Tuesday, June 7, 2016
As kids it was easy for us to spend time outdoors – to go barefoot in the grass, play in the mud, explore the wilderness. As we get older we find ourselves struggling to find the time to do the things we once loved. As adults, we may be caught up in our everyday hustle and bustle, but our kids deserve the opportunity to get out and experience the laughter and carefree fun that we once cherished. Make the time! It is worth it – and nature is much closer than you might think. Every neighborhood has a #Naturehood. DiscoverTheForest.org highlights urban forests and parks. These “naturehoods” are just a short drive away, making it easy for families to unplug from the daily routine and reconnect with nature. While there are still many people living in rural areas, over 80% of Americans have chosen to move into metropolitan areas with fewer connections than ever to natural areas. But what many people may not realize – there are urban areas that offer many of the same benefits as their more rural counterpart, the national forests. Beyond the swings, slides and clearings, there are trails, trees, wildlife and water just waiting for the urban dweller.
The Ad Council and the US Forest Service will be launching a campaign to motivate families to get out and explore the outdoors. Saturday, June 11th, is National Get Outdoors Day and we want to encourage everyone to make the time – get up and get outside! National Get Outdoors Day will include a series of events offering traditional and nontraditional outdoor activities across the nation. Events may include special guests like Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl and free admissions to our national forests so families can experience activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and archery. Just use this simple interactive map tool to search for nearby activities. Or Visit the “Get Your Pass” section of www.everykidinapark.gov, complete an online activity, and download a personalized pass for free entry onto federal lands and waters locations. Research has shown that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future. According to campaign research done by Euro RSCG, 88 percent of children today say they like being in nature, and 79 percent wish they could spend more time there.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Engage your senses, spend some quality family time and expand your imagination with some fun outdoor activities. Share your family fun on Instagram using the hashtag #ForestFotog. And to make things a little more exciting, starting Saturday, June 11th, and running for several weeks, Discover the Forest will post a creative photo of the forest and ask followers to replicate the photo with their family and participate using #Getoutdoors16. Who doesn’t love a great scavenger hunt?