NWF Helps Host Tennessee Summit on Children and the Outdoors

Tennessee Holds Summit on Getting Kids Outdoors

05-17-2010 // Mary Burnette
Mother lifting baby

Assisted by the National Wildlife Federation, the Every Child Outdoors – Tennessee Coalition hosted the first every Tennessee Governor’s Summit on the need to get kids outdoors. The May 11 Summit at Montgomery Bell State Park, outside of Nashville, was attended by over 150 community leaders from the education, natural resources, health, and government sectors.

The focus of the day was on better understanding the disconnect between youth and the outdoors and how to reverse this troubling trend. Geralyn Hoey, NWF Regional Representative for the state of Tennessee, worked closely with Summit planners to assemble a distinguished list of presenters who addressed various programs and campaigns currently in place to give children more exposure to the outdoors.

Speakers include Kevin Coyle, VP of Education for NWF, Commissioner Jim Fyke with the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation, Vera Vollbrecht, Director of Warner Parks Nature Center and Co-Chair of the ECO-TN Coalition, and Mary Burnette, Associate Director of Communications for NWF.

Earlier this year the Coalition adopted the Tennessee Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights which includes a list of outdoor experiences every child in the state should have the chance to participate in: walk in the woods, play outside, explore nature, watch wildlife, grow a garden, splash in the water, camp under the stars, learn to swim, climb a tree, go fishing, fly a kite, and visit a farm. A formal resolution supporting the work of the ECO-TN was unanimously passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in February 2010.

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