Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

Slow News: Nickelodeon Networks to Go Dark to Encourage Play. First Lady to Pull Plug

It’s rare for a TV station to opt to go completely dark in the middle of a day, but that’s exactly what children’s network Nickelodeon, its sister networks Nicktoons, Nick Jr. and TeenNick, and its affiliated websites are going to do for three hours tomorrow in an effort to encourage children to go out and play.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who has done a lot of work to fight childhood obesity and encourage kids to play outside with her Let’s Move campaign, is going to symbolically pull the plug on the station at Noon, Eastern Time and Pacific Time.

The event marks the 7th Worldwide Day of Play, an effort begun in 2004 by Nickelodeon. Last year this announcement appeared on participating TV stations for 3 hours:

Today is Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play! Turn off your TV, shut down your computer, put down that cell phone-yes, YOU! and go ALL OUT! We’ll see you back here at 3!

It’s a great message and it’s terrific that it comes from a TV station, for whom time is definitely money.

Saturday, September 25, also marks Nature Rocks Day, and National Public Lands Day (U.S.). The entire week is Take a Child Outside Week. So if you’re looking for an organized activity or a way to help your public lands, one is available. If you just want to get outside and have fun, here’s hoping you have a pretty early Fall day during which to do that!

Photo: Evan Vucci, AP, Susan Sachs Lipman

You might also like: Slow News: New White House Programs Support Children’s Nutrition & Play

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Slow News: New White House Programs Support Children’s Nutrition & Play

Exciting news for those who care about children’s health and nutrition and the movement to get kids outside to play — The Obama Administration has revealed two important new programs that address children’s health and well-being: President Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” Initiative, which he signed Friday, April 16, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to eradicate childhood obesity.

I wrote about both of these on the Children & Nature Network blog. Here is President Obama signing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative:

The White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, at which the signing took place, offered an exciting day of speeches and panel discussions. These revealed that the current administration cares deeply about the environment and the generation of children who are set to inherit American lands, as well as their stewardship. Said President Obama:

When we see America’s land, we understand what an incredible bounty that we have been given.  And it’s our obligation to make sure that the next generation enjoys that same bounty.

We’ll help families spend more time outdoors, building on what the First Lady has done through the “Let’s Move” initiative to encourage young people to hike and bike and get outside more often.

There was plenty of inspiration offered by many speakers, including this from Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa Jackson:

Our open spaces have inspired our artists and encouraged our pioneers.

It was thrilling to me to listen along at home and hear our land and open spaces being revered by such a powerful group that was convened for the day at the White House, for the purpose of promoting nature for its beauty and value to people of all ages. My “play-by-play” coverage of the conference is here.

The other great recent White House development is Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and its April 9 Childhood Obesity Summit, which I was able to watch by live podcast. The Summit was an extremely encouraging event. The “Let’s Move” Campaign centers around the availability of healthy food, in schools and all neighborhoods, information and resources for parents, and physical activity.

Michelle Obama has noted that her work in the White House vegetable garden, in addition to her own family’s experiences trying to work good nutrition and health into a busy lifestyle, encouraged her to begin her campaign.

I was very cheered that outdoor play was revealed as an important part of the campaign and the efforts of high-level government officials.

Here’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, from his opening remarks:

If you want our students to be much more successful academically, they have to be active.

He called for “more well-rounded educations for children” and those, he noted, include P.E. and recess. This is a sea change away from the culture of academic pressure and achievement that has permeated the American school system over the recent past.

According to Interior Secretary Salazar:

We need to get our young people and our society as a whole more connected to the outdoors than they have been.

A whole “breakout” discussion then centered about physical activity and play, which is one of the platforms of the “Let’s Move” campaign. That session included discussions of such positive things as ways to deal with parental fear about outdoor play, increased access to natural spaces in suburban and urban settings, location of parks near schools and homes, safe routes to schools and parks, available transportation to green spaces, access to activities beyond organized sports, resources for parents, and a culture of increased walking instead of driving for short distances.

All of these issues concerning green spaces and communities, walking, play, and access to fresh, healthy food, are connected to the Slow Movement.

Again, this was at the White House.

My blog post about the Childhood Obesity Summit is here.

Complete video coverage of the Summit is available on the White House site. (From the front page of the Video section, search for “Obesity Summit”.)

Photos: The White House

Slow News Day: Michelle Obama – First Gardener, Foodie, Childrens Health Advocate

flotus_garden1_blog

This has been a big year for the Slow Food movement, with some high-profile help from First Lady Michelle Obama.

In June, the Obama White House broke ground for its organic kitchen garden (involving local schoolchildren in the process), the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden in the 1940s.

I wrote about it on Slow Family Online, in a story about the bumper crop of home gardeners.

The above picture of First Lady Michelle Obama and children in the garden appeared in the White House blog. Food from the garden is feeding the White House, as well as homeless recipients at Washington, D.C.’s Miriam’s Kitchen.

The blog, Eat The View, offers an entertaining round-up of the White House Garden, and other Edible Landscape campaigns.

In September, the First Lady went a step further, inaugurating the first ever weekly farmers market on the White House lawn, allowing visitors the opportunity to purchase fresh food directly from the farmers who grew it. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was on hand for the opening, and he spoke about the importance of eating fresh, locally-grown food.

Says Mother Earth News:

The White House farmers market serves as a symbol to the rest of the United States that the current administration is supportive of small food producers and sustainable, healthy food systems.

The 2009 White House Farmers Market ran through October and will resume again in the spring.

This week, Michelle Obama decided to raise awareness of the importance of fresh, healthy food another way — by announcing a campaign aimed at curbing childhood obesity. She told the U.S. Conference of Mayors, “Obesity in this country is nothing less than a public health crisis” and said that healthier habits were imperative to the next generation of children. In addition, they needn’t be expensive to undertake. Her campaign will include specific programs like improved school lunches.

You might want to visit Slow Food USA for more information on the Time for Lunch Campaign to improve school lunches.

If you are remotely a foodie or White House follower, you will want to follow the Obama Foodarama blog, which keeps up with both. Given the Obama White House’s emphasis on fresh food and good health, there is certain to be no shortage of news.

Photos: The White House/Joyce N. Boghosian, AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta. Art: National War Garden Commission/US Department of Agriculture, 1917-19.