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TPWD News Release — Oct. 20, 2017

Champions of Children in Nature Recognized at Summit and Awards Luncheon in San Antonio

AUSTIN — Texas Children in Nature (TCiN) is honoring four recipients of the 2017 Champions of Children in Nature at the first Summit and Champions Award Luncheon in San Antonio Nov.7-8.

The summit will bring together leaders from the conservation, education, health and youth development communities for two days of learning about the latest research, sharing innovations and turning inspiration into action. Registration is still open for the summit on the TCiN website.

This year, TCiN is recognizing one individual and three organizations for their outstanding work to improve the lives of children through a connection with nature. Each Champion has made considerable contributions toward achieving the TCiN goals of enhancing education methods to include more time outdoors, improving the health and wellness of children and families, creating a sense of place and community, and expanding access to nature in Texas.

This year’s champions are:

Peggy Carnahan – Her efforts include creating Project ACORN for kids in San Antonio so they could learn more about the nature they live and play in every day. Peggy is the Director of the Center for Mathematics at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio. She is a lifelong educator who believes all lessons can be taught outdoors.

City of San Antonio – For providing myriad opportunities to children and families to improve their health while enjoying and learning about the city’s natural resources. In addition to making parks more accessible to children with all abilities, they offer programs such as Starting Out Wild and the Mayor’s Fitness Council which contributed to the health and wellness of the families of San Antonio.

San Antonio Zoo — For their innovations in creating a sense of place for children at the Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot and Zoo Pre-School, while also teaching them about local nature and wildlife from around the world.

Texas Wildlife Association – Their vision to support private landowners who wish to share their passion for hunting and heritage with kids through their Texas Youth Hunting Program has been instrumental in helping more than 600,000 children every year gain access to the outdoors.

Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be the master of ceremonies with support from Amy Contreras, Executive Director, International Tax Service at Ernst and Young.

TCiN is a program of TPWD which has created a network of over 370 organizations to focus on improving the connection between children and Texans of all ages with nature.

The roots of this effort began in 2006 when a group of concerned professionals began meeting in response to the revelations of the watershed book by Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods. The book concludes that exposure to nature is vital for healthy childhood development and the physical and emotional health of children and adults. Further investigations confirmed the alarming impact on children held true for Texas. What was also evident was that it was a solvable problem.

The Texas Children In Nature Summit is made possible with the financial support of major sponsors including Toyota and the San Antonio Zoo with additional support from Audubon Texas, the City of San Antonio Parks & Recreation and San Antonio River Authority. For more information please visit the TCiN website.

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