(INDIANAPOLIS) - Gov. Mike Pence has recognized the importance of getting kids into nature by proclaiming May 17 as "Kids to Parks Day."
The proclamation is at the top of childrenplayoutdoors.dnr.IN.gov. A direct link to the proclamation is at http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/files/sp-kids_proclamation_may17.pdf.
Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide day of play organized by National Park Trust. The goal is to engage kids with parks to promote environmental stewardship and healthy outdoor living.
The governor's proclamation urges Hoosiers to take time on May 17 to take a child to a park.
The day is the latest effort by the DNR to promote education and healthy living among Hoosier children. Kids to Parks Day is also an opportunity to get kids involved in existing DNR programs, including the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights, the family-friendly State Parks & Reservoirs Fitness Challenge, and a wide variety of daily activities that vary by park.
The Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights is a list of 11 suggested activities to get kids outdoors, from visiting a farm to climbing a tree. Kids who complete the list can become an official "Hoosier Outdoor Child." More info is at childrenplayoutdoors.dnr.IN.gov.
The SPR Fitness Challenge entails walking, biking, paddling or swimming at least 25 miles inside one or more of Indiana's state parks and reservoirs between now and Oct. 31. It's common for families to complete the challenge together. More information is at dnr.IN.gov/healthy.
Information on daily programs at parks, from nature hikes to arts and craft activities, is at stateparks.IN.gov/2420.htm.
In addition to Kids to Parks Day, spring is already a busy season at Indiana's state parks and reservoirs for Hoosier children. In April and May, about 60,000 school students and members of scout groups will have visited a park or reservoir on a field trip. More than 40 schools will have visited Spring Mill State Park alone.
Financial aid for field trips is available through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation's Discovering the Outdoors Fund. For more information on the fund, see IN.gov/inrf.
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