CONTACT:
   Martin LeBlanc, Sierra Club: 206-371-9857
   Marilyn Wyzga, NH Fish and Game: 603-271-3211
   Kurt Ehrenberg, NH Sierra Club: 603-224-8222
   Julie Klett, NH Audubon: 603-224-9909 x306
   Rob Burbank, AMC: 603-466-2721 x195
November 15, 2007

Nov. 27 "Leave No Child Inside" Forum Focuses on Children in Nature
Richard Louv Leads Public Discussion: Saving NH's Children from Nature Deficit Disorder

CONCORD, NH -- What does the future of childhood look like in New Hampshire?  What can communities do to help re-connect children and families to our great outdoors, improving their health and well being in the process?  Parents and caregivers, educators, health professionals, planners, conservationists, businesspeople and others are invited to tackle these questions at the New Hampshire Leave No Child Inside Forum: A Community Conversation about Connecting Children and Nature, Tuesday, November 27, at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord.

The Leave No Child Inside Forum begins with a free public session from 9:30 a.m. to noon, featuring a talk by accomplished writer and journalist Richard Louv, who coined the term "Nature Deficit Disorder" in his bestselling book, Last Child in the Woods.  The morning's conversation will revolve around the latest scientific evidence showing the importance of outdoor experiences for healthy child development -- touching on issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and child obesity -- and practical actions that people and organizations can take to get today's kids engaged in nature.

The public session also includes a panel discussion with Louv, who serves as chairman of the national Children & Nature Network; along with special guests with expertise in various aspects of the issue (attendees will have a chance to ask questions and interact with panelists):

Martin LeBlanc -- National Youth Education Director for the Sierra Club and founding board member of the Children & Nature Network. He oversees the Sierra Club's conservation and public education work, including advocacy around youth education issues.

Jan McLaughlin -- Science Curriculum and Assessment Consultant at the New Hampshire Department of Education. She assists school districts in understanding and implementing the N.H. Frameworks for Science Literacy, works on all aspects of the NECAP Science Assessment and provides professional development on a variety of topics.

Dr. José T. Montero -- State Epidemiologist within the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. He earned his Doctor of Medicine & Surgery from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 1986 and an Epidemiologist Degree in 1992 from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.  Dr. Montero began his New Hampshire service in 1999 as Chief of the N.H. Communicable Disease Section within the Division of Public Health, and has received several international fellowship honors and other advanced degrees.

David T. Sobel, M. Ed. -- Director of Teacher Certification Programs in the Education Department and Director of the Center for Place-based Education at Antioch University New England. His published books include Children's Special Places, Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education and Place-based Education:  Connecting Classrooms and Communities. His articles examine the relationship between child development, authentic curriculum and environmental education.

Steven Whitman -- A planner with Jeffrey H. Taylor and Associates of Concord, N.H.  Whitman has worked on planning issues at the state, local and regional level in New Hampshire. Whitman is also an adjunct faculty member at Plymouth State University, where he teaches courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in environmental planning, community planning and sustainability.

Cotton Cleveland (session moderator) -- President, Mather Associates, a New England-based consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational development for corporate, nonprofit and municipal organizations. Cleveland was the founding Executive Director of Leadership New Hampshire and Human Resources Manager of the New London Trust Company. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics.  Cleveland has worked in many management and volunteer positions and served on a variety of business and nonprofit boards.
 

During the afternoon, experts from a wide range of backgrounds will continue the discussion in a closed session aimed at developing an action plan for New Hampshire.

N.H. First Lady, Dr. Susan Lynch, is Honorary Chairperson for the Leave No Child Inside Forum. "New Hampshire is taking a leading role in this nationwide effort to make a difference in the lives of children, families and communities by reconnecting them with nature," she said.  "From my own work with child health issues, I know how important it is for children and their families to get outside, get moving and learn about the natural world, to lay a foundation for healthy, active lives."

The New Hampshire Leave No Child Inside Forum: A Community Conversation about Connecting Children and Nature is co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, the national Children and Nature Network and the newly formed New Hampshire Children In Nature Initiative.  Click here for more information.

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CALENDAR LISTING:

New Hampshire Leave No Child Inside Forum: A Community Conversation about Connecting Children and Nature, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007, 9:30 - noon, Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord.  All are welcome; free admission.  Click here for the full agenda.


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