Let's Move!

ANCA has partnered with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and First Lady Michelle Obama on the national project, Let's Move! Museums and Gardens!

Let's Move! Museums and Gardens is a national initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and is designed to get kids active and eating healthy foods. The influence museums, gardens, and nature and environmental learning centers have in their local communities can be a tremendous avenue for change. Let's Move! hopes to capture activities already happening in these centers, and promote further action. Through this program, ANCA members can answer this call to action!

It's easy to join! Your center may already qualify. There is no excess paperwork involved, and it is a one time registration procedure.

Your Center may already qualify if you:

  • Provide inside and outside spaces and programs that enable children and adults of all abilities to actively engage in exhibits and programs.
  • Cultivate organic food/vegetable gardens, provide assistance for school and community gardens and offer related programs.
  • Serve food from your vegetable garden and include signage in the food service area about the health benefits of cooking with food from the garden.
  • Provide outdoor opportunities for children to enjoy recreation activities, including walking, hiking and free play on or off museum/garden grounds.
  • Offer and promote healthy foods; provide only healthy foods in classes, programs or camps.

Learn more about these qualifications here. Ready to join? Sign up here!

We want to share our members' participation in this program with IMLS and The White House! Please consider sharing your Let's Move! Success Story with ANCA. Email ANCA if you are interested.

Let's Move! ANCA Success Stories

Indian Creek Nature Center, Cedar Rapids, IA
Get Dirty and Let’s Move!

Dirt, or soil, is the lifeblood of all things green, and it’s also the world’s best classroom for kids. This is the motivation for Cedar Rapids, Iowa based Indian Creek Nature Center’s new “Get Dirty” mantra, which provides a succinct way to encourage children and families to connect to nature.  By promoting “Get Dirty” in everything from its online presence to direct mailings to program themes, ICNC encourages children and families alike to engage in activities that get them moving and eating healthfully. Multiple ICNC programs and events specifically incorporate the goals of the Let’s Move initiative, all while providing a fun way for participants to “Get Dirty” and experience the wonders of nature.

This summer, children participating in ICNC’s Creek Camps are not only eating healthy snacks, they are learning about where those snacks come from by getting their hands dirty in the onsite gardens. Thanks to a partnership with Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, ICNC employs a biology intern focused specifically on this initiative. Under the guidance of the intern and camp teachers, children help tend the gardens, observe them as they grow, and utilize them as living laboratories for hands-on learning about food and pollinators.

In the Pizza Garden children will help plant, water, weed and harvest the tomatoes, onions, peppers, basil and  other herbs that will eventually make it to their lunch plates. As a culminating experience they make healthy pizzas with the veggies they pick, and fire their pizzas in the Nature Center’s new onsite clay pizza oven. In the Butterfly Hoop House pollinator garden they get to see the lifecycle of a monarch butterfly, from tiny white eggs on milkweed through caterpillar, pupae and emerging butterfly, to learn about the importance of pollinators in the food cycle.

To challenge the whole family to be physically active, in 2014 ICNC added the Sweet Trail Run to its annual Honey Fest celebration. The trail run encourages families to get moving together as they run or walk a dynamic course, winding through woods and prairies and along Indian Creek. Afterward, they can visit Honey Fest’s educational stations and tour the Nature Center’s apiary to learn how bees make honey, from nectar all the way to the bottled raw honey available for sale in the Center’s Creekside Shop. ICNC also offers one of Iowa’s leading beekeeping series each year; those students participate in Honey Fest and help involve event attendees, including many children, in the process of harvesting honey.

Ultimately, ICNC knows that children who develop a passion for nature are more likely to protect and advocate for the world’s valuable natural resources throughout their lives. Providing hands-on, interactive experiences that incorporate physical activity and healthy eating help people get excited about what they are learning, in turn building the foundation for a lifelong love of nature – and as an extension, an active and healthy life. The goals of the Let’s Move initiative are simple: eat healthfully, get active, and take action – all things that make the program a natural fit for nature centers.