PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - June 18, 2021 


President Biden just signed a law declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday; and the first tropical storm system is forecast to make landfall in U.S. by end of the week.


2021Talks - June 18, 2021 


The U.S. marks a new national holiday; Republicans reject Sen. Joe Manchin's election reform compromise; and U.S. Supreme Court upholds Obamacare but strikes a blow to equal rights.

Adding Nature to Kids' Play Boosts Education, Health

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

Community child-care programs in El Paso County have added pollinator gardens, native plants and other natural elements to kids' outdoor play areas. (Pixabay)
Community child-care programs in El Paso County have added pollinator gardens, native plants and other natural elements to kids' outdoor play areas. (Pixabay)
 By Eric Galatas - Producer, Contact
March 23, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Plastic- and rubber-dominated playgrounds in Colorado Springs have added winding pathways with tall grasses, gardens, "mud kitchens" and other ways for kids to explore the outdoors.

It's part of a program to expand health and learning opportunities for children by helping them connect with the natural world.

Kelly Hurtado, early childhood program director at the Alliance for Kids, a hub for El Paso County's Early Childhood Council, said outdoor learning environments can transform the way children play.

"It can boost energy; it increases movement," Hurtado outlined. "It can actually boost the immune system. It helps inspire a different type of play that encourages creativity."

The National Wildlife Federation's Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO) program partnered with Hurtado's group to distribute nine micro-grants of $500.

Led by landscape designers and early childhood experts, ECHO works with community child-care programs to add pollinator gardens, boulders, logs, native plants and other natural elements to outdoor play areas.

Liz Houston, ECHO partnerships manager for the Federation, said a key goal of the ECHO program is to reach communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods that have historically not had access to healthy and safe green spaces.

She argued all kids should be able to dig in the dirt, build forts, follow butterflies and watch plants grow.

"We all just come alive outside," Houston asserted. "With exploration, it's that ever-changing, always dynamic, always interesting, always beautiful environment that brings out kids' curiosity, their creativity."

Houston added she hopes lessons learned in El Paso County can be shared in neighborhoods across the country.

Since its inception in 2017, ECHO has reached more than 10,000 children and trained more than 2,300 early-childhood professionals to expand natural play options in their communities.

Disclosure: National Wildlife Federation contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, Salmon Recovery, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Best Practices