Wednesday, June 08, 2011

USDA Forest Service and Ad Council Launch Annual Discover the Forest Campaign to Re-connect Families and Kids with Nature

I’m thrilled to announce that today is the launch of this year’s “Discover the Forest” campaign! Hosted by the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council, this campaign inspires children and their parents to re-connect with nature and experience it firsthand. Did you know that children in the U.S. spend 50 percent less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago? That’s a sad statistic. Research shows that children who play outside have a reduced risk for obesity, lower stress levels, more active imaginations, and are more likely to become environmentally conscious adults. And, says Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, “Parents play an important role in encouraging children to get outside in nature.”

As part of this campaign, new television, radio, print and outdoor public service announcements are being released to coincide with National Get Outdoors Day on June 11. (You can see a humorous and touching one below.) These ads encourage children and their parents to visit (and the new Spanish version,, which includes an interactive map tool, powered by Google and Nature Find™ that enables you to search for nearby forests and parks, as well as download activities to print and take with you when you visit.

[Email subscribers, please click on the title of this post to access the video online.]

Here are 5 ways in which you and your kids can reconnect in nature:

1. Find a local creek or body of water to let out your fishing line, observe some marine life, or even go for a swim. Water provides a range of activities that will lure your kids away from their electronics and promote a healthy lifestyle for the family.

2. Read about plants native to the region you’re seeing and try to identify 10 different species on your hike. This is an excellent way to engage your kids and foster a family conversation about nature!

3. Camping: This classic outdoor activity proves to be even more exciting when you leave the tent at home. Treat your family to the stars when nighttime falls on National Get Outdoors Day!

4. If your family is less experienced in the outdoors, pack a picnic and just relax in a meadow or field. Sometimes relaxing outside is the best way to unwind together.

5. For those weekend wilderness warriors, this is a great occasion to learn how to do something new and create shared memories with your kids! Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day by finding a guide to teach you how to fly fish, repel or even rock climb.

My boys LOVE to play outside and interact with all the nature right in our own yard. And we get plenty of outdoor time at local parks, the beach, and sporting events. I hope you’ll join me in encouraging your kids to spend more time outdoors. You can learn more about Discover the Forest at:

National Get Outdoors Day:

1 comment:

  1. Love the whole idea of reconnecting kids with nature! With all the distractions from technology, it can be a challenge to get kids to go out and appreciate nature. Picnics and campings are great, and walks in the parks too! I'm all for teaching kids to appreciate Mother Earth. :)


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