CONTACT:
Jan McLaughlin, Science Curriculum and Assessment, N.H. Department of Education, 603-271-3856
Audrey Eisenhauer, Co-chair, N.H. Environmental Educators, 603-236-3308
Alicia Carlson, Project WET, N.H. Department of Environmental Services, 603-271-4071
Judy Silverberg, N.H. Fish and Game Department Wildlife Education, 603-271-1737
May 1, 2009

Get the Kids Outside in May: It's Outdoor Science Learning Month

CONCORD, N.H. -- The month of May has been proclaimed by Governor John Lynch as "Outdoor Science Learning Month."  It is a great time to get your children outside and learning, both in and out of school.  "May We Do Science" is an initiative in support of connecting children with nature and building science skills. 

"We are encouraging all teachers and parents in New Hampshire to take their students and children outdoors for at least 20 minutes a day," said Audrey Eisenhauer, co-chair of NH Environmental Educators.

Not sure where to start?  Check out the suggested science-based and outdoor activities to do with children, plus links to the organizations involved in May We Do Science Month, at mayscience.wetpaint.com.  Your family or class can join and share pictures of the nature you discover on this interactive website.

May We Do Science is a project of the N.H. Children in Nature Coalition, with involvement from the N.H. Department of Education, N.H. Environmental Educators, N.H. Fish and Game Department, N.H. Department of Environmental Services and other science educators.

"We have focused on getting children outside during this month, because May is when NECAP Science Testing is held for students in grades 4, 8, and11," said Jan McLaughlin, Science Consultant for NH Department of Education.  NECAP is the New England Common Assessment Program, a standardized test designed to help track a student's progress through his or her public school career.

Outdoor experiences provide opportunities for children to naturally engage in science, as well as reduce stress and foster their ability to concentrate. Getting outside is a great way to get kids thinking like scientists and preparing them for testing.

"Children are natural scientists. They explore the world using all their senses to gather data about the world. Getting kids outside during the day to observe science in action is the best way to get children to understand how science really operates...you just can't get that from a book or contrived labs," said McLaughlin.

"New Hampshire Environmental Educators are happy to be a part of this effort," said Eisenhauer. "New Hampshire has a wealth of wonderful forests, parks, nature centers and other places in your neighborhoods and communities to explore. Our member organizations can provide suggestions and programs for schools and families."

The New Hampshire Children In Nature Coalition is dedicated to fostering experiences in nature that improve physical and emotional health and well being; increase understanding of and care for the natural world; and promote stronger connections to community and landscape...and to providing a forum for continued collaboration. Learn more at www.nhchildreninnature.com.

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