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Print

DNR hopes for ‘No child left inside’

May 29, 2010 at 06:03 PM

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is promoting June as “Leave No Child Inside” month, and has organized activities around the state — primarily in metropolitan areas where kids are less likely to be exposed to nature-based recreation.

The celebration kicked off last weekend in Chicago.

“The event was downright inspirational,” says Marc Miller, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “It was such a success.”

Miller says the idea is to get families outside to discover nature together, whether the activities are organized or not. Most of the ideas are familiar. Most cost little or nothing.

“A lot of the activities are things we did as children, like building forts, collecting bugs and catching frogs,” Miller says. “That kind of imaginative play we took part in as children we presented as an opportunity to children who don’t have the chance.”

Parents and children can try some of the same activities during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield later this summer, when they are added to Conservation World, DNR’s home during the fair.

Miller says taking kids hunting and fishing, camping or hiking is easy for parents who grew up with those activities.

For those who did not, Miller says resources need to be available.

Those interested in fishing, for example, can take part in urban fishing clinics held statewide during the summer, including at Washington Park in Springfield.

Miller says even basic experiences, like damming a small stream, playing in the mud or climbing a tree can form the basis of a life spent hunting, fishing, bird-watching or cycling.

“These are things we might have gotten into a little trouble for when we were kids,” Miller says with a laugh. “But those things started it all.”

DNR is developing an online calendar of activities statewide for youths and families. Local organizations that would like to have their activities included should call Olivia Dorothy at 785-0075 or visit http://www.dnr.state.il.us/lnci.

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