impact nature contact for children.

Project Nature wants to break down these barriers to connect all children with better health.​ We seek to​ ​engage children early in life with advice and tools from health professionals in the clinic and ​resources online​.​ ​Project Nature also conducts public health research projects to more fully understand the health benefits of nature contact and deepen its knowledge of conditions that hold families back.

What is Project Nature?

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

Our approach includes:

  • Tools for outdoor play and exploration and information physicians can share in wellchild visits to help parents and caregivers familiarize kids with nature and build excitement for the outdoors.
  • Web-based resources such as outdoor places and activities finders, helping parents and caregivers discover nature across Washington and just outside their doors.
  • Social media engagement for parents, caregivers and Project Nature partners to share information and build community.

Project Nature will gather research to help support this work and spread the benefits for children through its network of partners.

 

 

Park Systems in the 100 Largest U.S. Cities Rated

The Trust for Public Land Releases 2016 ParkScore® Index, Rating Park Systems in the 100 Largest U.S. Cities
The Trust for Public Land
Posted: June 20, 2016
“ParkScores are based on three factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile); Park Size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Facilities and Investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation & senior centers….”

Link

Green Fingers Grow Green Minds
Ecologist
Posted: October 31, 2013

“If you listen to nature, you are so inspired; you don’t have to listen – the garden encourages you to listen, to all of the wildlife … the sounds of the birds” says Eloise, 13…”