DAYTON — Englewood MetroPark will be one of the first parks in the Miami Valley to be certified as a Best in Ohio Connect to Nature Site by Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside (MVLNCI) and Dayton Regional Green (DRG).
This certification is awarded to community organizations, schools, parks, day care centers and places of worship that provide children with opportunities to access green spaces and participate in nature-based activities.
Certified sites will be recognized during an award presentation at Springcreek Primary, 145 E. State Route 36, in Piqua on Monday, April 10 at 10 a.m.
Englewood MetroPark features family-friendly trails, the Blue Heron Disc Golf Course, wildlife observation opportunities and a nature play area for kids. Recreation opportunities at Englewood MetroPark include boating, fishing, cycling, hiking, camping, paddling and more.
“The features at Englewood MetroPark create the perfect venue for children to explore the natural world,” said Doug Horvath, Five Rivers MetroParks education coordinator and MVLNCI executive committee member.
Stillwater Prairie Reserve and Grant Park also will be certified as a Best in Ohio Connect to Nature Site, along with Springcreek Primary, the first academic facility to be recognized by MVLNCI and DRG for this certification.
To become certified, organizations must implement the Ohio Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, an outline of nature-based opportunities all children should experience on a regular basis.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, children who spend time in nature have increased fitness levels, score higher on standardized tests and have lower stress levels. However, the average American child spends as little as 30 minutes of unstructured time playing outside each day and more than seven hours in front of a screen. The result is an effect dubbed “nature deficit disorder” by Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network.
“A commitment to facilitating kid-friendly natural experiences also is a commitment to cultivating happier, healthier kids,” Horvath said. “Organizations that receive this certification have made that commitment and taken actual steps to provide nature-based opportunities for children in their communities.”
To learn more about the Best in Ohio Connect to Nature Site certification visit www.ohiolnci.org/ohio-regions/miami-valleydayton/certification.
About Five Rivers MetroParks
Celebrating more than 50 years of preserving green space and natural areas, Five Rivers MetroParks is a nationally renowned park system composed of natural area parks, gardens, high-quality river corridors, urban parks and a network of recreation trails. Five Rivers MetroParks protects the region’s natural heritage and provides outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature. Educational programs and recreational opportunities are offered year-round for all ages. Five Rivers MetroParks is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. To learn more about Five Rivers MetroParks, log onto www.metroparks.org or call 937-275-PARK (7275).