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Showing posts from January, 2023

Are youth getting enough nature in their lives?

By Nicole Pokorney Increased screen time and the lack of outside play and exercise can have detrimental effects on the health of children and youth. We also know that having a connection with nature has proven to have positive benefits for mental, physical, and social needs of children. Spending time in nature allows us to restore our bodies, minds, and spirits, and also has clinical health advantages. However, is there a magic dosage of nature we all need to experience these benefits and if so, what is it? Tanya Denckla Cobb, from the University of Virginia, developed the idea of the Nature Pyramid, where we experience various amounts of spending time in nature and to different degrees. In 2012, Tim Beatley, Founder and Executive Director of the Biophilic Cities Project , turned the concept into a graphic depiction and gave further explanation in his article, Exploring the Nature Pyramid . The pyramid has been replicated through the years by various organizations and with a variety o

Winter is here - let’s get outdoors for learning!

By Rebecca Meyer This winter is proving to be a classic - lots of snow, ice, and lately slush. Now some may not be enjoying the onslaught of snow received in many communities, but most of Minnesota looks like a winter wonderland. This winter wonderland presents an excellent opportunity to engage in the outdoors , especially through learning experiences in our youth programs. Winter can truly be one of the most magical seasons for learning outdoors. And the outdoors, in my opinion, is one of the greatest learning environments, especially in winter as we may experience an otherworldly environment. Winter blankets the Earth and opens up a different type of experience than summer. There are wonderful opportunities for outdoor science and other types of learning in the winter. It becomes a deeply sensory experience: observation of animal signs marked in the snow, whether it be sets of tracks, scat or a bedding place for overnight; listening to birds or wind moving through tree branches or,

Tips and conversation starters for talking to youth about suicide

By Kate Walker When someone in your community attempts or dies by suicide, everyone can be affected. Young people may have strong feelings and need your help understanding them. Cari Michaels and I assembled these practical tips and conversation starters for parents, educators and other caring adults when talking with youth about suicide. How to approach the conversation When talking to children about suicide, start by asking them what they know. During the conversation, be sure to ask how your child is feeling, listen to the answers carefully, and encourage questions. Be honest with your responses and encourage help-seeking if needed. It’s also key to keep your responses developmentally appropriate. Young children need simple information balanced with reassurance and ideas about how to cope. Encourage all questions and feelings. Do not give graphic details. Focus instead on how to cope with feelings of sadness, loss and anger. Pre-teens may want concrete information. Start by aski