On Monday April 10th Darke County Parks received an award as a “Best in Ohio—Connect to Nature Site” for their Shawnee Prairie Preserve from Leave no Child Inside: Miami Valley Collaborative (MVLNCI) and Dayton Regional Green (DRG). To receive this designation, they had to meet a set of criteria from the MVLNCI and DRG which promote students being outside and physically active every day.
The Leave No Child Inside movement was inspired by the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv who is also the co-founder of the International Children and Nature Network.
Other parks awarded the designation included Miami County Park District’s Stillwater Prairie Reserve, Five Rivers Metro Park’s Englewood MetroPark, and the Little Hearts Daycare. Springcreek Elementary also received the “Connect to Nature School” designation at the early April ceremony.
The award presentation included all the above mentioned representatives from all of these organizations as well as representatives from Piqua Local Schools and Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Mandy Martin, naturalist for the Darke County Park District worked very hard to earn this designation for DCP, and she said, “It is crucial for all of us to recognize the importance of green space in our community. Both children and adults need the opportunity to experience nature as a tool for physical and emotional well-being. Receiving this designation is just one more reason to take advantage of what your Darke County Parks has to offer.” For more information about the “Leave No Child Inside” Movement and Collaborative here in Ohio, visit ohiolnci.org.