By: Mary Gordon
40 years and counting… Evergreen’s commitment to getting kids outdoors continues to grow. Earlier this month, the center was honored as a Best in Ohio Connect to Nature site. We’re the first in Greene County to receive the award, which is sponsored by The Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside organization and Five Rivers MetroParks.
So how did we earn this award? Most of the requirements were things we were already doing with the kids- lots of playing outside! You’ll notice our parent bulletin board at the bottom of the steps at the entrance. That’s just part of the new initiative as well, getting you to connect to nature at home. We also encourage you to take your kids outside with many of our family forest activities and past blog suggestions. The teachers at Evergreen put great effort into their lesson plans to include lots of time outdoors and often find ways to bring nature into the classroom through art and science experiments as well.
“A commitment to facilitating kid-friendly natural experiences also is a commitment to cultivating happier, healthier kids,” wrote Doug Horvath, Five Rivers MetroParks education coordinator and MVLNCI executive board member ahead of the award ceremony. “Organizations that receive this certification have made that commitment and taken actual steps to provide nature-based opportunities for children in their communities.”
It’s an exciting new step forward for Evergreen as we become trailblazers for the Connect to Nature awards: We are just one of 20 places in the entire state to have the designation! Playing outside is what we do best, and it feels great to be honored for something so simple that has a huge impact on kids’ well-being and education. So grab the rain boots or hat and mittens, and let’s head into the forest to play and make memories to last a lifetime.