GUB Director Mara Mintzer listens to third grader share her ideas.

CEDaR's Growing Up Boulder program spins off as a nonprofit

March 11, 2021

For the past 12 years Growing Up Boulder was a part of CU Boulder's  Community Engagement, Design and Research (CEDaR) Center. Now one of the most successful child-friendly city initiatives in the world, GUB is transitioning to an independent nonprofit, a model for how the university can develop, nurture and then spin off nonprofit activities.

A drawing of a bee by a Colorado license plate

Contest opens for designing new Colorado pollinator license plate

March 4, 2021

Pollinator-themed designs are now being accepted for a new Colorado license plate honoring bees. Pollinators are necessary for many crops and sustain many of the wildflowers and flowering trees and shrubs on Colorado’s wildlands, says Louise Chawla, CEDaR fellow and professor emerita in the Program in Environmental Design. Chawla serves on the leadership committee of People and Pollinators Action Network, a statewide group that works for healthy ecosystems and biodiverse habitat for pollinators.

Louise Chawla

Louise Chawla gives opening speech for Strasbourg's Festival of Early Infancy

Feb. 24, 2021

In February 2021, Louise Chawla, CEDaR fellow and professor emerita in the Program in Environmental Design, was invited to give an opening speech for a weeklong Festival of Early Infancy (birth to 6 year olds) in the city of Strasbourg, France on the topic of “Connecting Children with Nature to Foster Wellbeing and a Caring Relationship with the Natural World.”

Graphic of what a bee pollinator license plate might look like

New Colorado pollinator license plate needs signatures

Jan. 8, 2021

Do you love bees and want to help them? You can make a difference by showing your support for a new Colorado pollinator license plate. This month the state legislature is considering a new special license plate that will support conservation efforts throughout the state to protect pollinators. The initiative...

Children in nature


Jan. 7, 2021

Louise Chawla, environmental psychologist and CEDaR fellow, recently completed a review that brings two bodies of research together: one on connecting children and adolescents with nature, and the second on supporting healthy coping when they realize they are part of a planet in peril. The review shows that when children and adolescents feel connected to nature, they are more likely to report good health and a sense of well-being, more likely to get high scores for creative thinking, and more inclined to show cooperative, helping behaviors. On the flip side, city families stuck indoors during COVID-19 reported mounting stress and deteriorating behavior in their children.

Parents sit with their child in front of a tree.

CEDaR Fellow, Louise Chawla: Children heavily influenced by time in nature, social and emotional support

Oct. 9, 2020

Whether they’re dealing with smoke from wildfires, living through severe storms, or staying inside because of COVID-19, children are being forced to see the world differently in 2020. How they are learning and what they are learning about the world is quickly changing as many environmental and health threats occur simultaneously. Chawla was recently asked to write a comprehensive literature review for the British Ecological Society journal People and Nature, about how children connect with nature these days. CU Boulder Today caught up with Chawla to discuss her findings in the context of a year with many environmental challenges.

Two children walking in the woods

Childhood connection to nature has many benefits but is not universally positive, finds review

Aug. 10, 2020

A literature review by Louise Chawla, professor emerita at the University of Colorado Boulder and CEDaR fellow, finds that children are happier and more likely to protect the natural world when they have a greater connection to it, but this connection is complex and can also generate negative emotions linked to issues like climate change. The review was published in the British Ecological Society Journal People and Nature.

Children in nature

Louise Chawla, CEDaR fellow, receives SHIFT award

Aug. 7, 2020

Louise Chawla, professor emerita in the Program in Environmental Design and CEDaR fellow, received a 2020 SHIFT (Shaping How We Invest for Tomorrow) Award for Research for her investigations of connections between access to nature, children’s health and wellbeing, and childhood sources of lifelong care for the natural world.

Bee on a flower.

CEDaR helps plan popular Pollinator Summit

Nov. 15, 2019

About 175 people attended the fourth annual Colorado Pollinator Summit, “Protecting Colorado’s Biodiversity," which was planned by the Community Engagement, Design and Research center and others. The Nov. 1 event featured plenary talks and panels on urban neighborhoods, landscaping for biodiversity and holistic farming in Colorado.

Louise Chawla and Mara Mintzer at the May 24th awards program in New York.]

Mara Mintzer and Louise Chawla win 2019 EDRA Achievement Award

May 24, 2019

Louise Chawla, CEDaR fellow and professor emerita, Mara Mintzer, Growing Up Boulder program director, and Victoria Derr, authors of "Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities," received the 2019 Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Achievement Award for their publication at EDRA’s 50th anniversary conference. The book has received endorsements from many of the most respected child/youth environmental researchers, practitioners and advocates.