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Ben Klasky
Ben Klasky is the President and CEO of IslandWood, an innovative nonprofit organization that introduces thousands of low-income children to the outdoors each year. He is committed to serving at-risk youth, having led nature outings for children from Harlem and Chinatown in New York, and having taught in an under-resourced Louisiana school district through Teach For America.

Ben teaches a graduate course on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs. He co-founded the first Board Fellows program, while earning an MBA and a Masters in Education at Stanford University. And, he is the co-founder of Camp Galileo – the largest set of day camps in Northern California. Please check out Ben’s TEDx Talk entitled “Get Hooked on Nature” and follow him on Twitter.

Entries by Ben Klasky

Earth Day 2016 Headlines -- From Pink Moons to Finding Human Skulls

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 12:22 AM

In 1969, when a major oil spill took place off the coast of Santa Barbara, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was inspired to build public awareness about the impact we humans were having on the environment. This was an era of protests against the Vietnam War and music festivals like...

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Boots in the Woods

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 11:32 AM

Throughout much of my career, I've worked to introduce children to the outdoors. On a weekly basis, I have seen how time spent outside builds confidence, boosts health and sparks enthusiasm for learning. It's wonderful to witness how much nature can give our kids... and it's just as rewarding to...

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Turning Black Friday to Green

(2) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 10:28 AM


It's the week of Thanksgiving, which means that Black Friday is also looming around the corner. By now there's a good chance you've heard that national retailer REI plans to close all 140+ of its stores on the biggest shopping day of the...

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5 Real Headlines for Environmental Education

(4) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 4:20 PM


I recently received a letter from the Sierra Club featuring glossy pictures of grizzly bears and jaguars. A bold heading declared: Once They're Gone...They're Lost Forever.

The conservation movement is adept at generating provocative campaigns that inspire people to take action. In...

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Environmental Education: Deep in the Heart of the City

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 4:27 PM

Earlier this week, I was a guest blogger for the Children and Nature Network. The piece has been well received, so I thought I'd share it with my HuffPost readers here:

Environmental Education as we know it today began in the '60s-with the same energy that spawned the...

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Veterans Finding a New Outlook Outdoors

(1) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 5:55 PM

Joshua Brandon was searching for peace. In 2009, after three combat tours in Iraq, Brandon had earned a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars with Valor Device, and was finally returning home. He was decorated and distinguished, but in his own words "washed up" as he was learning to survive...

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The Best Outdoor Apps for Kids

(1) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 11:33 PM

I'm pleased that this piece which I published last month has sparked considerable conversation about the potential for smartphones to encourage outdoor play. Many people have since asked what specific apps I have in mind. Here's a list of my favorites (most are available free to download):

  1. Geocaching...
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Connecting With Nature? There's an App for That

(6) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 2:48 PM

How would you feel if you were asked to turn in your mobile phone while entering a national park? Would it help you connect more deeply with nature? That's exactly what New Forest National Park in Great Britain has done, as they've jumped on the anti-technology bandwagon. The park has...

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Thinking Outside the Lucite Box: A Case for Experiential Education

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 3:30 PM

As I entered my first year in the classroom, a veteran teacher offered me some advice: "Don't smile until December." This was her not-so-subtle hint at how to maintain order in school. And so I began teaching with a clear vision for my class: my students would sit still at...

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School's Back in Session - May the Deep Learning Continue

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 3:59 PM


As Labor Day approached a couple weeks ago, I took my two boys fishing. There was no blackboard or chalk at the lake; no textbooks or worksheets; no official science lab kits; and no tests. And although we weren't in a formal classroom,...

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Your Couch Is Far More Dangerous Than You Think

(1) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 3:34 PM

Why are we so afraid to let our kids play outside, when we know that such activity is vital for their physical and mental health? Our fears are so extreme that in a few cases, parents have been arrested for allowing their children to play outside unattended. My mother would...

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Our Children Deserve As Much Outdoor Time as Inmates and Chickens

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:28 PM

What if we had a remedy that could solve some of the toughest physical and mental health problems we face today? What if all of the side effects of this cure were actually good for you? We have such a solution - and it's called the "Great Outdoors."

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