At Texas Children in Nature we emphasize the benefits of a daily connection with nature for kids and families. But there is something extra special about a family campout during the summer in Texas. For some, that might sound like a hot, buggy proposition. Being prepared can mitigate...

June is Great Outdoors Month. Enrich your relationship with nature and decide to go 30 Days Wild this month with your entire family. Follow us on Facebook for ideas of things to do and places to explore.

Last month, I challenged myself to participate in the 30 Days Wild...

Native species vs. invasive species is an important topic among environmentalists, ecologists, wildlife biologists, in schools, etc. As a matter of fact, invasive species was the current event topic for the 2016 Envirothon competition. What are native species and invasive species? Why...

Wake up. Eat breakfast. Watch the news. Watch the traffic report. Become part of the traffic report. Work. Eat lunch. Work. Hope traffic isn’t too bad on the way home. Arrive home later after multitudes of traffic. Eat dinner. Hang out with friends. Come home. Pet dog. Go to bed. Repeat...

For those who don’t know me, and I imagine that’s the majority who are reading this, I am Claire Blakely and I’m the new Texas Children in Nature VISTA ( Volunteers in Service to America ) at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

I’m one of those rare unicorns you hear about but never see...

The Texas Legislator only meets once every two years from January to May. They are in session right now making decisions on a great many things that will impact the daily lives of children and nature. While Texas Children in Nature does not specifically endorse any one specific bill or ideology...

Calling all birders and nature enthusiasts young and old! It's time to start thinking about forming your youth, mixed age, or adult teams for the 2017 Birding Classic! Join more than 100 teams competing all over the state and enjoy one of the best nature experiences in Texas: the spring...

The TCiN Outdoor Activity of the Month is Biking:

Biking is a great way to be active in the outdoors for the entire family. Hitting the trails is easier than ever for all skill levels with so many all-weather-trails in most urban areas. All-weather-trails have a more durable...

As part of your New Years Resolution to be healthier in 2017, make sure you include plenty of time in nature. Research shows that spending time in nature is good not just for physical health, but mental health as well. So rather then spending a fortune on a gym membership, and hours...

Texas Children in Nature has a lot to be thankful for this year. As a network we have grown to over 365 partners who reached just over 3.1 million youth and 7 million adults with their outdoor opportunities.

Each one of our partners works tirelessly to provide quality nature-...

I fondly remember when my grandfather gave me my first Swiss Army knife for Christmas. That afternoon we collected a few sticks and he shared the whittling techniques that his father had imparted to him. There wasn’t s stick in the yard that was safe as I spent hours trying to craft the...

It’s not every day that normal people like me get to spend time in a state park, although boy do I wish I could. The state of Texas has a total of 95 state parks and each one of them is an individual treasure. This summer I had the incredible opportunity to join a group called the Texas...

It’s not every day that normal people like me get to spend time in a state park, although boy do I wish I could. The state of Texas has a total of 95 state parks and each one of them is an individual treasure. This summer I had the incredible opportunity to join a group called the Texas...

It’s that time of year again. Summer is ending and it’s time for millions of kids across Texas to head back to school. While parents are busy collecting school supplies, and squeezing in last minute summer adventures, teachers are working hard on establishing lesson plans for the year...

Here are 8 ways that parks and their features can help improve you and your child’s health according to The Trust for Public Land :

1) Parks get you moving - 95% of US adults, 92% of adolescents, and 58% of children aren’t getting the recommended amount of daily physical...

A few years ago , I got my first introduction to backpacking in the Rocky Mountain Range of Colorado. The big sweeping views and lush landscape gave me a portrait of nature that I had never seen firsthand before. As a Texan, the Colorado beauty absolutely blew me away. Never before had...

Leaders from the health, education and conservation community gathered this week at the Boggy Slough Conservation Area to discuss the formation of a Pineywoods Children in Nature Collaborative. Facilitated by Jennifer Bristol, State Coordinator for the Texas Children in Nature Network...

I was inspired by the talk by Angela Hanscom at the Children & Nature Network International Conference and took that inspiration to turn it into action. Angela presented her research behind why kids fidget and have trouble paying attention in class and how active, outdoor play can...

"Children today spend an average of 7.5 minutes outside for every 7 hours they spend online."

Just let that sink in.

This statement by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods , silenced the packed room at the opening ceremony of the Children & Nature...

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is for your family to go on as many nature adventures as possible during the Texas Nature Challenge .

Take your family on a journey this spring and summer to some of the coolest outdoor sites in Texas. Each site participating in TNC...

Texas Parks and Wildlife uses many tools to tell the story of our cultural and natural heritage. One of those tools is Passport to Texas Radio hosted by Cecilia Nasti. The radio show covers a number of topics, including why it is important to connect children with nature to be healthier...

Today, children spend between seven and eleven hours a day indoors sedentary with media and only minutes a day playing outdoors.

Hundreds of Texas Children in Nature (TCiN) partner organizations across the state are dedicated to changing this trend by saving children from “...

The Million Mile Month is a catalyst to help get folks outside and active.​ Ideal for organizations ​looking for a free, proven, and easy to administer program to engage the health and wellness of your employees​/members ​this April​.​

Please consider participating in the...

Let's Take a Bike Ride

Biking is a great way to get out and enjoy nature as a family and Texas has miles of easy to advanced trails to explore. Whether peddling down an urban bike path or exploring a single track on a mountain bike, biking offers a different perspective of...

INTRODUCING FAMILIES AND YOUTH TO THE OUTDOORS - I'm in Iowa this morning listening to a local television report about the drugs families use for attention deficit disorders , etc. and how most have many unintended consequences. No kidding! I'm certainly glad that my dad, a physician of...

The following is a guest blog post by Jaime González, conservation education director at the Katy Prairie Conservancy. The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving an ecologically vital tallgrass prairie and associated wetlands area on Houston’s far...

As we close the year for 2015 and look forward to 2016, it is important to reflect on the positive impact achieved by Texas Children in Nature, the regional collaboratives and our partners. There is no way to capture all the many great achievements, but hopefully this overview will give...

Sometimes it is not possible to pack up an entire school or even grade level and take them on a camping adventure. Issues like transportation, volunteers, time, tests and a million other factors can be barriers to schools creating opportunities for their students to have a camp out. So...

Every afternoon around 4, Sarah Rice and her toddler Finley have “outdoor happy hour.” They might noodle around a bit in the backyard, playing in the kiddie pool or collecting pecans. Or they might hang out in the front yard, chatting with passers­by and taking note of any planes that...

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month . According to the Center for Disease Control 1 in 5 children are obese which can lead to other serious health issues such as diabetes, heart conditions, and emotional problems like depression. This is a complex epidemic that involves many...

Announcing our Fall 2015 Videoconferencing schedule & Youth Distance Learning is available as On-demand Webinars and via Videoconferencing. Youth On-demand Webinars are completely FREE, available 24/7, designed for grades 1-6, Science TEKS aligned, and only require a quick...

Teachers have the ominous task of educating youth about subjects like science, history, or math and somehow make each lesson come to life so the student connects with the information. Research shows that when children learn and play outdoors they preform better in school, are healthier...

A few years ago I had a friend tell me that the day care her child went to had removed all the trees from the play area. When she asked the administrators why they had removed the trees, they explained to her that they were a hazard because the kids kept playing with the sticks. My...

The population of Texas is as diverse as the natural resources and beauty of the state. The Texas conservation community does a great job with connecting youth and families from all walks of life with nature in their programing and by creating access to nature. However we do a less...

This April I attended the C&NN Conference- 2015 in Bastrop, TX. It was an incredible opportunity and I learned valuable information that was in fact, almost overwhelming there was so much to absorb and experience over three short days.

However, as I look back on it and think...

After a year and a half of outreach work in Houston neighborhoods in collaboration with other state park interpreters, I attended the Children in Nature Conference looking for ideas. Even in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, nature is not some faraway place. It’s all around,...

“More than 100 years ago, Frederick Law Olmsted conducted a study of how parks help property values. From 1856 to 1873 he tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to Central Park, in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. He found that over the 17-year period...

At Camp Fire Central Texas , I have been volunteering full-time as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in area of fundraising and development. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, my aim is to increase access to Camp Fire’s nature-based and outdoor programs, particularly for low-...

All too often, people leave workshops or conferences with ambitious goals of changing the world. Fist pumping, hearts beating, rainbows, lucky charms and all of that fluffy happy stuff.

Then……..they get back home or to their place of work and the world catches up to them and...

As a career biologist, I consider myself someone who is pretty aware of what’s going on in the natural resource field. As a grown man who thought he still experienced nature with a child-like wonder, I thought I had a handle on how to connect kids to the outdoors. Then I met Rusty...

HOUSTON (April 28, 2015) – Frostwood Elementary School students today planted a piece of history on the Tiger Prairie, the school’s own on-campus pocket prairie, which was developed with the assistance of the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC) Prairie Builder Schools program. They were...

We need wildness. Countless generations have swapped stories over the campfire and stared up at the starry night sky. Yet playful, natural childhoods and direct experiences in the wild are declining as our population becomes increasingly urbanized and wired. Set among the Lost Pines of...

On April 9, 2015, the Texas Conservation Corps at American YouthWorks (TxCC) worked alongside 40 volunteers from around the world who were in Bastrop, Texas for the Children and Nature Network Conference- 2015. This was the conference’s community service project, and after a few days in...

AUSTIN — This year has been a momentous year for the children and nature movement. Ten years after publication of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder , and five years after the establishment of the Texas Children in Nature...

“Every Kid In A Park” Initiative Addresses Problems of Inactivity and Obesity, Promotes Health and Learning

AUSTIN — A new National Parks Foundation initiative announced Feb. 19 by the White House emphasizes goals shared by a growing Texas coalition of partners with chapters in...

Texas Children in Nature and the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin where recently featured on News 8 in Austin as part of their Fit Kids February initiative. The short piece does a good job with reflecting on the need to get kids outdoors and how families can find green spaces...

Two years ago San Antonio Natural Area Education Coordinator Peggy Spring had a dream of starting an educational program where toddlers love and experience nature in the first years of life. We then started the Starting Out Wild (SOW) concept with using the Growing Up WILD (GUW)...

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself, right?! It seems in this day in age, as technology becomes more and more intertwined in our lives, we forget, dare I say fear, the great outdoors. The great unknown. There is so much beyond our front doors, beyond our screens, if we only took a...

Splashing in a puddle. Building a snowman. Making a wish on a dandelion. Building a fort in the woods. These are all moments most of us probably remember from childhood.

Unfortunately, memories like these are growing increasingly foreign in today’s children. They are trading...

Most people are familiar with the YMCA's role in youth development through popular programs such as swim lessons, youth sports, afterschool care and summer day camp. But for over 100 years, the Y has also played an active role in helping kids and families connect with nature.

...

Starting a Family Nature Club is a fun way for families to connect and find new ways to explore in nature. When families share the responsibility of finding places to go, programs to try out and events to attend, they can spend more time enjoying being outside together and less time...

Texas Children in Nature is a network of non-profits, government agencies, businesses and concerned individuals that are dedicated to connecting children and families with nature. When you partner with TCiN or one of our regional collaboratives, you are connecting with over 300...

The Texas Nature Challenge connects kids and families with fun outdoor adventures to make memories that will last a lifetime.

The challenge features family activities at nature centers, museums, gardens, or local and state parks designed to encourage families to explore and...

When Katherine and Lucy were challenged with coming up with a product for Lemonade Day , they immediately went to Katherine’s refrigerator. They found their mother’s sugar water that she always kept on hand to fill the hummingbird feeders for the spring migration. The girls thought it...

Outside time is so important in getting to know ourselves. We all need that quiet time of calming introspection; time alone without distraction doing what comes naturally. Time alone with our thoughts, time to learn and really get to know ourselves. When we allow kids to have...

The fall of 2013 saw two major wins for the improvement of children’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines on managing children and adolescents’ media time. Their research showed that children and teens are using media more than originally thought and the...

When I was a child my parents subscribed to National Geographic and I always looked forward every month to see what new wonders of the world they would surprise and delight us with in their latest issue. We kept those magazines for years and used them for all sorts of homework and art...

HISTORICALLY, FREE spontaneous play was tempered with physical work and set in the fields, barnyards, streams, countryside, and vacant city lands. Today, children are abandoning outdoor explora­tion, free play, and learning in nature for sedentary cyber play, junk food, and the...

As environmental educators, and outdoor enthusiasts we can sometimes forget how even the simplest of outdoor activities can be intimidating for parents who were not raised outdoors. I’ve worked with many adults who are afraid to leave their tents at night, and others who mistake...

The importance of nature-based play has gradually become forefront in an array of research fields. From the more obvious physical benefits to the complex mental benefits, nature has proved time and again to be the cure-all for a variety of common ailments. Doctors are even beginning to...

Clearly there are physical, psychological, and emotional benefits to being out in the field, yet today fewer and fewer families are spending time outdoors. Let’s explore how to ignite the desire to be outdoors through fishing.

The world is different today and to some extent so...

So far 2013 has been a great year for spreading the message that children need nature and nature needs children. Three great articles came out during the Spring of 2013 that touch on how important it is to connect children with the outdoors so that they will learn to care for the...

The days of parents saying “just go outside and play” sadly are slipping away. Often kids and parents don’t feel confident enough in the outdoors and are afraid to explore. Instead kids spend an average of 7.5 hours per day , that’s over 50 hours per week, with technology. A child is 6...

This article was published in the Austin American Statesman and re-posted on the C&NN website:

Richard Louv confesses one thing right away: He’d rather fish than write.

Which is appropriate, considering that Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” (with an...