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Connecting Families to Nature in Texas

Texas Children in Nature and the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin where recently featured on News 8 in Austin as part of their Fit Kids February initiative. The short piece does a good job with reflecting on the need to get kids outdoors and how families can find green spaces and activities on our website- Nature Rocks Texas. Our special thanks to Jeff Stensland and Margaret Russell.

You can watch the full video on Youtube

From the interview with Jeff Stensland:

Just a few hundred feet from one of the area's busiest highways, you might hear a trickle from a nearby waterfall at the nature and Science Center in South Austin. The center has engaged visitors you and old for more than a century.

Margaret Russell runs the center, which is a city park and free to the public. There you can find native Texas wildlife like roadrunners and Moxi the Bobcat.

"We have a stretch of pretty diverse, wild natural areas to explore," she said.

Jennifer Bristol is with Texas Children in Nature. The organization's name is its mission helped by websites like Nature Rocks Austin and Nature Rocks San Antonio.

"It seems strange to have so much research to say that being outside is good for kids, but in fact we need it,” Bristol said.

Bristol says the average kid will spend between seven and 11 hours a day sitting indoors, which is why programs at the nature center are so important."

"We really want time in the outdoors to be family time, so this is time families are getting outside together learning about nature," Bristol said.

City tax revenue covers operating costs for this nature preserve, but programs get boosts from donations and grants while staff get a boost from seeing nature through the kids' eyes.

"It feeds our soul,” Russell said. “We get to see the impact we make with kids. It is pretty immediate."

For more on our Fit Kids initiative, go to Local on Demand channel 1020. Just click on Be Healthy and then Fit Kids.