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University of Wisconsin-Superior

Belknap and Catlin
P.O. Box 2000
Superior, WI 54880

ph. 715-394-8260

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Fun, outdoor learning for children with LSNERR

Posted on Jun 7, 2013
Nature playgroup offered by the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
click to enlarge
Fun, outdoor learning for children with LSNERR

The Lake Superior NERR will be offering "River Rovers" a nature playgroup for children ages 3-7 again this summer. River Rovers begins on Wednesday, June 12th and runs every Wednesday until August 28th. The playgroup meets at Billings Park in Superior (at the end of North 21st Street) from 9am - 12pm, for a fun-filled nature themed morning including snacks, supervised playtime, stories and activities.

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve based in Superior, WI is taking steps to engage the local community. Education Coordinator Deanna Erickson commented, "One of our long-term goals is to connect our community with our nearby natural areas, especially the St. Louis River freshwater estuary." A needs assessment conducted by Lake Superior NERR showed that very few environmental programs in Superior offered activities for preschool-aged children.

Why the nature theme? Research shows that nature play offers many benefits to young children. One study conducted over a year compared motor skill development with children whose preschool spent two hours a day in the natural outdoors vs. traditional playground for playtime. By the end of the year, students that played in natural areas outperformed their playground peers on tests of physical ability such as balance and strength. Others studies have shown that when children are exposed to the outdoors at an early age, brain development increases for problem solving and creative thinking as well as increasing chances of becoming life-long outdoor enthusiasts.

Deanna noted, "Opportunities for children to play in nature help our community to connect to the St. Louis River and are a great experience for families." Parents and caretakers can bring children the day of the program without registering, and drop them off with certified education staff. The Reserve appreciates a donation of $5 to help provide materials and snacks for the children. For more information on River Rovers Nature Playgroup, call LSNERR at (715) 392-3141.

News Contact: Tom Hansen | 715-394-8260 | thansen7{atuws}
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