Tag Archives: wellness

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!

In Spring 2023, the University of Washington awarded a Tier 3 pilot research grant to Project Nature. Project Nature is currently running in six pediatric practices across Washington State, outside of King County. 


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


  • 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.


  • 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

Covered by Apple Health? Limited Time Offer & Free Memberships

Are your children covered by Molina Health under Apple Health? 

Limited Time Offer!
Complete your child’s well-care visit and earn an increased $50 Gift Card! Your child must have their well-care visit between July 1, 2023, and October 31, 2023 to be eligible for this reward. This reward is available to Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) members who are 6 through 17 years of age.

Molina offers many benefits: 

Financial incentives for completing well-check visits, immunizations, and ADHD follow-up visits. Click the links here (available in Spanish and English) to about the Walmart or CVS gift cards. Apple Health (Medicaid) Member Rewards | Molina Healthcare of Washington

Free annual membership to Boys & Girls Clubs in Washington state

For ages 6-18 get a free annual membership to Boys & Girls Clubs in Washington State? They can have access to:

·    Free club access during open hours; after school, open as late as 7:30 p.m.

·    Summer Club access

·    Free after-school programs focused on healthy lifestyles, fitness, and homework support

·    Most clubs provide a free snack or a meal

·    Some clubs may provide free transportation from your child’s school to the Club

Click here for more information!  

Taking Additional Time For Dinner May Help Children Eat More Healthy Food, Study Suggests

The Washington Post (4/18) reports, “When families took about 10 minutes longer to eat dinner, children ate ‘significantly’ more fruits and vegetables, amounting to an additional seven pieces of fruits and vegetables – one extra portion – a new study by German scientists shows.” Additionally, “having fruits and vegetables available in bite-sized pieces may have made it easier for the children to eat more during the extra time, the researchers said.” The findings were published in JAMA Network Open News.

More green space = healthier communities

Urban communities are healthier the more green space is visible and accessible.  Urban trees are also a way to protect against harsh climate change extremes like higher temperatures, flooding, and air pollution.  Here is information about a program in Seattle: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/wa-seattle-launch-campaign-to-plant-thousands-of-urban-trees/

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
“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….” Click here to learn more about the parks near you.


Fighting Chronic Disease
The Heckman Equation
Posted: May 1, 2014
New research from economist James Heckman and colleagues shows that quality early childhood programs that incorporate health and nutrition help prevent adult chronic disease.