Looking for a way to reconnect your family with nature without having to travel far or break your budget? Check out the website DiscovertheForest.org. This website will help you locate a park near you, offering map sites within 15 miles of your area.
You can also find various activities, such as: hiking, water activities, biking, fishing, camping, winter sports and hunting. Where would you like to go? Choose among national forests, national parks, state forests or parks, park or playground, wildlife refuge, wilderness area, other natural area, a museum or educational facility, and visitor centers.
Click on the website’s “Take Action” box and find some opportunities to get involved and help conserve our forests and grasslands. This part will direct you to other websites for the U.S. Forest Service volunteer page; the Youth Conservation Corps and summer jobs for high school students; the National Public Lands Day national volunteer day; commit to taking the Smokey Bear pledge; how to start a recycling program at your school; and learn about the GreenSchools program.
The “Before You Go” section supplies information about what to prepare for your next trip; observing rules of the forest; how to “leave no trace” by keeping the forest as clean as you found it; and cost (fees for the destinations and activities you are planning).
Click on “Share the Forest” to find out about a PSA campaign to inspire tweens (aged 8-12) and their parents to reconnect with nature, experiencing it firsthand. This part of the site gives you access to PSA materials and shows how you can link up with campaign partners.
The “More to Explore” section offers features such as “Hands on the Land” (a national network of field classrooms outdoors), “About the USFS” and “Investi-Gator” (scientific journals for elementary and middle-school students); and “Take Action.”
From the Jan. 7-13, 2015, issue