This year the Canadian Parks Council produced, “The Nature Playbook”, a fantastic resource for integrating nature into health, play, and physical activity. According to the Playbook, “Everyone involved in this project is dedicated to connecting a new generation to Nature”. Research has shown that time spent in nature has a variety of positive effects on the individual, for example: Reduced stress, improved immune system, lower blood pressure, stable mental health, ADHD symptom prevention, positive mindset, increased calmness, and disease prevention.
“The Nature Playbook” is part of larger global initiative, the #NatureForAll campaign, that is working to make natural places more accessible for all people. It is important to note that not all of these places need to be remote wilderness areas; benefits from nature are attainable just through spending a small amount of time at a local urban park or even gardening in the backyard.
The Playbook presents the following Seven Strategies that outline ideas for introducing people to nature and show that the benefits of nature are available through a variety of experiences.
#1 Bring Children into Nature at an early age
#2 Find and share the fun in Nature
#3 Use the urban gateway to Nature
#4 Embrace Technology
#5 Share cultural roots and ancestry in Nature
#6 Seek out diverse partnerships
#7 Empower a new generation of leaders.
Each of the strategies goes into detail and provides examples of activities and programs that support the strategy. Follow these links to visit The Nature Playbook Website or download the PDF of the document.
The Explore Fund Grant is a grant program funded by the North Face. According to the Explore Fund website the grant’s purpose is to financially support 501(c)3 nonprofits that work to:
- Provide participants experiences that nurture an enduring appreciation of the outdoors.
- Support projects that protect the environment through environmental stewardship.
- Use outdoor exploration as the catalyst for positive personal or societal change, such as increasing personal resilience, improving opportunities for life success and future engagement in conservation activities.
- Encourage participants to try new outdoor activities that are core to The North Face and our passion for outdoor exploration and adventure, including camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, snowboarding, yoga, running and mountain biking.
In the past the grant has been focused on programs that encouraged or facilitate outdoor experiences. This year the grant managers decided to include programs that encourage environmental stewardship, protection, and responsibility as well. One of the goals for the Explore Fund Grant is to “increase diversity and access to underrepresented populations in the outdoors.”
Many of the programs that the National Recreation Foundation helps fund fit well within one or both of these categories. The NRF is dedicated to enhancing the role of recreation as a positive force in improving the quality of life of youth, through investing in recreation programs directed at those who are economically, physically or mentally disadvantaged. There seems to be quite a bit of common ground especially when considering the NRF’s current trajectory; focusing on programs that encourage physical activity and outdoor recreation
The North Face Explore Fund Grant is accepting applications from February 22 – April 5, 2017. Follow the Link below to read more about the grant or to submit an application.