The health and welfare of Oregon's children is in decline and this decline is strongly linked to the limited opportunities that modern children have for free play. Today, more than one quarter of Oregon eighth-graders is overweight or obese and one in 10 children suffers from mental illness.
On September 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15, a consortium of organizations and advocates is hosting a series of events directed at increasing public awareness of the important role that free and outdoor play has in the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive health of our children. We invite you to participate in these "wild" events and hope you will join us!
The events are organized around a visit to Portland by Nature's Marketing Director, David Bond, who is founder of the U.K.'s Wild Network and the director of the play-based British documentary film Project Wild Thing. The schedule of events in which David Bond will participate is as follows:
- Thursday, September 11, 9 AM – 1:30 PM: Tour of Nature Play Parks. Learning Landscapes will host a tour of selected Portland nature play parks. The tour will include stops at nature play areas in the Portland Metro area. (Details and registration information here.)
- Friday, September 12, 1:00 – 5:00 PM: Portland Children's Play Swarm – Kaiser Town Hall. Nature's Marketing Director, David Bond will lead a gathering of Nature's Marketing Department. Participants will work in small groups to collaboratively discuss and create ideas to connect children to nature and improve their health through improved opportunities for free play. Hosted by Kaiser Permanente and Playworks. (Details and registration information here.)
- Saturday, September 13, Pre-show begins at 5:30: Movies-in-the-Park screening of Project Wild Thing – Sewellcrest Park. Portland Parks and Recreation will feature Project Wild Thing as the season finale to its Movies-in-the-Park series. There will be music, information tables, games for children, and an appearance by David Bond. The free screening begins at dusk. (More information here.)
- Sunday, September 14, Pre-show begins at 5:45: A WILD Excursion to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Gifford Pinchot National Forest will host a special screening of Project Wild Thing at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Come spend the day at one of the Pacific Northwest's most iconic natural symbols, Mount St. Helens, then grab a seat in the outdoor amphitheater for a 5:45 PM presentation by David Bond. The 82-minute film will begin screening in the observatory theater at 6:30 PM. (Details and registration information here.)
- Monday, September 15, 9 AM – 8 PM: Regional Nature Play and Education Symposium – Oregon Zoo. Hosted by Metro, this educational event is divided into separate morning and afternoon sessions. You may attend both sessions or choose between them. There will be a reception from 5 – 6:30 PM followed by a screening of Project Wild Thing. Food and beverages will be served. (Symposium speakers, agenda and registration details here.)
For more information, please visit www.pnwtax.com and click on Project Wild Thing.