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Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele today announced The Great Park Pursuit, 2007, Connecticut’s outdoor adventure to introduce families to the outdoors, build the next generation of environmental stewards and showcase Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests over seven weeks this spring.
During a launch event at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Lt. Governor Fedele said, â€œThe Great Park Pursuit was an instant success last year. More than 400 families took advantage of the opportunity to get away from their computers and television sets and spend some time together outdoors in our great state parks. Now, we are bringing this contest back for another round this spring. I encourage all families to sign up today for The Great Park Pursuit.â€
â€œThe return of The Great Park Pursuit clearly demonstrates that Connecticut is a national leader in recognizing the strong connection between the outdoors and the health and well being of our children,â€ Lt. Governor Fedele said. â€œSimply put, children are better off when they spend time outdoors. As a result, we are determined to make it easy and fun for families to spend more time together outdoors.â€
Details: The Great Park Pursuit
The Great Park Pursuit, The Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure, is a central element of Connecticut’s No Child Left Inside initiative. The game will take Connecticut families to seven different state parks and forests this spring. Families can register for the game starting today at: www.nochildleftinside.org
The Great Park Pursuit kicks-off on Saturday, May 12 at Beardsley Park, Bridgeport and concludes on June 23. Some of the events in the contest will take place on specific Saturdays and will be guided by DEP staff. Other activities are â€œself-guidedâ€ and families in the contest can visit these locations anytime during the seven-week contest period.
Clues to activities and locations of the contest will be available at the end of each week’s activity and on the â€œNo Child Left Insideâ€ website. At each location, teams will be asked to complete at least one activity that highlights the opportunities in Connecticut’s state parks and forests such as hiking, letterboxing, fishing, archery and more.
Participants will be eligible for three grand prizes of outdoor equipment, donated by local retailers including North Cove Outfitter in Old Saybrook and Ski Market with various locations throughout Connecticut. The contest is open to families â€“ which must include one person 18 or over and one person under the age of 18. Last year Connecticut families were full of variety, from grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles with nieces and nephews, and even Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
Success of No Child Left Inside
No Child Left Inside and The Great Park Pursuit have been well received, not only by Connecticut families, but throughout New England and the nation.
In addition, the DEP has responded to requests to provide material on this initiative to a number of states and to various federal agencies. DEP is also actively involved in coordinating No Child Left Inside activities with neighboring New England states. Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire plan to implement The Great Park Pursuit this spring.
DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, â€œThe No Child Left Inside initiative and The Great Park Pursuit contest are fun and exciting programs for our agency. There is, however, a serious side to it all. Today’s youngsters do not have enough opportunities to get outside. We need to help make that happen. We also need to encourage youngsters to love the outdoors and our natural resources. If we fail in this mission, there will be few adults in the future willing to speak up and fight for our environment.â€
â€œIt was inspiring last spring to see families enjoying the outdoors together during The Great Park Pursuit contest. The success of the contest demonstrated that we can get people back outdoors and that we can interest people in our environment. Other states have watched what we are accomplishing. With the Lt. Governor’s help, we are leading a national movement for families to reclaim the outdoors.â€
Additional Components of No Child Left Inside
In addition to The Great Park Pursuit, other components of No Child Left Inside include:
â€¢Park Passes for Foster Families
Bank of America is once again donating $10,000 to the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents (CAFAP) to offer passes to approximately 2,500 foster families in the state. CAFAP will purchase the passes from the DEP and provide them to foster families. With the bank’s donation last year, state park passes were provided to more than 1,300 foster families.
â€¢Urban Fishing Program
This year, to celebrate the opening day of fishing season on Saturday, April 21, there will be trout stocking events with elementary school children from Hartford and Vernon. Instructors from DEP’s Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) will visit student’s classrooms to discuss water, fish and fishing. Prior to opening day, at designated locations, students will demonstrate their skills and assist DEP fisheries staff in stocking trout at Keney Park in Hartford and Valley Falls Park in Vernon.
Family Fishing Day is May 12th this year and families and friends are invited to attend events at the following locations:
Lake Wintergreen at
West Rock RidgeNew Haven
Valley Falls ParkVernon
â€¢State Park Passes at Libraries
For the second year through a partnership with the Connecticut Library Consortium, public libraries across the state will have a Connecticut State Park & Forest day pass available for patrons. Library patrons may borrow the pass and use it for free parking at the major state parks where parking fees are charged. The pass is also good for admission to any museum located at a state park.
DEP is partnering with the CT Library Consortium on their Collaborative Summer Library Program: Get A Clue! Each week throughout the summer, at state parks and forests where there are interpreters, programs and activities will be conducted that tie in with summer reading material available at public libraries.
â€¢Park and Forest Interpreters
Increased staff over previous years will make visits to Connecticut’s state parks and forests more rewarding and enriching this summer. There are a total of 47 seasonal park interpreters who serve as guides to the park and teach educational and recreational programs.
â€¢Oil Drum Art
An exciting new art project is taking place involving school children across Connecticut. Elementary aged children are painting brand new oil drums to be used later as waste receptacles, with environmental themes to remind users about the importance of a clean environment. So far the colorful waste receptacles are in use in New Haven and soon will be available in Hartford.
No Child Left Inside Partners
CT Forest & Park Association
Friends of CT State Parks
CT Library Consortium
Master Wildlife Conservationists
CT Aquatic Resource Education Facilitators
CT Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Project WET and
Food, Land & People Facilitators
Legislators (as Sand Sculpture Judges)
CT Horse Council
CT Canine Search & Rescue
Appalachian Mountain Club
Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests
DEP operates 105 state parks and oversees 32 state forests. The state park system dates back to the early years of the 20th century.
The lands include:
â€¢19 swimming areas and beaches
â€¢Nine historic sites of significance
â€¢More than 800 miles of hiking trails
â€¢230 lakes and ponds
â€¢2,000 miles of rivers and streams
â€¢1,300 campsites at 14 state parks for both tent and RV camping
â€¢More than 100 public boat launch areas.