SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – October 19, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – A free event at Tracy Aviary this weekend will celebrate an initiative to get kids connecting to nature.
Mayor Ralph Becker launched the SLC Kids Explore program last month, issuing a challenge to local youth, and their parents, to spend at least 30 minutes a day outdoors connecting with nature for a 30-day period. It was aimed at raising public awareness about the enormous health and societal benefits of spending time in nature.
A 30-day community celebration will take place Saturday, October 24 at Tracy Aviary, 589 East 1300 South, in the southwest corner of Liberty Park, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Admission is free and the afternoon nature celebration will include a Nature in the City Eco Art activity where kids can turn natural materials into beautiful works of art, a spooky story time, pumpkin painting for the first 50 residents, straw maze and more.
While the 30-day Mayoral Challenge included over 23 programs, multiple educational partners and hundreds of participants, the ongoing program will urge families to get out in nature on their own. The focus moving forward is on creative suggestions for nature activities that can be easily incorporated into everyday life.
“For many Salt Lake City children, more contact with nearby nature, surrounding mountains and parks will literally open up new vistas with lifelong impacts,” said Mayor Becker. “My challenge was a great opportunity to begin the conversation about incorporating nature into our lives. We want to continue these efforts by providing additional, and ongoing, opportunities for families to explore our natural environment .”
Salt Lake City is also actively involved in working with National League of Cities and the Children & Nature Network, who convened in Salt Lake City last week to participate in the Connecting Children to Nature Leadership Academy. The academy provided City officials with the skills and knowledge to take up new or expanded leadership roles in improving access to nature in their communities.
Benefits for increasing young people’s access to nature include improved health outcomes, such as lower rates of childhood obesity, as well as stronger academic skills and increased opportunities for social and emotional growth.
New organized activities will be posted to www.goseekdiscover.com.