Children & Nature Network and ecoAmerica founded Nature Rocks in 2009, a national program to facilitate families in playing and exploring nature together.1 They were initially funded and/or supported by The Nature Conservancy, REI Inc., The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the American Heart Association. Later these partners were joined by the American Camp Association, Richard Louv, and The Flora Family Foundation.2
Nature Rocks hosts a website where parents can learn that “playing and exploring in nature is an essential ingredient for family bonding and for raising happier, healthier, and smarter children.”3 There are also tools to find, plan, and prepare for nature exploring events and activities near their home or destination.4 Additionally, Nature Rocks includes an easy way to connect with other local families for outdoor adventures through an online invite system.
For families who want to form a local nature club called a Nature Rocks Flock, there is a downloadable guide, planning sheets, and email communication forms. Through the linked Children & Nature Network site, there is added support for families and nature clubs through the Children & Nature Network Connect discussion boards.5
Nature Rocks' other online resources include book reviews, relevant links, related news articles, and seasonal activity guides. They also offer free downloadable games and nature journals.
On the community level, Nature Rocks offers a Grassroots Tool Kit for local nonprofit organizations who want to assist families in reconnecting with nature.6
- 1. “Nature Rocks.” ecoAmerica, start with people. < http://www.ecoamerica.org/programs/nature-rocks > 26 June 2011.
- 2. “About Nature Rocks.” Nature Rocks, Let's Go Explore. < http://www.naturerocks.org/about.aspx > 7 June 2011.
- 3. Op. cit., “Nature Rocks.”
- 4. “Why Nature Rocks.” Nature Rocks, Let's Go Explore. < http://www.naturerocks.org/why-nature-rocks.aspx > 7 June 2011.
- 5. “Share, Learn, Listen, Lead.” C&NNConnect. < http://childrenandnature.ning.com/ > 26 June 2011.
- 6. “Nature Rocks.” Children & Nature Network. < http://www.childrenandnature.org/movement/naturerocks/ > 7 June 2011.