Illinois Department of Natural Resources

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2010

Get Outside to Explore, Discover and Play at Wolf Lake on June 19

Families invited to have fun and “Leave No Child Inside”

CHICAGO, IL – Kids are encouraged to get muddy, catch a fish, plant a flower and explore nature on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the shores of Wolf Lake at William W. Powers State Conservation Area on Chicago’s south side. The free outdoor play day is part of a series of “Get Outside Days: Explore, Discover, Play” events in June throughout the greater Chicago area to celebrate “Leave No Child Inside” month. While the focus is on children, the full day of free activities at Wolf Lake will appeal to the entire family.

“We want to invite families from throughout northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana to bring their children for a great day of hands-on activities that will put them in touch with the natural world around them. Connecting with nature really is good for the mind, body and soul,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller. “Too many kids spend too much time indoors and that’s why we’re serious about making sure that we ‘Leave No Child Inside’ in Illinois.”

“During the June ‘Leave No Child Inside’ month celebration, Chicago Wilderness members hope to underscore the importance of unstructured outdoor play for the healthy development of children, but also to empower parents and caregivers with the knowledge and confidence to help nurture their children’s sense of wonder and appreciation for nature with simple activity suggestions and tips,” added Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness.

Get Outside Days at Wolf Lake is sponsored by the IDNR, Chicago Wilderness, The Field Museum, Calumet Stewardship Initiative, U.S. Forest Service and Ford Motor Company Fund.

Activity stations at Wolf Lake include:

  • Bait a hook, cast a line and experience the fun of fishing with help from the IDNR Urban Fishing Program
  • Get up close to a turtle and participate in a turtle race
  • Tie up your hiking boots for a short hike to see nature up close
  • Look for life in tiny drops of water as youngsters explore the hidden world of Indian Creek with assistance from biologists with The Field Museum
  • Learn to set up a campsite with all the necessary gear for spending a night under the stars, thanks to L.L. Bean
  • Go on an eco-safari with local park and forest preserve stewards
  • Peddle to fun and fitness with the help of bike safety experts from Mayor Daley’s Bicycling Ambassadors
  • Use GPS technology to find hidden natural treasures throughout the park, directed by the Dept. of Geography at Chicago State University

“The Field Museum is proud to support the Calumet Get Outside Day. The Calumet region has over 42,000 acres of protected natural areas. We hope this event will inspire families to get outside and explore nature in their community,” said Kirk Anne Taylor, Urban Conservation Manager for The Field Museum.

William W. Powers State Recreation Area at Wolf Lake, managed by the IDNR, is located on the Illinois-Indiana state line at 12949 Avenue O, Chicago.

Other “Leave No Child Inside” events for families this spring and summer are scheduled for James “Pate” Philip State Park, Bartlett on June 5; Illinois Free Fishing Days (statewide) on June 11-14; and the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago on June 12. For more details on these and other outdoor recreation and education opportunities for youth, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/youthprograms/.