Formal Partnership Established Among National, State, and Local Park Organizations

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Formal Partnership Established Among National, State, and Local Park OrganizationsLooking for a way to improve your child’s mental and physical health? Look no further than your nearest park or natural area.

“Numerous studies conclude that time spent in outdoor settings decreases stress, inspires creativity, promotes social development, and encourages physical fitness,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “A new partnership among the National Park Service, the National Association of State Park Directors, and the National Recreation and Park Association was recently formed to develop and promote programs and policies in parks and other areas that connect children with nature.”

The partnership’s website, www.nps.gov/ChildrenInNature/BestPractices, contains a searchable database of approximately 450 outdoor activities compiled from hundreds of national, state, and local parks and program offices.

“This easy-to-use website contains an extensive list of programs about a wide variety of subjects including archeology, art, prairies, pioneers, critters, and camping,” said Joe Elton, President of the National Association of State Park Directors. “Nature is an amazing classroom, and these creative programs make it fun for children to learn about and connect with the world around them.”

“The way children understand and experience their natural world has changed radically over the past several decades,” said Lois Finkelman, chair of the National Recreation and Park Association Board of Trustees. “Our three groups will work together to expand recreational opportunities and natural resource education for children and families. In addition, we hope to engage other federal, state, local, tribal, and non-government partners in the effort.”

Leaders of the three conservation organizations signed a partnership declaration which contains an action plan to increase public awareness of local and national natural resources.