The Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities Initiative is one approach that is attempting to democratize access to green spaces.
This model transforms schoolyards, which are present in most communities, into green and vibrant areas with natural and built elements that are designed to appeal to students, their families, and their communities.
Students use the schoolyards during school hours, but then the schoolyards are also opened up to the broader community at all other times.
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The decline in the number of hours Americans spend outdoors, exacerbated by urbanization, has affected people’s familiarity with local wildlife. This is concerning to conservationists, as people tend to care about and invest in what they know. Children represent the future supporters of conservation, such that their knowledge about and feelings toward wildlife have the potential to influence conservation for many years to come.
Despite different levels of urbanization, children had either an unfamiliarity with and/or low preference for local animals, suggesting that a disconnect between children and local biodiversity is already well-established, even in more rural areas where many wildlife species can be found.
Click here to learn more about the study that surveyed 2,759 4–8th grade children across 22 suburban, exurban, and rural schools in North Carolina to determine their attitudes toward local, domestic, and exotic animals.
A Pew Study shows: Americans ages 60 and older are alone for more than half of their daily Measured time- we can all help!Read Now
While time spent alone is not necessarily associated with adverse effects, it can be used as a measure of social isolation, which in turn is linked with negative health outcomes among older adults. Medical experts suspect that lifestyle factors may explain some of this association – for instance, someone who is socially isolated may have less cognitive stimulation and more difficulty staying active or taking their medications. In some cases, social isolation may mean there is no one on hand to help in case of a medical emergency.
An American Cancer Society study, appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, says addressing social isolation holds promise if studies show interventions are effective, as they could be relatively simple and could influence other risk factors, as social isolation is also associated with hypertension, inflammation, physical inactivity, smoking, and other health risks.
Related studies and findings:
Pew Research Study
American Cancer Society Study