RESTON, VA. — Some people can’t get enough time outdoors, surrounded by nature’s gifts and being refreshed by a world of green. Others need a little more nudging to get outside and if ever there were a time to be encouraged to open up that door it’s the month of June.
That nudging starts at the very top with President Obama proclaiming June as Great Outdoor Month, along with almost every state governor. The Presidential Proclamation urges all Americans to spend time in the great outdoors and to uphold our Nation’s legacy of conserving our lands for future generations, according to a press release from the National Wildlife Federation.
The Proclamation goes on to talk about the numerous opportunities for families and friends to explore, play, and grow together from hiking and wildlife watching to canoeing, hunting, fishing and playing in the neighborhood park, all activities that can help kids stay healthy, active and energized.
Speaking of wildlife watching, NWF’s NatureFind web site can help you locate fun places with cool wildlife that will connect you with nature and reduce the stress in your life. Remember too that you don’t have to travel far and wide to get a dose of the great outdoors. Spending time in your own backyard can have the same effect.
“America’s extensive and diverse outdoor spaces are a source of great national pride and we have long strived to protect them for future generations.” says Patrick Fitzgerald, NWF Director of Education Advocacy. “Great Outdoors Month highlights the benefits of getting outdoors and enjoying our wonderful shared resources of forests, parks, refuges, and other public lands and waters.
Looking for more nudging? Here are some more fun ways to celebrate the great outdoors in June:
- June 1-25 — Go Camping America promotion — National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
- June 4 — National Trails Day — The American Hiking Society — America’s 200,000 miles of trails provide access to the natural world for recreation, inspiration and education. In 2010, 40 million Americans hiked and backpacked in the U.S.
- June 4-12 — National Fishing and Boating Week — Coordinated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and coincides with most states’ free fishing days.
- June 11-17 — Great Outdoors Week — everyone is encouraged to enjoy the outdoors, even if briefly, every day this week
- June 11 — National Get Outdoors Day — healthy, active outdoor fun available at sites across the nation
- June 11 — Fee Waiver Day in National Forests — Sponsored by the US Forest Service which operates 17,000 recreation sites and manages 193 million acres of public land.
- June 11 — National Marina Day — The Association of Marina Industries showcases the fun and benefits of boating and the marina lifestyle
- June 21 – Fee-Free Day in National Parks — Fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees. Many national park concessioners are welcoming visitors with their own special offers.
The best way to cap off your Outdoors Month is by participating in National Wildlife Federation’s 7th annual Great American Backyard Campout, Saturday, June 25, where you can trade screen time for green time and spend a night of outdoor family fun under the stars.
Remember your first s’more? Not much to it, but it tasted better than any dessert you’d ever had. That goes for just about anything cooked over a campfire. Bring back those memories and make new ones. As soon as people register on-line, they receive access to recipes, nature activities and games, crafts and campfire stories that will help create lasting family memories. This is an important fund-raising event for the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign so in addition to a night of nature’s magic, you can help the organization raise funds for developing more programs to connect children to nature, an experience many of them are missing. Check it out at www.backyardcampout.org
If all this hasn’t got you out the door yet, check out NWF’s new Summer Activity Kit, a one-stop shop for parents to get their kids outside having fun. The kit includes:
- Printable outdoor activities to stick on the fridge like Bug Bingo
- Summer Safety 101 — how to avoid sunburn, poison ivy, heat exhaustion and jellyfish stings
- Fun games to play — and stay cool — at a summer outdoor birthday party
- Easy campsite crafts
- Beach activities
- Tips to Beat the Heat — water games
When June is over and you crave more outdoor fun with the kids, check out NWF’s Be Out There web site (www.beoutthere.org) for more inspiration and information on NWF-sponsored outdoor events.