Our Kids in Parks program is celebrating a major milestone just in time for Take a Child Outside Week, September 24-30. The national program just surpassed one million adventures completed by children on its TRACK Trails found in parks across the country, demonstrating its success in inspiring kids to experience the outdoors.
Take a Child Outside Week encourages parents, grandparents, and teachers to spend time with children outdoors, and Kids in Parks provides opportunities to do just that, with help from printed brochures and online e-Adventures that engage children with the natural surroundings. Its TRACK Trail guides help children identify trees and birds, seek out animal tracks, and inspect insects, among other enriching exercises. The ease of the hikes and educational materials provide a positive introduction to outdoor activities, even for first-time adventurers.
“It’s wonderful seeing children embrace the outdoors as the place they love to play and learn,” said Kids in Parks Director Jason Urroz. “In turn, they are reaping the health benefits, creating meaningful connections with nature, and becoming budding stewards for the parks and public lands that need their protection.”
A key feature of Kids in Parks is the free prizes children receive each time they log a TRACK Trail visit online at KidsinParks.com. The program is introducing a new prize structure, offering 15 waterproof adventure cards featuring a variety of topics ranging from how to use a compass to learning about fungi, flowers, and rivers. The cards come with a Kids in Parks carabiner that allows kids to organize the cards and bring them on all of their outdoor adventures.
The program features more than 225 TRACK Trail locations across 15 states, Washington, D.C., and the Qualla Boundary, comprising a network of trails where kids and families can hike, bike, canoe, play disc golf, and more, all while learning about the natural, cultural, and historical resources at each site.
In 2009, the Kids in Parks program began with the installation of a TRACK Trail at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, N.C., and was developed by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.
To learn more, visit KidsinParks.com.