From the Ground Up: The Making of a Children’s Forest
....After several meetings it became clear that conversations about the issue could only go so far and our group desired to have a tangible project to get to work on. The planets aligned last spring, when the U.S. Forest Service awarded funds to the Deschutes National Forest to support the development of a “Children’s Forest.” The Deschutes Children’s Forest will become one of nine demonstration forests across the nation where children will be actively engaged to experience the great outdoors, learn about nature, and build a lasting commitment to conservation and land stewardship. The Deschutes model is a little different from the rest in that health will be a major focus. We are interested in studying what we all hypothesize – that exposure to nature improves a child’s healthy development and overall well being.
Strategic planning is well underway and the necessary pieces are coming together to make the Deschutes Children’s Forest a reality. This will involve creating a network of places and programs dedicated to moving all children along a continuum of learning, exploration, and healthy living through engagement with nature. Our vision is a world in which every child is inspired by nature to become a healthy individual and create a sustainable future....