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Urban Kids Need Access to Nature

Excerpts from the original article by Common Dreams

by Jackie Ostfeld (Sierra Club, Outdoor Alliance for Kids) and Stacy Stryer (Board Certified Physician, Associate Medical Director for Park Rx)

This can be done at the individual patient level through providers, at the societal level through education and impactful recommendations, and at the federal level through legislation and collaboration.

It is time for healthcare providers and conservation groups to work together to be part of the solution. Happy, healthy children are a shared goal of both groups, and a growing collection of research is showing that access to nature can make a huge difference, particularly in underserved communities. Many medical associations directly related to improving the physical and mental health of patients do not have a policy statement or official recommendation related to outdoor time and barriers to equitable access. In the same vein, many conservation organizations have not fully embraced the role healthcare advocates can play in their overall strategy.


The Des Plaines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America is taking action with new programming and events, from plastic bag recycling to farm-to-table dinners, birdwatching, community drum circles, and more.

A young father with son and daughter bird-watching in an eco-forest camp (Photo: iStock/via Getty Images)


Starting this fall skilled wilderness expert, Ron Nosek will introduce a series of day, weekend, or custom workshops for families and youth to teach them wilderness skills, but more importantly an overriding respect for the earth as our teacher.


All programs are risk-free, informative, beneficial, and fun. Ron truly enjoys and respects the natural world, continually honing his skills, able and willing to share his knowledge with all who are interested. Though you will learn skills that can save your life, this is not a "survival class." You will not eat bugs nor sleep in trees. But you will learn to reconnect to the natural world.


Happy, healthy children are a shared goal, and a growing collection of research is showing that access to nature can make a huge difference, particularly in underserved communities.


If you are interested in the natural world and your relationship to it we invite you to join us. No matter what your decision may all your trails be smooth and your adventures exciting.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Izaak Walton League of America.



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