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‘Nature Play’ Advocate to Lecture at Penn College Tuesday


Ken FinchNature’s role in children’s health is the topic of a free presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium at Pennsylvania College of Technology, sponsored by the college’s Earth Smart Club in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators.

Ken Finch’s lecture, “The Play Imperative: Restoring the Nature of Childhood,” will consider how nature deficit leads to problems in children’s health and well-being and how to look for solutions. Finch is the president/founder of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing children and nature back together.

At 11 a.m. that day, Finch is a scheduled guest on WRAK’s “The Ken Sawyer Show” airing on 1200 and 1400 AM.

Green Hearts Inc., founded in 2005 in Omaha, Neb., is in the planning process for its signature project: a nationwide network of nature preschools sited in multi-acre green spaces, where students will play and explore daily, rain or shine. The organization also is working on landscape designs to facilitate “nature play,” with educational advocacy of childhood play in natural areas and as a consulting adviser for groups interested in starting their own preschools or developing nature-play features.

Finch who holds a master’s degree in environmental education from Antioch University-New England Graduate School, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Dickinson College in Carlisle also has served as executive director of the Audubon Society Minnesota, the state office of the National Audubon Society.

He has received the Excellence in Science Education award from the National Science Teachers Association, the President’s Award from the Association of Nature Center Administrators and regional recognition from the U.S. Department of Education as an “Education Hero.”

A meet-and-greet reception with refreshments will follow the question-and-answer portion of the presentation, which is based on Richard Louv’s book, “The Last Child in the Woods.” For more information, contact Debra A. Buckman, Earth Smart co-adviser and assistant professor of environmental technology in Penn College’s School of Natural Resources Management, at (570) 320-2400, ext. 3526, or by e-mail .

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