Urban Nature Week kicked off with a hike at Leimert Park Beat at Kenny Hahn Recreation Area

Via hike co-sponsor The Children's Nature Institute:

Urban Nature Week is a series of events whose goal is to re-vitalize nature's presence in urban, often under-served, neighborhoods.

Did you know LA has the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city and the largest municipal park and urban wilderness area? During Urban Nature Week, discover these wonderful places and tune-in to the natural world wherever you are in the city!

Walk in the Urban Nature Walk-a-thon and raise funds to help underprivileged children visit and learn about the wonders of nature. All proceeds from Urban Nature Week benefit:

The Children's Nature Institute
Connecting Children (and Adults) to Nature

WHAT we do
Through our hands-on, nature-based environmental education programs tailored specifically to young children, CNI has been connecting children (and adults) to nature in the greater Los Angeles area for over 20 years.

  • We bring nature to children (and adults) with the CNI Wonder Mobile, a traveling science classroom stocked with feathers, bones, taxidermy specimens, sea shells, live animals, and more.
  • We bring children (and adults) to nature with CNI’s Family Nature Walks and Outreach Field Trips, guided excursions at our beaches and mountains, led by CNI-trained Volunteer Walk Leaders.
  • Our award-winning nature activity book, Trails, Tails and Tidepools in Pails, serves as a reference guide for parents and teachers.
  • We close the loop with activities such as the Urban Nature Hunt, which shows families how to find nature in their own neighborhoods and schoolyards.

WHY it's important
“But MY child is going to be a computer programmer/lawyer/pro basketball player. S/he doesn’t need to know the difference between an oak and a sycamore!”

Perhaps not.

But nature-based education isn’t just learning about nature. It’s also learning through nature.

In other words, experiences with nature are used to practice more general academic skills (e.g., reading, math, logical thinking).

  • Click here to see what educational authorities have to say about nature-based, or environment-based, education.
  • Click here for examples of how nature-based activities develop academic skills.

Time spent in nature also has more general benefits, such as better physical and psychological health, and improved behavior.

What’s more, in addition to being a computer programmer/lawyer/professional basketball player, your child is also going to be a consumer, voter, and (hopefully) responsible member of the community. His/her childhood experiences with nature will help shape his/her attitudes toward the environment and the kinds of decisions s/he makes later in life.


Academics Physical and psychological health Behavior and attitudes Disconnection from nature
K-12 students participating in environmental education programs at school do better on standardized tests in math, reading, writing, and social studies. Children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention-deficit disorder (ADD) show reduced symptoms after playing in natural areas. K-12 students participating in environmental education programs at school have fewer discipline problems. Attendance at US National Parks is declining.
Short outdoor education programs improve children’s science test scores. Children and adults find it easier to concentrate and pay attention after spending time in nature. Short outdoor education programs improve children’s cooperation, conflict resolution, self-esteem, peer relationships, and behavior in class. Sales of entry-level outdoor gear (e.g., camping, hiking, fishing equipment) are down
Nature provides a rich source of hands-on, multisensory stimulation, which is critical for brain development in early childhood. Living in “high-nature conditions” buffers children against the effect of stressful life events. People who have positive experiences with nature in childhood care more about the environment as adults. Children are spending far more time in front of computer and TV screens than outdoors.
Environment-based education improves high school students’ motivation to achieve academically. Views of nature reduce stress levels and speed recovery from illness, injury, or stressful experiences. Children who participate in outdoor education programs are more likely to engage in positive environmental behaviors such as recycling. Parents are limiting children’s freedom to play outside.

Children’s play is more creative and egalitarian in natural areas than in more structured or paved areas. Families spend very little time in their own backyards.
      Most children in LA do not have easy access to parks.

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Comment by Heather Lee Presha on October 19, 2011 at 10:20am
An amazing organization!  Thanks for teaching us all about the natural wonders of Kenny Hahn Park at lat week's Urban Hike.

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