SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg has become the newest addition to the board of directors for the national nonprofit organization Children and Nature Network, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department officials announced today.
The Children and Nature Network (C&NN) works to increase equitable access to nature so that children can thrive by changing the systems that impact children’s lives including cities, schools, youth and family programs.
A growing body of research has asserted that spending time in nature is essential for supporting the healthy development of children, from academic achievement to social and emotional benefits, to improved physical and mental health outcomes.
“Children thrive when they have consistent access to the unbridled play that nature-rich spaces provide. That’s why closing disparities and increasing outdoor access for kids in underserved communities is paramount,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Serving on the C&NN Board of Directors will allow me to share my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for this movement on a larger scale.”
“The Children & Nature Network is thrilled to have Phil join our board of directors at this exciting time in the organization’s development. Phil knows the power of our work firsthand and will be an important voice in helping other cities replicate effective children and nature initiatives as he has done in San Francisco,” C&NN Board of Directors Chair Jesús Aguirre said.
Since 2009, Ginsburg has led the SF Rec and Park Department to make transformational improvements to the public realm, along with making equity and increased access to public recreation and nature the department’s primary objective. During his tenure, the department has created robust programs, policies, methods, and partnerships that focus on welcoming underrepresented visitors into urban open spaces, ensuring equitable access to nature for all.
Ginsburg is a founding member and executive co-chair of the collaborative SF Children and Nature. It was created in 2016 when C&NN and the advocacy organization the National League of Cities chose San Francisco as one of seven cities nationwide to participate in the inaugural initiative Cities Connecting Children to Nature.
Today, SF Children and Nature consists of over 30 local organizations and city agencies. In collaboration with its partners, SF Children and Nature works to address the disparities in nature access along socioeconomic and racial lines to ensure all children have the opportunity to play, learn and grow in the outdoors.
Some accomplishments include developing and promoting Nature Exploration Areas across the city, including at Heron’s Head Park, Golden Gate Heights Park, and Randolph and Bright Mini Park; enhancing nature play spaces at early childhood centers and family childcare homes, with more sites on the way; and hosting Nature Play Days and Create-with-Nature programs at community events and local parks.