UF partners with local and national agencies to offer interactive outdoor experiences for kids

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

Through a partnership between the Blue Ridge Foundation’s Kids in Parks Program, University of Florida, USDA Forest Service and City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, “something of the marvelous” has been brought to Gainesville in the form of Track Trails, a network of family-friendly outdoor adventures that engage children with nature and promote healing and wellness.

Gainesville is well known for its natural beauty and the abundance of state parks, preserves, conservation areas and public gardens that cultivate the outdoor explorer in locals and visitors alike. Yet in our increasingly digital culture, more and more children are choosing their favorite video game or binging the latest Netflix hit over playing outdoors. Research shows that spending time outdoors and in the presence of nature has countless benefits for personal wellness across the lifespan, from physical and mental health to emotional and behavioral wellbeing. But how can children foster a deeper connection to their natural environment in our progressively more “plugged-in” world?


Katarina Fiorentino August 22, 2022