CONCORD, N.H. — Stephen Kellert and David Sobel, two of the pioneering voices in the national children in nature movement, will be the featured speakers at the New Hampshire Children in Nature conference “Where the Children Play: Discovering, Creating and Using Outdoor Spaces” on October 5, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Cody Outdoor and Conference Center in Freedom, N.H.
“These internationally recognized educators have years of experience studying our human connection with nature,” said Marilyn Wyzga, convener of the N.H. Children in Nature Coalition. “We’re excited to have them share their expertise about ways to strengthen community efforts to reconnect children, youth and families with nature here in New Hampshire.”
If you’re interested in encouraging kids and families to get outside and more involved with the natural world, register for the conference at http://www.nhchildreninnature.org/events. The registration fee is $45, which includes 3 workshop sessions, lunch and refreshments.
Stephen Kellert is a Yale University professor and founding board member of the national Children & Nature Network. He will open the conference with a keynote exploring “The Human Need for Nature, Childhood Development and the Built Environment.” Kellert’s work focuses on understanding the connection between human and natural systems, especially in designing ways to harmonize natural and human built environments. His new film, “Biophilic Design: Architecture for Life,” shows an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work and learn in harmony with nature, and the impacts on health, productivity and wellbeing. His research into the inherent need humans have to affiliate with nature provided some of the foundation for Richard Louv’s groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods. A number of Kellert’s books explore the importance of nature in child development, and the challenge of designing children’s built environments.
During the day, participants will join in several informative workshops and networking opportunities that will provide the resources, tools and knowledge to create communities that encourage everyone to spend more time in nature.
The conference culminates with David Sobel, Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England, cited as a “rock star of environmental education” by Teacher magazine and as one of the 2007 “Daring Dozen” educational leaders in Edutopia magazine. Sobel will read from and sign his newest book, Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors. This memoir of his family’s journey is an inspiring guide for other parents who seek to help their children bond with the natural world. He will tell stories and use his own children’s words to illustrate why the benefits of outdoors nature play often outweigh the perceived risks. According to Richard Louv, “the power of nature in children’s lives is inextricably linked to the power of story, and David Sobel… is a born storyteller.”
The New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition is dedicated to fostering experiences in nature that improve physical and emotional health, increase understanding of the natural world, and promote stronger connections to community and landscape. The coalition got its start in 2007, when people from health, education, community planning and environmental sectors came together at a series of events to launch a New Hampshire initiative to reconnect children with nature and encourage children and families to get outside and active in the natural world. Find out more about the coalition at http://www.nhchildreninnature.org.
The “Where the Children Play: Discovering, Creating and Using Outdoor Spaces” conference and other N.H. Children in Nature Coalition events are made possible in part by generous contributions from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.