Nature centers’ new ‘club’ encourages outdoor activities

       A new, free program by the two El Paso County nature centers offers enticements for groups of families to get outdoors with their kids.
       The “Family Outoor Clubs” are open to any group of two or families. For joining, each group gets free T-shirts for the children, a program bumper sticker, “nature bucks” that can be spent on nature center programs (which typically have a fee) and an “Outdoor Activity Passport” listing possible things to do or look for while using county parks or trails.
       On the Westside, the Bear Creek Nature Center is at 245 Bear Creek Road.
       “We're getting a good response,” said Nancy Bernard, the Fountain Creek Nature Center director who is organizing the clubs effort. “You can't lose by doing this because it's all free. A lot of parents are hesitant to go outside to play with their kids. But if there's a 'buddy family,' they can be encouraged to take the first steps.”
       Planning for the clubs started last year, when County Parks invited citizens to help develop a program in keeping with the nationally popular “No Child Left Inside” initiative.
       According to a Nature Centers press release, “Recent studies show that outdoor play has decreased by 75 percent since 1900 and that children spend an average of 6 hours a day connected to something electronic.”
       For more information, call the Bear Creek Nature Center at 420-6387.

Westside Pioneer article