I love June! The days are long and warmer (but not too hot), and the great outdoors are calling to me. The little seedlings in my garden are growing into lettuce and other delicious things, and the warmer weather beckons me for an evening walk in the park. It’s a great time to be outdoors-and there are so many resources to help your child have a great outdoor learning experience…they may not even realize they are learning!
Did you know June is Great Outdoors Month? This event began as Great Outdoors Week in 1998, and expanded to Great Outdoors Month in 2004. During this time, there are all kinds of special events to raise awareness of issues related to promote outdoor recreation and conservation—and fee free entrance days on all national parks!
Great Outdoors Month kicks off with National Trails Day this Saturday- June 2nd. Join in one of the thousands of events taking place across the country- not just hiking, but also birding, geocaching, and children’s activities. Find an event near you: http://www.americanhiking.org/national-trails-day/
Another great event in June is National Get Outdoors Day—June 9th. Over 100 events organized all over the country, including festivals, free fishing days, fairs and more. http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/locations/
To help us celebrate National Get Outdoors day, all national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuge areas and BLM lands are having a fee free day! Here is info about the fee free day: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparksbystate.htm
I grew up near Zion National Park, and one summer my sister and I were Junior Rangers. I remember going on nature walks with a real ranger, who taught us about the wildlife in that area. Some national parks still have hands-on programs like this, and others have booklets packed with kid-friendly information you can fill out during your visit to the park. Check out the program near you: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm
Here is one more resource to help you find parks, trails, and other nature sites in your area: http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/NatureFind.aspx