“No Child Left Inside”

Kalamazoo

A “No Child Left Inside” initiative at the Kalamazoo Nature Center has done a project using Geographic Information System technology and U.S. Census data to “green map” local park space relative to at-risk youth populations.

Studies have shown that kids today spend more than 40 hours a week with computers, TV, video games and other electronic media, and more than one in five children are obese. The NCLI initiative is part of a movement to give local children more outdoor play time — linked to better grades, better behavior and better health.

The GIS images from the project have shown a lack of quality park land in Kalamazoo neighborhoods where factors like high population density and low average income combine to make children more vulnerable to not getting enough outdoor play time. The information gathered will be used to make improvements in the area and hopefully eventually solve the problem at hand.

You can check out NCLI GIS maps of Kalamazoo at any of the following Web sites:

www.naturecenter.org
www.childrenandnature.org
www.tpl.org

For more information about how you can help the Kalamazoo NCLI initiative, please visit www.naturecenter.org.

Melissa Lawrence, Rutgers Student Intern, VERTICES, LLC

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