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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should Missouri communities take the Children in Nature Challenge?

Healthy, happy children are the most precious resources of any community. Today’s children, however, suffer from a disconnection with nature and the outdoors. Reconnecting them with nature can improve a child’s sense of well-being and mental abilities; it can encourage physical activity that reduces obesity; and it can help build lifelong understanding and concern for the care of our natural resources.

How will award-winning communities be recognized?

Each award-winning community will receive a 24 x 30 inch roadside sign to display and efforts highlighted on the Children in Nature website.

What does a community need to submit for the award?

A community needs to submit the following in a report format.

  1. Community checklist indicating what activities were completed for the necessary 150 points to become a Children in Nature community.
  2. Description of activities and events in relation to the checklist and the number of children participating.
  3. Description of awareness efforts and audiences reached.
  4. Additional materials that help showcase the results and impact on your community.

What is the entry deadline for this annual recognition award?

There is no defined deadline. Once your community as completed the criteria, complete your report and submit.  

Must communities work independently?

No. Smaller communities may create one Challenge action team and submit a joint entry form in order to combine resources (trails, local park systems, local natural areas, schools, grants, etc.) to connect their children with nature.

What state agencies are involved in the Children in Nature Community Challenge and what programs do they offer to help a community achieve the award?

Links to participating state agencies and their programs are available at

How can a community use natural play spaces and/or community green space to connect children with nature?

Communities may already have green spaces that could attract children but may just need additional features to encourage more use. Among the many things communities could do include: Create a Nature Explore Classroom™ or children’s garden, enhance walking or nature trails, visit a local city park, state park or nature center, etc. 

Does development of organized sports fields count towards Challenge criteria?

No.  There are many programs to encourage youth sports. However, the goal of this Challenge is to create opportunities for children to explore and become connected to nature through free play, nature hikes, nature programs, hands-on experiences for students, etc.

What is Discover Nature Schools program?

You can learn more about this program (which includes nature education units, teacher training, grants for field experiences and more) by visiting Discover Nature Schools.

Where can I learn more about the field trip opportunities through Missouri State Parks?

You can learn more about this programs students by visiting Missouri State Parks.

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