February, 2021
Texas Children in Nature Network Quarterly Newsletter
What a winter it has been! December, January and February have certainly been busy here at TCiNN. We are finalizing our new strategic plan, be on the look out for those to hit your inboxes soon. We have hosted several amazing workshops, if you have missed any of our workshops they are available on our New YouTube Channel!
We also have lots of new projects in the works, and I cannot wait to share more as they are ready!

This quarterly newsletter will show off all the great work going on around the state as well as share some resources for all as we strive to encourage children and families to spend more time in nature.
Join us on March 3rd for our Virtual Summit Workshop: Green School Parks: an assessment driven approach. Register here: https://tinyurl.com/yywy4g86

Check out the full line-up on our website:
2021 Texas Nature Challenge
Texas Children in Nature Network, Texas A&M Forest Service, and Texan by Nature have teamed up to bring you a new Texas Nature Challenge.

Texas Nature Challenge is an opportunity to reach out to families, classrooms and other types of groups across Texas to engage them with your programs.

Propose challenges for groups to discover nearby nature. Challenges can be any type of activity either at your nature site, at home, or in any nature space.

Attend an informational meeting February 26th: https://tinyurl.com/y2y77lzc

Houston
The Houston Regional Collaborative is joining together to produce some video professional developments for teachers in Education Service Center 4. These videos will focus on STEM lessons.

If you are interested in learning more contact Alicia.
Cities Connecting Children to Nature Austin
CCCN Austin partners at Austin Parks and Recreation and Austin ISD have worked together to create walking field trips.

At the beginning of the 20-21 school year COVID restrictions canceled traditional field trips for students across the country. Seeing this new barrier, but knowing spending time in nature is important to a child's development partners joined to creatively problem solve to get kids outdoors in nature during the school day. Working with district officials field trips to parks within walking distance of schools were approved. Then the partners worked together to create a map of schools and their nearby parks to visit as a resource for teachers.

To learn more contact Melody
Austin
Families in Nature is offering a guide training next week, March 1 and 3. The training includes lessons on teaching outdoors, access to FIN's Ecologist School programing, links to a community of outdoors teachers and 6 CPE Hours for teachers.

To learn more visit: https://tinyurl.com/y9cfyr4g
National Outdoor Equity Initiative
The Outdoors F.U.T.U.R.E. program is new legislation to be introduced in the US Congress by Representative Hienrich of New Mexico. It was created through the collaborative efforts of Black, Indigenous, and leaders of color to address inequities facing many in connecting with the outdoors. It will focus on ensuring underserved youth have access to the outdoors and work towards resource sharing an creation to make nature more welcoming and accessible for all.

Nature Journaling
Many of you enjoyed our webinar this month with Lari Jo Edwards on Nature Journaling. She is excited to announce a weekend retreat to learn more.

Join a three-day journaling retreat at Bastrop State Park. This is a unique opportunity to spend time with like-minded individuals and improve skills in the practice of Nature Journaling. No skill in drawing, writing, observing necessary. Just bring curiosity, pen or pencil, paper, and a love for being outdoors. The weekend will include simple demonstrations, showing journals, encouragement in specific ways to overcome fears of the blank white paper! The world of nature is constantly changing, with much to absorb and learn about. The Nature Journal provides a fantastic opportunity to record your own observations, insights, wonderments. 

The Field Journal is a historically important tool that scientists and naturalists used throughout the world…before the advent of the camera. Discover why record-making is even more fun than taking a photograph! (Photographs, articles and clippings, e-mails and text messages of course can be added to Journals.)  

Northside ISD launches Story Walks
During the winter break elementary schools in Northeast ISD featured new Storywalks.

School librarians reached out after the election and received and repurposed over 600 election signs. They covered them with pages from popular children's books and ended the walk with a time of reflection. Several of the schools also chose bi-lingual books to serve their families who speak languages other than English. Families can visit the walks for some time in nature, some positive movement, and a literacy experience. Some schools have installed benches and Little Free Libraries near the Storywalks to create a nature space for reading.

NISD's Storywalk flier
AgriLife Extension Office - Nueces County 
The Nueces County Extension office is dedicated to helping more children spend time outdoors. One of the programs they are promoting is Walk Across Texas! Youth. This program engages youth to walk 832 miles over the course of eight weeks. Studies show us that green exercise is better for us, and walking in our local parks is a great way to exercise as well as connect with nature.

This great partner has been a key partner in our Coastal Bend Region, and we are so thankful for all their support.
 
Learn more about the Nueces County AgriLife office: https://nueces.agrilife.org/
The General Land Office
The General Land Office is creating opportunities for youth to engage in nature with volunteer opportunities through their community beach clean-ups.

Their next coast wide beach clean-up is on April 17th.

Learn more by visiting Adopt-A-Beach: https://www.texasadoptabeach.org/
Matthew Henson
The TCiNN Equity Strategic Area team is bringing you a new feature in every newsletter. A highlight of a nature hero who is a person of color.

This newsletter we highlight Matthew Henson. Henson is best known for his part in the 1908-1909 expedition to the geographic north pole.

Born in Maryland in 1866 to parents who where free persons of color working as share-croppers he attended school until age 12 when he dropped out to become a cabin boy. In 1887 he was hired on by Robert Peary as a personal valet, and quickly became a key part of Peary's exploration team.

During Peary's polar explorations Henson worked closely with Inuit guides and learned from the guides arctic survival techniques. During the 1908-1909 expedition he was part of the group to reach the North Pole, and claims to have been the first in the team to arrive.

After the expedition he wrote of his experiences in A Negro Explorer at the North Pole. He also became the first black member of The Explorers Club and posthumously received the Hubbard Medal from the National Geographic Society.

Access Spotlight - Chicana in Nature

Susana Cruz is a Dallas native who launched Chicana in Nature to create a space where minorities can learn to love nature and connect more with the greenspaces around them and afar. Cruz leads hikes around the North Texas area as well as camping trips geared towards engaging families in nature. She's also a great Instagram follow!

Learn more about Chicana in Nature here: https://chicanainnature.com/
Equity Resource Spotlight - The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham

In this book Drew Lanham discusses his experiences growing up on a farm in South Carolina and his experiences as a black man working in conservation today.

TCiN Partner Job Postings
As many of our friends and partners are looking for their next opportunity we will share some postings that have been shared with us.

Hill Country Alliance - looking for both a Water Program Manager and a Night Sky Coordinator https://www.hillcountryalliance.org/careers/

Cibolo Center for Conservation - looking for a Communications and Marketing Coordinator: https://cibolo.org/about/staff
Upcoming Regional Meetings
  • Austin: email Addie to find out more
  • Houston: email Amanda to find out more
  • Meets every other Friday
  • North Texas: email Haily to find out more
  • March 25
  • Rio Grande Valley: email Bianca to find out more
  • San Antonio: email Thea to find out more
  • March 24
Resource News
Keep Texas Beautiful Community Awards

The Governor's Achievement Awards offer 10 winning cities a share of $2 million depending on population size.

Announcements
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