Online Program

Evaluation of Nature 2 Nurture Program- linking nature to health

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Julie Becker, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Public Health, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Teresa Mendez-Quigley, MSW, LSW, Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Philadelphia
Haley Singer, MPH, Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Philadelphia, PA
Rachel Carson contended that developing a “sense of wonder” about nature is crucial for a developing child.  But over the last several decades, the importance of nature to children’s development has been marginalized.  A new program, Nature 2 Nurture, combines the best of science with proven strategies to promote good health and pro-social behavior among children ages 8-10.  The goal of Nature 2 Nurture is to provide these children with the tools of respect, resiliency and resourcefulness.  Through a six-week program that meets for two hours, the children are separated by gender with identical lesson plans that build on knowledge and activities from each week.  Each lesson has two key components: a nature activity and an action plan.  The nature activities include observational hikes and walks, treasure hunts, and semi-structured games.  As part of each week’s activities, there is “a golden moment” where children learn to be silent.  The importance of silence is well documented to “reboot” human brains, to foster creativity, to assist with impulse control, and to heighten awareness. To reinforce the lessons, the children are asked to complete a weekly action plan monitoring goals for the week.  Nature 2 Nurture has been piloted twice at a charter school in a large city, with process and outcome evaluations.  Results suggest that students are able to appreciate time spent in nature, have improved control over their behavior, and enjoyed the activities.  Unintended outcomes included group leaders incorporating activities into their teaching practices at the Charter School.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify at least two aspects of this nature program. Explain at least two reasons why silence is important to teach children.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health researcher whose interests include designing nature programs for youth, reducing pharmaceuticals in the environment and evaluating interventions. I consistently put research into practice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.