Tomorrow marks National Public Lands Day (NPLD), the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States. While the scale of the event is large, the goals are simple:

Educate Americans about critical environmental and natural resource issues and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands

Build partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America’s public lands

Improve public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work

This year, NPLD has included a partnership with the Let’s Move initiative, helping parents find fun and creative ways to get kids active. Children need at least 60 minutes of active play each day, and one of the best ways to meet this goal is by playing outside.

Here are two simple ways that you and your family can take part in National Public Lands Day and enjoy the benefits of playing outside!

1. Volunteer at a NPLD site. We have six sites registered for National Public Lands Day, and there are many more across the country. Volunteering will include the physical labor of weeding, planting or removing trash, but it also has the added benefit of teaching your children the importance of giving back. Leading by example will not only help to build healthy exercise habits, but will also lay the foundation for good citizenship for the future.

The NPLD website has a fun list of 10 ways to get your kid active while celebrating NPLD day!

2. Go Enjoy a National Park. A great way to celebrate our nation’s public lands, is to get out there and enjoy it! On September 24, all National Parks are offering free entrance to celebrate NPLD. Tomorrow is also the Worldwide Day of Play, so getting out there to enjoy all the beauty our country has to offer makes perfect sense.

Remember, even if you can’t participate tomorrow; you can always find opportunities to volunteer and improve our environment at www.chicagocares.org.

Now, let’s go outside and play!

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