CHICAGO – March 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the Andrew Jackson Language Academy to highlight the importance of youth fitness programs and encourage children to spend time outdoors. Students who are healthy are more successful in school, which is why the Governor is urging children to put down video games and spend more time outside participating in programs available through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and its partners.
“Strong minds are the result of both hard work in the classroom and time spent being active outside of the classroom,” said Governor Quinn. “We want to make sure no child in Illinois is left inside. When children are outside and active, they are healthier and more productive inside the classroom.”
In an effort to improve the health and wellness of Illinois’ children, Governor Quinn is encouraging families to get physically fit by spending time enjoying outdoor activities. As temperatures begin to rise in Illinois, the state will offer several opportunities for families to enjoy nature in Illinois.
IDNR, along with Chicago Wilderness, the Chicago Park District and the Illinois Conservation Foundation, are sponsoring a number of events geared toward getting families to spend time together outdoors. For dates and more information, please visit www.dnr.state.il.us/youthprograms.
Illinois schools can also install rain gardens by participating in the Illinois Rain Garden Initiative. Schools, nonprofit organizations and communities can apply for grants of up to $1,000. Funds are provided through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Applications are available IDNR’s Web site and must be postmarked by March 19.
Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic throughout the country. First Lady Michelle Obama has been an advocate for child health, encouraging the nation’s children to adopt healthy habits in an effort to stem obesity in children.