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U. S. Forest Service Helps Two Denver Early Learning Programs Receive National Recognition as Certified Nature Explore Classrooms

date 04/09/15



For more information, contact

Arbor Day Foundation Anthony Marek amarek@arborday.org

Nebraska City, Neb. (April 9, 2015)--Hope Center, and Warren Village Learning Center infant and toddler program, located in Denver, Colorado, each is earning national certification as a Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. The outdoor classrooms were made possible with the generous financial support from the U.S. Forest Service in collaboration with Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Office of the City Forester.

Nature Explore Certification plaques will be presented at dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the centers on April 14, 2015.

Hope Center is a community-based agency that provides educational and vocational opportunities for special needs and at-risk children and youth from 2 1/2 to adulthood. Their mission is to match every child to programs and services specific to their needs.

Warren Village helps motivated, previously homeless single parent families to move from public assistance to personal and economic self-sufficiency through subsidized housing, on-site child care, educational guidance and career development.

"The U.S. Forest Service has a deep commitment to connecting children with nature, especially those from underserved communities," Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation, said. "Their leadership and financial support made these wonderful outdoor classrooms possible."

"Nature Explore Classrooms are an effective way to bring nature into children's daily lives. We're very pleased that the Forest Service, and the national urban forestry network, are so supportive of this important work," Lambe added.

Hope Center and Warren Village are part of a growing network of organizations that have created effective nature-based outdoor learning environments for children. This network allows for idea-sharing, peer support and continuous development. More information about these outdoor classrooms may be found at natureexplore.org/certified.

Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature. Certified Nature Explore Classrooms help fill the void by integrating research-based outdoor learning opportunities into children's daily lives.

The outdoor classrooms, which are being developed across the country, offer interactive elements such as musical instruments made of natural materials, garden or pathway areas, and natural materials for building and creating art. Children who learn and grow in Certified Nature Explore Classrooms enhance concentration, develop creativity and problem-solving, relieve stress, and improve skills in many areas of development.

The first Nature Explore Classroom is located at Arbor Day Farm, the Arbor Day Foundation's interactive conservation venue in Nebraska City, Nebraska. More information about Nature Explore can be found at natureexplore.org.

About Arbor Day Foundation: Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.

About Dimensions Educational Research Foundation: The goal of the non-profit Dimensions Educational Research Foundation is to transform children's lives by providing meaningful daily connections with nature.

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