Park ranger leads a youth program in Colorado National Monument.
Credit: National Park Service, flickr.
This year’s edition of GO Day, which is a joint project undertaken by federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the outdoor recreation industry, focuses on getting first-time visitors out on to public lands and reconnecting children with the outdoors. Sponsored activities to that end will be held throughout the country, making it one of the signature events in Great Outdoors Month.
GO Day is a great opportunity to have fun outside, but its mission is serious. At a time when childhood obesity is a pressing public health issue, it has become ever more important to promote physical exercise, especially in the form of unstructured outdoor play. Unstructured activity in the outdoors may also improve kids’ psychological wellbeing, build independence and strengthen imagination and cognitive ability--not to mention helping them be happier. A kid who has had great outdoor experiences will also be more likely to forge a stronger connection with nature and appreciation of the need for conservation.
In conjunction with GO Day, the U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council have teamed up to launch "Discover The Forest," where you can read ideas for outdoor recreation and find parks, forests and other outdoor sites near you.
Kids hike in New Mexico’s Soledad Canyon. Credit: Lori Allen (BLM New Mexico), flickr.