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discover the forest

Let's Move Outside All Summer Long

Summer is fast approaching but packing up the kids to head outside could be daunting, especially for those whose experience with outdoor activities is limited.

But don’t worry. With a little help and some simple planning, the whole crew will want to unplug and find activities that will invigorate not just the body, but the mind. The opportunities to show our kids how to eat healthy and be active can stay with them for a life time. Young children and the young at heart will enjoy summer days filled with picnics and outdoor barbecues that create great memories.

Celebrate Fall Season With Free Access to Public Lands on Sept. 28

The crisp fall air provides an invigorating environment for outdoor activity.  What better time to visit and volunteer on our national forests and grasslands than on Sept. 28, for the 20th annual National Public Lands Day and second annual National Tribal Lands Day. This is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands sponsored by the National Environmental Education Foundation. This year’s theme is: “Helping Hands for America’s Lands.”

National Public Lands Day is one of six fee-free days in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, National Get Outdoors Day, and Veterans Day Weekend. Fees are waived generally for day use, such as picnic areas, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers. Fees are not waived for concessionaire-operated facilities or for overnight use such as camping or recreation rentals.

High School Students Discover the Forest

When you invite high school students into the woods, you set the stage for wonder, excitement and endless questions.

Organizers for “Discover the Forest,” a new venture sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Maine, also hope that, in addition to learning about the forest, participants will discover career opportunities and set the stage for a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the future.

Smurfs Encourage Kids to Get Outdoors

Little blue gnome-like creatures helped the U.S. Forest Service kick off its latest campaign to get people out into the woods. Partnering with the Ad Council and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Forest Service recently launched its Discover the Forest campaign featuring the Smurfs and their new movie, The Smurfs 2.

Studies have shown that the time children in the United States spend outdoors has declined 50 percent over the past 20 years. Population shifts to urban and suburban environments, an increase in children’s indoor activities, and a lack of awareness of, or access to, nearby nature locations have contributed to this trend. However, research shows there are many benefits to kids spending time in nature. Time spent outdoors gives children the ability to explore, use their imaginations, discover new wildlife and engage in unstructured and adventurous play.

US Forest Service Celebrates National Get Outdoors Day June 8

National Get Outdoors Day, created in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, will include a wide variety of opportunities to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun, from a rousing day of festivities in City Park in Denver to quieter observations on some national forest and grasslands.

Go Day, as it is often called, was launched June 14, 2008, through a partnership between the Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition. Built on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other efforts, Go Day connects Americans – especially children – with nature and active lifestyles.

Camping with Kids? There's a Method to this Madness

As an environmental educator, I’ve taken tons of kids outside for fun and educational experiences in the woods. Now, I am looking forward taking my own son out for his first discoveries and to create memories we’ll share for years to come. I figured I would share my personal camping tips with you. Plus, May 18 is National Kids to Parks Day; a perfect opportunity to help children explore nature.

Get the kids involved during the planning stages. Gauge what they are most excited about seeing or doing. Is it waterfalls or caves, searching deep in the forest for bugs or looking for larger animals like eagles or moose? The possibilities are endless. The things they are excited about can be used to reinforce behaviors like following instructions or being open to trying new things.

Break Away with the Kids for Spring Outdoor Activities

Spring is here, and spring break is just around the corner or already underway. For parents everywhere trying to figure out how to keep their children amused, the answer can be simple: Get them outside!

Spring is a great time to watch birds collect materials to build nests or to check out the buds as trees and shrubs begin to bloom and leaf out. It’s also a time to see those early blooms that often lay soft carpets of color across the landscape.