MINNEAPOLIS, MN, January 2, 2024:  The Children & Nature Network, the National League of Cities and KABOOM! have partnered to launch a new initiative designed to increase equitable access to Nature Everywhere children live, learn and play in 100 communities by 2025. Nineteen U.S. communities have been selected through a competitive application process to join an inaugural Nature Everywhere Communities cohort. Nature Everywhere Communities will receive two years of strategic planning, technical support and start-up funding to develop and implement community-driven plans for connecting children and families to nature-based experiences and learning.

The benefits of nature

A growing body of evidence indicates that spending time outdoors, in nature, is essential for children’s healthy development. Time in nature improves physical and mental health, academic outcomes and social-emotional learning. Equitable access to nearby nature-filled spaces and outdoor learning and play helps children and families thrive – and can support community-wide sustainability, climate resilience, green workforce and public health goals.

Prescribe Outside Pennsylvania (PA) selection

Prescribe Outside is a partnership between Awbury Arboretum, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Let’s Go Outdoors, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Temple University’s Center for Sustainable Communities, and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department focused on the social prescribing of nature for health benefits. The partnership convenes a network of diverse partners to prescribe nature as a viable tool for pediatric and family health and wellbeing through accessible, outdoor programs in the Philadelphia Region.

“Prescribe Outside PA’s application hit every mark when it comes to our Nature Everywhere goals,” says Sarah Milligan-Toffler, President and CEO of the Children & Nature Network. “At the heart of the team’s work is bringing together influential partners in the Philadelphia area to support partner mapping, community assessments and action planning so children and their families access local parks for the benefit of children’s health and wellbeing. We are excited to support these efforts.”

“A growing body of research shows that time spent in nature is beneficial to one’s health,” says Grace Parker, Prescribe Outside Project Manager. “So we’re bringing the global nature prescription movement to Philadelphia with buy-in from and in support of local communities. We aim to create lasting and meaningful change.”

The Nature Everywhere Community Team Journey

As a first step, the Prescribe Outside team joined 10 other communities for a Nature Everywhere Vision Lab in Atlanta, Georgia, November 15 – 16, to explore proven nature connection strategies and connect with technical assistance experts from the Children & Nature Network, the National League of Cities, and KABOOM!. Over the next two years, the Philadelphia team will:

  • Engage youth and community residents in creating visions for equitable access to nature
  • Map community stakeholders, assets and gaps
  • Conduct funding and policy scans
  • Identify the best nature connection strategies for the Philadelphia community
  • Build and deepen regional partnerships
  • Develop and begin implementing an outdoor inclusion and access plan

Throughout the process, the Prescribe Outside team and other Nature Everywhere community teams will have access to a national peer learning network; technical assistance; case-making research; resources, case studies and planning tools; seed grants of up to $50,000; and eventually, access to larger catalytic grants for implementation. Nature Everywhere partners (Children & Nature Network, National League of Cities, and KABOOM!) will also help communities track outcomes and communicate the impact of their work both locally and nationally.

For more information about Philadelphia’s Prescribe Outside team, contact Grace Parker, Project Manager, gparker@awbury.org.

For more information about the Nature Everywhere initiative, visit childrenandnature.org/nature-everywhere, read this national news release, and/or contact Laura Mylan, Children & Nature Network, laura@childrenandnature.org.


 About the Children & Nature Network

The Children & Nature Network believes, and research proves, that regular time outdoors is essential for children’s

healthy development. The non-profit organization leads a global movement of leaders, educators, practitioners and

parents working to ensure equitable access to the benefits of nature everywhere children live, learn and play. Learn

more at childrenandnature.org and get connected on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X) and The Trailhead,

a free online community for global children and nature leaders.

About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. NLC’s Center for Leadership, Education, Advancement and Development is the go-to place for city leaders and their partners seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. Stay connected with NLC on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 About KABOOM!
KABOOM! is the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity – the reality that quality places to play are not available to every child, especially in communities of color. Since 1996, KABOOM! has partnered with kids and communities to create or transform 17,000+ playspaces and ensure that nearly 12 million kids have equitable access to the critical

benefits and opportunities that playspaces offer. In 2022, KABOOM! launched the 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity to accelerate its mission in 25 high-priority locations over five years. Learn more at kaboom.org or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Prescribe Outside PA team, from left to right: Dr. Sharon Sutherland, Dr. Natalie Minto, Tony Croasdale, Sara Stevenson, Grace Parker, Dr. Michelle Kondo

Photo courtesy of Children & Nature Network; photo credit not required