New Book Release

Fed Up with Frenzy, Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World
Susan Sachs Lipman  

"Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World" is a new parenting book from local author Susan Sachs Lipman, the Social Media Director for the Children & Nature Network. The book focuses on nature as a place where families bond and have experiences they might not have in other areas of their lives. 

"My family and I nearly always feel the incredibly calming and bonding effects of nature. Nature works like magic to allow people of all ages to get in touch with the wonder of the world and their own inner compasses. And that, coupled with the downtime that nature provides, tends to allow us to connect more deeply to one another."

"Fed Up with Frenzy" provides the inspiration and resources for getting outside and encouraging play, and simple and engaging activities, games and crafts for families  — easy ideas for getting kids out in nature, for enjoying the time while they’re there, and for encouraging children's own lifetime love and stewardship of the outdoors and its opportunities for wonder and beauty. Learn more

What Gives You Hope These Days?

It's easy to feel scattered during summer days. The perfect antitdote is an article, What Gives You Hope These Days?, by Eric Utne in the Utne Reader, that includes Richard Louv's vision and optimism.

So I ask myself, who’s planting the world of tomorrow today? Then I start noticing that there are a lot of people doing very positive things to help us make it through the Great Disruption, things that could make life on the other side of the coming troubles better than anything we’ve known on this side. 

At the top of my list is Richard Louv, the longtime San Diego newspaperman and author who wrote the best-selling book, The Last Child in the Woods. I recently met Louv while he was on tour promoting his latest and possibly best book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. In the book Louv argues that, “the time has come for us all to re-envision a future that puts aside scenarios of environmental and social apocalypse and instead taps into the restorative powers of the natural world.” In the new, trade paperback edition (it’s not in the hardcover edition that came out last year), Louv offers his vision of what he calls a “new nature movement.” He writes:  

Imagine a world in which all children grow up with a deep understanding of the life around them, where all of us know the animals and plants in our own backyards ... where we feel more alive. We seek a newer world where we not only conserve nature but create it where we live, work, learn, and play. Where yards and open spaces are alive with native species. Where bird migration routes are healed by human care ... where not only public land but private property, voluntarily, garden to garden to garden, is transformed, by us, into butterfly zones and then, across the country, into a homegrown, (coast to coast) national park ... where cities become incubators of bio-diversity ... where pediatricians prescribe nature ... where hospitals and prisons offer gardens that heal ... where cities produce their own energy and much of their own food. Where empty lots become community gardens ... where developers [transform] aging shopping malls into ecovillages ... where streams in cities and countryside are restored — unearthed to the daylight — their natural curves and life restored. A newer world where the point of education is not rote and drill, but wonder and awe ... where teachers take their students on field trips to nearby woods and canyons and streams and shores ... where natural history becomes as important as human history to who we are ... where children experience the joy of being in nature before they learn of its loss ... where, as a species, we no longer feel so all alone. Imagine a world in which our days are lived in the arms of mother nature, of the land and sky, water and soil, wind and sea; a newer world we seek and to which we return. 

Read more articles at the Children & Nature Network's web site.

Neighborhood Summer Camps 

There are some hopeful signs of seeing more children playing in their yards and neighborhoods — in this story, one parent creates a neighborhood camp that inspires other parents to do the same.

In June, Mike Lanza from Playborhood, reported on his fourth annual neighborhood camp in Menlo Park. "We just completed the fourth annual Camp Yale, our neighborhood summer camp. Every year it’s gotten better, and this year, it was downright euphoric. First and foremost, the kids had a wonderful time. Most of them said that to me directly and repeatedly. At least two parents told me this was their favorite camp ever. Beyond words, their actions spoke volumes."

Camp Yale in Menlo Park inspired the Camp Iris Way in Palo Alto, started three years ago by founding parents Diana Nemet and Jennifer Antonow. The intention of Camp Iris Way was to create the opportunity during the first week of summer for the kids in the neighborhood to get to know each other. Diana reported that this year's camp was so easy! There were a total of 73 kids - 43 campers and 19 middle school counselors. The middle school counselors from the neighborhood got together a month before the camp to plan the activities. The night before the first day of camp, the counselors gathered for a BBQ. The relationships and bonding that happens between counselors through the summer camp week often continues into high school.
The camp had group and individual activities — a treasure hunt and pirate day, dyeing camp Tshirts, ping-pong, and lots of other age appropriate activities. There were two simple rules — stay in the camp boundaries and try every activity for at least a few minutes. At the end of the camp, there was a celebratory block party for neighborhood families that Diana describes as a “love fest”. Along with the children forming new relationships with each other, the camp also brings the parents together and creates more community. 

Camp Iris Way in Palo Alto inspired the Montara Street Summer Camp in Montara, reported in the Half Moon Bay Patch:
The weeklong camp is organized by two Montara moms, Sarah Bunkin and Karen Hoffman, who are hoping to encourage more kids to play freely in their Montara neighborhoods. “Our neighborhood kids go to four or five different schools, are busy after school with different activities, and most are not yet allowed to play in areas other than their backyards,” said Bunkin. “At some point, though, as our kids grow up, we would like to see them walking to one another's homes, riding their bikes and exploring their neighborhood.” And that's just what Bunkin and Hoffman have the kids doing all weeklong. After making colorful name tags on the first day, the kids have tried their hand at origami, had room to create an 80 square hopscotch board, played Four Square and Simon Says, took a nature walk, and played with a huge parachute in the middle of the street.

There's still time for you to start a summer camp in your neighborhood — suggestions from the Iris Way Summer Camp are in Mike Lanza's book, Playborhood, Turn Your Neighborhood ino a Place for Play

Children in Nature Report in Parents' Press

Check out the children in nature special report in the July edition of Parents’ Press, an East Bay publication and resource. A full range of articles includes tools for getting teens outside, health tips from a local pediatrician (and “nature champion”), tips for family hikes for “nature newbies”, ideas for embracing nature and slowing down, nature books for children, and 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾. Read more

Saturday's Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs

Saturday, June 14th, 11 am - 1 pm
Marina Green, San Francisco (near Scott Street, along Marina Blvd.)

This past spring, kids from across the country submitted their original backyard game ideas to participate in the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs. Now it’s time to enjoy these games in action!
Six finalists have been chosen and will unveil their original backyard games for the public to play at the Playoffs: 
Dance Tag by Lana, age 7, Peculiar, Mo.

Footloose Derby by Madison, age 7, Port Orange, Fla.

North Pole South Pole by Abigail, age 7, Albany, Ore.

Sidewalk Chalk Adventure by Healy, age 6, Wolfeboro, N.H.

Tortoise & the Hare Ball by Dhani, age 8, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Zombie Hunt by Jack, age 8, Greenfield, Wis.
With the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop, our panel of judges will choose this year’s grand prize winner. Special Guest Judges include: Richard Louv, best-selling author and co-founder of the Children & Nature Network; Jonny Moseley, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in Freestyle Skiing; and Dana King, Emmy Award winning CBS 5 journalist.
Open to the public, the event is free Kids are invited, with their families, to join us for an afternoon of playing the six kid finalists’ inventive backyard games. Learn more

Copyright © 2012 Children in Nature Collaborative, All rights reserved.

Earth Island Institute

The Children in Nature Collaborative is a project of the Earth Island Institute a 501(c)3 corporation.

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