Wednesday, March 9 at 12:00 p.m.
How are we going to imagine our cities in the next twenty years? As Texas becomes more urban, integrating nature into our cities for the well-being of whole communities will be key. Children today are suffering from unprecedented stress, inactivity, and related health issues such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. This is happening at a time when children are spending more than 60 hours per week indoors with electronic media and less than 30 minutes in active outdoor play. How can our streets, green corridors, waterways, and trails serve to address these pressing issues that will affect not only public health, but also the economic prosperity of our state?
Transportation has an important role to play as part of a citywide system to make places where all children and families have equitable and abundant access to active outdoor time in nature and green space. We will review the most recent scientific research and emerging promising practices from across the U.S. We will review innovative and evidence-based policies, partnerships and programs that can guide statewide actions in creating healthy communities rich in nature.
Learning objectives for this session include understanding the most recent research on children’s health and the effects of nature and green space on wellness, connections between transportation, health, nature. and physical activity; and actions that they can take in their organizations to create nature-rich community places.
Margaret is the of Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) where she works in target communities across the U.S. to connect outdoor learning and play with the goals of achieving health and wellness for children. Across the U.S., she promotes cross-sector community planning to increase equity in access to urban green space. Margaret designs initiatives that seek to improve outdoor physical activity, mental health, educational performance, and healthy lifestyles for children and families. Currently she is directing 3 national C&NN initiatives: Cities Connecting Children to Nature, a partnership with the National League of Cities to support city leadership in policy planning to create nature-rich cities; Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities, an initiative which is scaling green schoolyards in low-income communities; and the C&NN Natural Library Project, a national demonstration project to connect urban library programming with park engagement, environmental literacy and youth leadership. Prior to her work at Children & Nature Network, she was the Education Director at Houston Wilderness and spent 23 years addressing educational disparities in K-12 education with large-scale literacy and science programs across the U.S. She lives and works in San Antonio with her family and manages her ranch in Brenham.