Child Outdoors” in Tennessee and “Taking Children
Outdoors” in Texas. Even developers have gotten on
the bandwagon, he said, creating new neighborhoods
with open spaces, hiking trails and nature centers that
many families — as well as baby boomers — find more
attractive than subdivisions built around golf courses.
The author said he was shocked, shocked, when he was
warmly received at his first builders’ conference.
Nancy Dorman, who runs the Every Child Outdoors
coalition in Tennessee, said the Volunteer State’s effort
was launched within several years after Louv’s “Last
Child in the Woods” was published.
“He came out to Nashville to do a presentation and
as a result, we organized a broad coalition of orga-
nizations that were interested in this issue,” she said.
“I’m an environmental educator and a Tennessee State
Parks person, but our goal is to get people together
from a wide variety of constituency areas, including
health, education and even the built environment,
She said they developed the Tennessee Environmental
Literacy Plan. For its part, her agency created a state-
wide Junior Ranger program that is partially funded
by a Project Diabetes grant from the Tennessee Health
Department. State parks offer Junior Ranger camps and
other programs, including after-school activities at ele-
mentary schools, she said.
“We also have a middle school and family running
program that is kind of a park-based running club to
encourage families and kids to come out to the state
parks and run,” she said. “We have cross-country running
events several times a year. And we do seasonal summer
programs for families because kids don’t function in a
vacuum. We want to encourage families and kids to get
out and enjoy nature and the outdoors.”
In Texas, Jennifer Bristol said that the state’s Children
in Nature program started about five years ago and has
Our goal is to get people together from a wide variety of
constituency areas to talk about issues and see what barriers
we can remove to get kids into the outdoors.
Photos courtesy of Virginia State Parks
Photo by Brett Billing, USF WS