Texas Children in Nature has a lot to be thankful for this year. As a network we have grown to over 365 partners who reached just over 3.1 million youth and 7 million adults with their outdoor opportunities.
Each one of our partners works tirelessly to provide quality nature-based experiences in their community. We try our best to have as many of those programs, events and activities listed on NatureRocksTexas.org so families only have to go to one place to find things to do in their area.
We are thankful to our steering committee of 20 individuals from around the state. Each one brings a unique perspective, expert advice, and boundless energy to the network. In 2016 they focused that energy to update the TCiN strategic plan to set a positive course for the movement for the next five years.
We are thankful for the support of Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. They are both committed to connecting children to nature to nurture the next generation of stewards to care for the wild things and wild places of this great state. With a special thanks to Nancy Herron at TPWD for her tireless work to champion the statewide movement.
The network extends beyond the Texas borders to include our national partners as well. We are thankful for the positive work of C&NN to shine a bright light on the need for all communities to find more ways to create access to nature for children. They are doing important work to ensure that all children will have a nature-rich future.
The movement wouldn’t have been started if it were not for the watershed book, Last Child In the Woods, by Richard Louv. We are grateful for his continued work to be the calm, inspiring voice for the movement. There are many other voices in that helped start the network and continue to fuel the engine, and we are thankful for those as well.
We are thankful for the schools, non-profits, businesses, churches, and even elected officials who see the value of nature to the health and wellbeing of children, adults and their own communities. Each one brings innovation to the movement and we are stronger together for it.
But most important of all we are thankful for the families who take the time out of their busy schedule to ensure their children have a positive relationship with nature. They are the ones that have to overcome the greatest barriers to find the time, the space, the energy, and at times the money to get their children outdoors to be healthier and happier.
Our hope is that more families than ever will put nature on the schedule in 2017 and commit to increasing their time outdoors. Families, you and your children are in the hearts and minds of ever one of our 365 partner organizations. It is for you that they offer programs, camps, events, and keep the doors open to their nature centers, zoos, parks and businesses.
The Texas Children in Nature network is here to support you and help you find fun, safe places and things to do in nature. Time with your kids is precious, so we try to make it easy for you to find ways to play, explore and connect with nature on our website NatureRocksTexas.org and through our social media outlets.
We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.