Summit Moves Michigan Outdoors

Focus on rekindling Michigan kids' connection to nature

06-28-2011 // Julia Liljegren
Kids in tree

It was two weeks ago that the Michigan No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Coalition came together at the third annual Michigan NCLI Summit. Held in Midland, MI at Northwood University the focus of the summit was on determining the Coalition’s future course and defining actions for rekindling (or in some cases, sparking) a connection with nature in Michigan’s kids.

Eighty-three professionals from around the state’s lower and upper peninsulas rallied around the theme “Moving Michigan Outdoors” during the two day event. Between strategy sessions, participants benefitted from keynote speakers including NWF’s own VP of Education and Training, Kevin Coyle, who provided a national perspective and context for past and present trends related to children’s time in nature as well as the overall significance of the children and nature issue.

John Austin, President of the Michigan Board of Education and Sr. Nonresident Sr. Fellow at the Brookings Institution directing the Great Lakes Economic Initiative, also keynoted, sharing opportunities within the state presented by the blue/green economy and the importance of preparing children for these opportunities. Herb Broda, Professor of Education at Ashland University in Ohio, closed out the summit by giving a keynote presentation that stressed why it is critical that the work of groups such as Michigan’s NCLI coalition succeeds.

Summit participants left the event reinvigorated, better informed and better aligned to help advance the children and nature initiative in Michigan. NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center is proud to be a leader in this endeavor and supports the Coalition’s mission to promote activities and policies that will help children reconnect with nature through outdoor play, exploration, recreation, and hands on environmental education.

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