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National Environmental Education Foundation

Children and Nature Initiative
Rx for Outdoor Activity

Goal: Connect children and their families to nature for health benefits.

children and natureNEEF’s Children and Nature Initiative: Rx for Outdoor Activity aims to prevent serious health conditions like obesity and diabetes related to indoor sedentary lifestyles and connects children and their families to nature to promote good health, enjoyment, and environmental stewardship. Research indicates that unstructured outdoor activities may improve physical and mental health by increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and serving as a support mechanism for attention disorders. Learn more.

The Initiative educates pediatric health care providers about prescribing outdoor activities to children. The program also connects health care providers with local nature sites, so they can refer families to safe and easily accessible outdoor areas.

Prescription pad

This Initiative employs NEEF’s highly successful Faculty Champions model, which has trained thousands of health care providers on environmental health issues to date. NEEF is holding a series of “train-the-trainer” workshops to prepare pediatric health care providers to serve as Nature Champions in their communities. These Champions build capacity among other pediatric health care providers to be leaders in prescribing nature. NEEF provides pediatric health care providers with technical support, tools and resources, including a PowerPoint presentation created by medical experts, Children's Health and Nature Fact Sheet, Children & Nature infographic, prescription pads (English and Spanish), patient brochures (en Español) and Pediatric Environmental History Screening Form (en Español).

To download these materials, please visit our resources page.

Through the Children and Nature Initiative, health care providers, parents, outdoor organizations, schools, federal, state and local agencies, community groups and other institutions can work together to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and teach them how to protect their health and the environment. 

For more information, please contact [email protected].


Dr. Robert Zarr talks about the children and nature initiative.

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New Orleans Nature Champion Training January 26, 2013

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LSU/Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Sarah Stender, NEEF’s newly trained Nature Champion, talks about the importance of prescribing nature and bringing the Children and Nature Initiative: Rx for Outdoor Activity to New Orleans.

NEEF's project in New Orleans is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


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