Kansas Coalition for Children in Nature

On April 13, 2009, former Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed Executive Order 09-02 (http://governor.ks.gov/issues-a-initiatives/executive-orders/286-04132009-executive-order-09-02-create-the-kansas-coalition-for-children-in-nature) creating the Kansas Coalition for Children in Nature (KCCN). The KCCN was formed to foster Kansas youth’s appreciation of the outdoors.

“Kansas is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and this coalition will work to make sure Kansas children experience all that our state has to offer,” Sebelius said. “Environmental education is the first step toward helping our children learn to protect and preserve our planet.”

The KCCN will promote outdoor learning experiences and environmental education for the young people of Kansas and provide ongoing support for these endeavors.

Subsequent to the signing of the Executive Order, Governor Mark Parkinson appointed the conveners and outlined the tasks for the KCCN.

The conveners have established three work groups to create plans addressing the outcomes identified in the Executive Order. 1) Environmental Education – formal learning experiences for children in a variety of settings. 2) Outdoor Experiences and Recreation – experiences that include play, recreation, exploration, etc. 3) Health – time and access to nature and relationship to children’s health.

The timeline for the KCCN work is as follows:

Oct. – Nov. 2009 Convene work groups Sept. 1, 2010 Work groups report to conveners Oct. 1, 2010 Environmental Literacy Plan completed; Draft of entire KCCN report completed; final review by conveners Jan. 10, 2011 Report due to Governor

KCCN Convener’s Group Meeting

The latest meeting was Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 at the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Office in Topeka. The three work groups reported on recent progress: 1) Outdoor Experiences and Recreation – Doug Vance, chair. doug@kpra.org, 785-691-7708 2) Environmental Education – Laura Downey, chair. ldowney@kacee.org, 785-532-3322 3) Health – Shari Wilson, chair. swilson@kacee.org, 913-287-6879

Funding issues from grants and foundations were discussed. Sue Vance was introduced as the Administrative Assistant for the KCN.

The final report will be submitted to the Governor during December, 2010. The due date has been changed to Dec. 1, 2010.

The next meeting will be Feb. 11, 2010 in Topeka.

Outdoor Experiences and Recreation Work Group

The latest meeting was held Jan. 12, 2010 with Doug Vance as chair. The group discussed developing a vision statement and identified outcomes. Research work was begun to collect both national and in-state outdoor programs for children that are currently available. Mike Christensen is collecting this information.

The timeline for the work group is as follows: Feb. 10, 2010 Reports from action groups on assignments March 22, 2010 Updates and progress reports April 26, 2010 Action group’s final draft to Doug Vance Aug. 2, 2010 Final draft for the work group review Sept. 1, 2010 Work groups report to Conveners Jan. 10, 2010 Convener’s report to the Governor

The next meeting will be Feb. 10, 2010.

Report submitted by Cynthia Rhodes KWF Director at Large Education Committee Chair cynrhodes@gmail.com 316-799-2315