Reconnecting children with nature, focus of talk on Oct. 1


BRATTLEBORO >> Martin LeBlanc, a leading voice in the movement to reconnect children and nature, will speak at Oak Meadow Independent Learning on Oct. 1, following Oak Meadow's annual open house in the Brooks House Atrium.

His talk will focus on the importance of teaching youth to become "natural leaders" and stewards of the earth. A co-founder of the Children and Nature Network and senior advisor of CN&N's Natural Leaders, LeBlanc is inspired by the vision of Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder and The Nature Principle."

LeBlanc is also senior vice president of external affairs at IslandWood, on the board of directors of Northwest Outward Bound, former national youth director for the Sierra Club, and founding member of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.

As a teenager, LeBlanc's own life was turned around through an outdoor experience. Since then, he has gained experience in government and the non-profit sector to unite diverse partners toward the goal of giving each child an outdoor experience.

For 10 years, LeBlanc worked with the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest conservation organization in the United States. Most recently he was the National youth director. In this role, he introduced more than 200,000 children to the outdoors and established non-traditional alliances with the military, educational groups and health organizations. He was instrumental in establishing the Outdoor Alliance for Kids, a national partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with the common interest of expanding opportunities to get kids and families outside.

Martin has built relationships with the Obama White House Administration, including the Department of Interior's Office of Youth, and the First Lady's "Let's Move Initiative." Martin helped organize President Obama's June 2009 kickoff event for the United We Serve initiative in Washington, D.C.

LeBlanc earned his BA in Political Science from American University of Washington, D.C., and an MA in Environment, Culture, and Society from Lancaster University in England. For more information, visit


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