CONTACT:
Marilyn Wyzga: (603) 271-3211
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211

February 11, 2009

nhcf
 

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N.H. Children in Nature Coalition Receives Two Major Grants

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Children in Nature Coalition (NHCiNC) has received a $50,000 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and a $10,000 donation from The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation in support of statewide efforts to reconnect children and families with nature.

A two-year Community Impact Grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, totaling $50,000, will fund a series of capacity-building efforts by the NHCiNC collaborative leadership team, including long-range planning, professional development, and other means to help build organizational strength, and improve operations and management.  Representatives from every area of the state and a wide range of interests, including education, environmental concerns, recreation, health, the built environment, business, media, culture and arts, are involved.  Funds will also help cover costs of specific projects, such as a statewide conference that allows NHCiNC to build on its strategic planning process and provide more essential community opportunities.

A $10,000 donation from The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation will fund communications and outreach tools for the NHCiNC, including a website, publications and other materials.  "Harvard Pilgrim is pleased to be giving a grant to the Children in Nature Coalition," said Karen Voci, Executive Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. "We see this effort as another important strategy to keep children and their families healthy."

New Hampshire's Children in Nature Coalition is part of a national movement, ignited in 2006 by Richard Louv's groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. NHCiNC is dedicated to encouraging today's children, youth and families to explore and embrace their wild roots, and simply spend more time outdoors - for the mental and physical wellbeing it brings to people, and the long-term benefits it can have for our society and the earth. 

Dozens of volunteers have been actively involved with the NHCiNC, structuring the coalition's strategic plan, developing a communications plan, partnering with the N.H. Department of Education to connect nature experiences with state science curricula, and establishing a Natural Leaders program to engage high school youth.

Many New Hampshire organizations, individuals, and agencies are already working on issues related to children in nature; one important goal of the Coalition is to connect them with each other and help them bring their work into communities where children and families will directly benefit.  Coalition partners have committed time and resources to the effort, and have expressed a desire to work together, build the network, and make use of any tools and opportunities NHCiNC can offer.

"These major grants will allow the Coalition to continue our community-wide collaboration to connect children, youth and families with nature and take it to a higher level of effectiveness," said Marilyn Wyzga, a Wildlife Educator from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department who is convening the Coalition Leadership Team.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation has been improving the quality of life in our communities since 1962. Community Impact Grants are designed to fulfill their mission by offering a competitive grants process to organizations working across a wide variety of areas including arts and culture, education, the environment, health and human services, and other public affairs.

Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the health of the people it serves and the health of society. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation is committed to preventing childhood obesity in the communities it serves by partnering with community organizations, such as the Foundation for Healthy Communities, throughout N.H., Massachusetts and Maine.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has played a pivotal role in coordinating New Hampshire's children and nature initiative.  Find out more at www.wildnh.com/ChildrenInNature.

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