CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today proclaimed the month of June as Leave No Child Inside Month in Illinois. Throughout the month, the Governor is encouraging young people to spend more time outdoors enjoying natural resources and participating in Leave No Child Inside events scheduled across the state.
“Here in the Land of Lincoln, we have some of the most beautiful natural sites in the country – from our state parks to our lakes and rivers,” said Governor Quinn. “It is important for children to turn off the television, put down their video games and get outdoors to learn about nature in a truly interactive classroom.”
To celebrate Leave No Child Inside Month, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and many partners will host free family events to help connect kids with nature. On June 19 at William W. Powers State Recreation Area in Chicago, children can participate in activities such as hiking, an eco-safari, a treasure hunt, learning how to set up a campsite, visiting with Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors and much more.
“We must encourage youth to get outdoors and enjoy nature. The State of Illinois is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty, and we must teach our youth to be stewards of the environment to ensure its splendor for generations to come,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller
The Leave No Child Inside initiative was launched in 2007 to get more children outside and to increase the amount and quality of time that they spend there. Children benefit from access to the outdoors in many ways. Studies show that when children spend time outdoors feelings of anxiety and depression decrease, concentration and performance at school improves and they gain an early appreciation and love of nature. The exercise that comes with outdoor play and recreation improves weight loss, lowers high blood pressure and contributes to an overall improvement in physical health and fitness.
Additional events will be held on June 5 at James “Pate” Philip State Park in Bartlett and June 26 at Illinois Beach State Park in Zion.
Illinois Free Fishing Days will be held statewide June 11-14. For a full list of Leave No Child Inside events and activities, visit www.dnr.state.il.us/LNCI.