Nature ROCKS!

NatureRocks.org

In the past several weeks, the nation’s leaders in bringing families together launched a new initiative for families called Nature Rocks. The combined effort of REI, The Nature Conservancy, The Children & Nature Network, and ecoAmerica, Nature Rocks is a national campaign created to engage, inspire and empower parents to play, explore and enjoy quality family time in nature, for happier, healthier and smarter children.

In light of the economy, the campaign focuses on free (or inexpensive), at/near-home activities that are fun for the whole family and great for family bonding. At www.naturerocks.org, parents can easily find over 100 fun, easy, inexpensive, interesting and safe activities based on specific criteria including location, kids’ ages and time available.

Nature Rocks has been developed by the nation’s leaders in bringing families and nature together — REI (the country’s premier outdoor outfitter), The Nature Conservancy (the world’s largest environmental organization), The Children & Nature Network (co-founded by Richard Louv, author of best-seller “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit-Disorder” ) and ecoAmerica.

Research proves that kids who spend time in nature are happier, healthier and smarter.

  • Happier: Green plants and play yards reduce children’s stress. (Children and Nature 2008: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World, 2009).
  • Healthier:  Research suggests that green exercise may be better at improving a number of health indicators — including blood pressure and mental acuity — than the same amount of energy expended in an indoor gym (R. Louv’s “Field Notes from the Future” blog, 2009).
  • Smarter:  Free play in natural areas enhances children’s cognitive flexibility, problem-solving ability, creativity, self-esteem, and self-discipline (Children and Nature 2008: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World, 2009).

Sample Nature Rocks activities are:

  • Nature Scavenger Hunt: Visit your local park, nature center or forest armed with a Scavenger Hunt list that you’ve downloaded from www.naturerocks.org spend time as a family searching for specific items found in nature.  You can also do this in your own      backyard!
  • Natural Art:  Gather sticks, leaves, flowers and sand — or any other item you find outdoors — and create a variety of beautiful and fun art objects.   These creations make great gifts or holiday decorations.
  • Backyard Mapping Adventure:  Be an explorer in your own neighborhood!  Create a backyard or neighborhood map.  Draw paths, trees, plants, animals and more.

NATURE ROCKS: INSPIRING AND EMPOWERING PARENTS TO TAKE THEIR FAMILIES TO PLAY, EXPLORE AND ENJOY QUALITY TIME IN NATURE FOR HAPPIER, HEALTHIER AND SMARTER CHILDREN

Available now, the free 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide — see the link below...
Empowering Families to Plan and Enjoy Inexpensive Family Vacations Close to Home

WASHINGTON, DC — May 27, 2009 — Today four of the nation’s leaders and experts in bringing families and nature together, The Nature Conservancy, REI, Children and Nature Network, and ecoAmerica, announced the launch of Nature Rocks — an initiative created to inspire and empower parents across the country to take their families to play, explore and enjoy quality time in nature.

With summer fast approaching, parents are now focused on planning fun, family activities “€ determining the best activities to keep kids and parents busy and entertained during the summer months.  Nature Rocks is an ideal solution to this need, as it has been designed to ensure that all families — regardless of budget, kids’ ages or experience — can plan affordable and fun activities in nature that encourage family bonding and nurture happier, healthier and smarter children.

As part of its efforts to empower parents to take their kids outside, Nature Rocks introduces its 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide.  Available at www.naturerocks.org, this free Guide provides parents and caregivers with information and tools to enjoy no- or low-cost summer vacations in nature that are close to home.

”The benefits of nature for children are fundamental.   We have seen tremendous growth in the movement to get children back outside, as parents realize these benefits for their children, and themselves, and spread the word,” said Richard Louv, co-founder of The Children & Nature Network and author of the best-seller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder.  “And, as families look for lower cost vacation20options, we hope they will discover that nature offers them a personal stimulus package — the joy and cost-effectiveness of summer getaways in nearby nature — saving money while improving the physical and emotional well-being of their children.”

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”Nature Rocks really speaks to our passion of getting families to recreate together outside,” said Sally Jewell, president and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI).  “By combining efforts with the other organizations behind Nature Rocks, we’re able to make a difference and improve the lifestyles of American families by making it easy and fun to get moving and get outdoors.”

Whether seeking outdoor activities at local sites such as parks and campsites, or looking for new activities to keep out-of-school kids active in backyards and neighborhoods, the 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide offers information and solutions for all families, including those new to spending time outdoors.  Additionally, the Nature Rocks website has more than 100 activity recommendations, as well as user-friendly nature finder and social networking tools to assist families in implementing their own Nature Staycations this summer.

”The Nature Conservancy works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters, and we are dedicated to supporting conservation work that will not only enrich the natural world, but also better our health and our lives,” said M. Sanjayan, Lead Scientist at The Nature Conservancy.  “Now, working on the Nature Rocks initiative, we’re able to help the next generation better their health and reconnect with nature.”

”As a working mom with two young children, I appreciate useful ideas that improve my and my family’s lives,” said Meighen Speiser, Vice President of Marketing for ecoAmerica.  “Like all parents, I want what is best for my kids.  We enjoy fun and relaxing quality time together.  The Nature Rocks website offers loads of easy-to-use tools, tips and over 100 fun activities like nature art, weekend camping, hiking at a nearby park or an impromptu neighborhood nature scavenger hunt.  The added bonus is that these activities are either inexpensive or free.”

2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide
The 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide provides parents with a useful tool to plan a range of close-to-home activities, complete with great starter ideas and suggestions for families to use during their summer holiday.  The Guide has been developed to be helpful to all families across the country — regardless of where they live, their kids’ ages, time available, or familiarity with nature, or if they want to do an activity outside or bring nature indoors.  The 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide is available for free at www.naturerocks.org.

About Nature Rocks
Nature Rocks helps to bring families and nature together by offering parents information, inspiration and tools to encourage and empower them to take their families into and enjoy nature.  This is an ongoing initiative an d the website and all related materials will be updated frequently to provide families with the most current tools and information to connect with nature.  To learn more about Nature Rocks, please visit www.naturerocks.org, support us on Facebook at facebook.com/nature+rocks or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/naturerocks.

About The Partners
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading conservation organization working in all 50 states and more than 30 countries to protect ecologically important lands and waters for people and nature.& nbsp; The Conservancy has the support of 1-million+ members and has protected more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide.   Nature.org

REI
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.  Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality outdoor equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.  Rei.com

The Children & Nature Network
The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature.  The network provides a critical link between researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children's health and well-being.  C&NN also promotes fundamental institutional change and provides resources for sharing information, strategic initiatives and success stories.  Childrenandnature.org

ecoAmerica
ecoAmerica is a nonprofit environmental agency that establishes strategic partnerships with corporations, NGOs and government and develops large-scale, innovative engagement marketing programs focused on moving mainstream Americans closer to the environment, focusing on people rather than issues.  Ecoamerica.org

Here's the direct link to download the Staycation guide: http://www.naturerocks.org/uploadedFiles/NatureRocks_StaycationGuide.pdf
Here's our multimedia press release: lhttp://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/naturerocks/38567

Our thanks to Kara Davidson at Nature Rocks for providing this information to Womens' International News.
Kara Davidson can be reached at 202.457.1126. Congratulations to Nature Rocks on their timely and life-enhancing concept, mission and work!