Grants Sow Seeds for a Greener Future
This follows the lead of the Sec. of the Interior, who noted at a "Preparing Youth for the Green Economy" Panel of the Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference, (that occurred in the same time frame as last month's US Play Coalition Conference) "that American children spend an average of only four minutes a day outdoors, despite studies showing that a wide range of developmental factors are enhanced when children spend more time outdoors."
Secretary Rodriguez pointed out that the Interior Department is the only cabinet level office that has an agency dedicated solely to youth activities. She also noted her department, like many in the federal government, has an aging workforce, 40 percent of whom may retire in the next decade.
Thus, there is an urgent need and excellent opportunity to bring younger people into public service who are committed to the development of the green economy. “Youth in the Great Outdoors” is one such Interior program that had 4,000 young people hear about ways to reconnect with nature in 2010.
Among other developments from the Conferences: parks and playgrounds being recrafted/designed to make them more inviting for young children, which encourages families to engage more outdoors.
The Three Direct Grant Recipients were:
Olga S. Jarrett, Georgia State University, -
"Recess: What We Know and What We Need to Learn.”
Matthew T. Bowers and B. Christine Green, University of Texas - Austin,-
"Deconstructing the Sport Experience: Understanding Variations in Context."
Matthew Browning, Yale University-
"Measuring Possible Concerns about Bringing Children to Nature: A Study of People's Attitudes and Ecological Impacts from Unstructured Play."
Makes one wonder -- will there be more than a "nature deficit" to eventually pay if we aren't encouraging young people to spend increased hours engaged, playing and otherwise developing in natural, out-of-the-big-box ways?