Inauguration of the San Francisco Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights

October 17th, 2014 — 10:35am


Saturday, October 18,  Noon to 3 pm
Mountain Lake Park (in the Presidio)

Celebrate the inauguration and kick-off of the San Francisco Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, a new charter promoting outdoor experiences for all kids growing up in the city. Following a ceremony at noon (at which everyone will be invited to sign a giant version of this Bill of Rights) “explore and play” activities will include lawn games, tree climbing, wildlife exploration, the Aquarium of the Bay mobile, zoo creatures and much, much more. Join the fun and be a part of this special history-making event for San Franciscan kids! The list of experiences identified on this Outdoor Bill of Rights are the result of a three-year project that culminated in a voting campaign that reached schools, community groups and families representing all corners of the city. More info at

Where the Green Dragon Grows…

April 28th, 2013 — 10:53pm

A special welcome to URBIA, Marinhood families! Download the activity page for a self-guided adventure of family fun at Green Gulch Farm at the Green Dragon Zen Temple near Muir Beach (note: Muir Beach parking lot is closed until November 2013)

click here: URBIA Activity Page GREEN GULCH


Mission Creek Mystery: A New San Francisco Family Adventure

January 15th, 2013 — 10:57am



























URBIA has teamed up with Bay Nature Magazine to create a new FamiliesAfield adventure. On Saturday, January 19th from 10 a.m.-noon, there will be a special event at Mission Creek just a few blocks upstream from the Giants’ baseball stadium. Staff will welcome families and send them on their way to explore this hidden gem of urban nature. Register for this free event by clicking on this link


New Bay Nature Magazine-URBIA Adventure: “Shoreline Spotting!”

September 15th, 2012 — 10:53pm

URBIA has teamed up with Bay Nature Magazine to create a new FamiliesAfield adventure. On Saturday, October 20th from 10 a.m.-noon, there will be a special event at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland (map: Staff will welcome families and send them on their way to explore this hidden gem of urban nature. Register for this free event by clicking on this link

Presidio Earth Stroll

April 15th, 2012 — 12:11am

Saturday April 21st 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Crissy Field Center

1199 East Beach

This year Earth Stroll will provide multiple, fun-filled activities, for families with kids of all ages. From tortilla making, to nature sculpture, to live animal demonstrations from WildCare, to musicians on bicycles (featuring Sunday Streets featured, bike-powered El Arbol, a musical tree bicycle!), there is something for everyone in your family to enjoy. As with each Earth Stroll, the goal is to spark curiosity, creativity and fun movement in the outdoors. Pacific Leadership Institute will create a new obstacle course adventure, named Park Pursuit: a challenge for minds and bodies depending on which route participants choose. Bring your team spirit!

El Polin Discovery

Special Family Adventure in the Heart of the City: January 28th

December 29th, 2011 — 3:44pm

Join Urbia Adventure League and Bay Nature on for a special indoor-outdoor urban nature event hosted by the Randall Museum!

Drop in 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to explore Corona Heights’ natural areas and pick up the adventure booklet “Wayfinding on Rocky Mountain” (Bay Nature special: $4). Urbia and Bay Nature teams will be there with more fun activities, too. Plus you can take part in Randall Museum programs on local geology and urban wildlife, see live native California animals, and even help plant native plants!

Since we have indoor and outdoor activities, this event will go ahead rain or shine. If you plan to take part in the native plant restoration, wear clothes that can get dirty and bring some garden gloves if you have them (though that’s not mandatory).

RSVP appreciated to

Engaging Our Grounds

September 14th, 2011 — 11:21pm

Conference: September 16–18, 2011,

Berkeley & San Francisco, California

The green schoolyard movement is growing rapidly and flourishing around the world. Schools near and far are reimagining their grounds, replacing their extensive paved surfaces with a vibrant mosaic of outdoor learning and play opportunities. Schools in many different countries are leaders in this field, finding innovative ways to weave curricula into their landscapes, diversify their recreational offerings, enhance their local ecology, and reflect their unique location and cultural context. The first International Green Schoolyard Conference held in the United States will be happening this weekend! Invited visionary leaders of the school ground movement from Europe, North America, and Japan will share their experiences, case studies, and best practices. For more info visit

Richard Louv’s Well-Being Rx: Reconnect with Nature

May 4th, 2011 — 12:31am

By April Thompson [This article appears in the April 2011 issue of Natural Awakenings]

If it’s true that people are self-interested creatures at heart, journalist Richard Louv has a message for humankind: Think not only what we can do for nature, but what nature can do for us.

Louv’s seminal book, Last Child in the Woods, launched a national dialogue about the disconnection between children and nature, a state he calls nature-deficit disorder. Now, in The Nature Principle, Louv vividly portrays how a nature-infused lifestyle can enhance the quality of our health and relationships, benefiting every facet of experience. He asserts that the more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need, and offers a roadmap to a future that incorporates nature into every aspect of our lives, from our homes to our workplaces.

The recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, Louv is the author of eight books, and the founder of the Children & Nature Network.

You cite many instances of nature’s power to heal and restore us mentally, emotionally, physically and even intellectually. How does science account for this?

Healers have known about the importance of nature to our health and well-being for thousands of years, but scientists have only in recent years begun to study the benefits of what I call, “vitamin N.” Still, the preliminary research indicates overwhelmingly positive correlations between human health and intelligence and nature.

For example, a University of Illinois study of urban children with attention deficit disorder found that even a little exposure to nature can have a positive effect on ADD. Several other studies indicate that walking in natural areas improves our mental and physical health. Researchers from Sweden and England have compared exercising in indoor and outdoor settings learned that expending the same amount of energy in these different environments provides different results, with green exercise offering added value. Science can’t yet tell us the causes and mechanisms behind these correlations, yet we know enough to act.

Technology permeates every aspect of our lives today. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that American youth spend an average of 53 hours a week using entertainment media. So we have to consciously bring more nature into our lives—not just to escape technology’s documented negative effects, but also to access the positive benefits that nature provides.
It’s not a case of nature versus technology, however; it’s a matter of balance. The “hybrid mind” can access the benefits of both, facilitating skills in big-picture thinking.

You assert that reconnecting with nature also strengthens community and family bonds, but where can busy urbanites start?

Often, families want to connect with nature but don’t know how. We offer free tools at to help you start a family nature club organized around prearranged nature play dates. One club has 600 families. This helps create meaningful social bonding within and between families. It’s something any family can do, regardless of location or income, and it’s good fun.

What roles do governments play in preserving a nature-balanced world?

All have a role to play. Urban planners a hundred years ago planned cities around nature. It’s not a new idea; we’ve just forgotten.

Nature can offer cost-effective solutions to some of the problems cash-strapped governments face. For example, it costs a lot to tear up a canyon and put in a new stormwater system, but a lot less to develop a system that takes advantage of the natural watershed.

People often think about nature as somewhere else, like a state park or wilderness area, yet you point out the need to re-imagine our own yards and neighborhoods. What can we do to enhance the local habitats that ultimately sustain us?

We often overlook the nature where we live, work and play. In 2008, for the first time in history, more people on Earth were living in urban, rather than rural areas. That means if we are going to have meaningful experiences with nature, we are going to have to rethink nature within cities.

Looking forward, conservation measures alone won’t be enough to get us where we need to be. We need to start recreating nature in order to protect the biodiversity that all creatures need, humans included. We can start in our backyards by replacing lawns with flowers and native plants that will bring back sustainable migration routes for birds and butterflies.

Acting on The Nature Principle is an optimistic way of looking at the future. It’s not just about survival; it’s creating a way of life that is profoundly all-around better for all of us.

Create With Nature in the Presidio

December 4th, 2010 — 2:31am

A free family event
Saturday December 11th
drop-in 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Celebrate winter with a Create With Nature outdoor sculpture making event for families. From fairy-sized huts to large palm tree frond teepees, kids and grown-ups alike will get creative with natural materials at the newly renovated Rob Hill Campground in the Presidio. The ingredients for the day include wood, leaves, stone, pine cones, bark, branches, water, and imagination.

Bring a picnic lunch or snack!

A Special Sneak Preview of Adventure No. 4!

July 5th, 2010 — 12:25pm

A Midsummer URBIA Adventure at Stern Grove

Wednesday August 4th

Come pilot the newest self-guided family Adventure No. 4 at Stern Grove! From the famed grove of giant trees, work as a team to follow clues along the course of an ancient creek to discover a gem nestled in the bottom of the valley: one of San Francisco’s only true natural lakes.

Drop-in from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the URBIA table at the tent area east of the stage (to pick up an adventure packet).

Please RSVP by emailing This is a stroller friendly event appropriate for all kids up through elementary school age.

A small sliding scale donation will cover printing costs and a free subscription for a year of URBIA Adventures will be raffled.The first three adventure booklets will be available too!

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