Online tool helps families explore nature
The Nature Conservancy, REI, Children and Nature Network and ecoAmerica, have launched Nature Rocks – an initiative that helps parents plan family trips to play, explore and enjoy quality time outdoors.
The Nature Rocks Web site, www.naturerocks.org, is an ideal tool for parents to plan vacations that involve healthy outdoor activities or simply to find nearby resources that both kids and adults can enjoy. Nature Rocks identifies affordable and fun nature-themed activities that promote family bonding and nurture happier, healthier and smarter children.
“Nature Rocks is part of our ongoing work engaging families in nature,” said Laura Huffman, director of The Nature Conservancy of Texas. “Studies show that children who spend little time outdoors are more prone to obesity and associated health risks and exhibit less ability to concentrate and problem solve. The Nature Conservancy is committed to helping our youth experience the wonders of nature in Texas.”
The Nature Rocks Web site also offers a 2009 Summer Nature Staycation Planning Guide, available at www.naturerocks.org. This free guide provides parents with information and tools to create and enjoy no- or low-cost summer vacations in nature that are close to home. Additionally, the Nature Rocks Web site has more than 100 activity recommendations, including links to Nature Conservancy preserves, as well as user-friendly nature finder and social networking tools.
In Texas, The Nature Conservancy of Texas offers several family-oriented activities designed to get kids outside and connected with nature.
- Witness the incredible ‘living tornado’ of bats that emerges every evening from the Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve in Mason
- Hike a meandering trail through pristine old-growth forests at Lennox Woods Preserve in Red River County
- Climb through the canyons and vistas of the Madera Canyon Trail at the Davis Mountains Preserve near Fort Davis in West Texas
- Canoe the cool waters of Village Creek through the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary near Silsbee
- Explore the colorful fields of wildflowers at Tridens Prairie Preserve in Lamar County
- Camp, fish and explore the amazing Independence Creek Preserve in Terrell County
In addition, there are a number of public parks throughout the state open for hiking, camping and exploring nature. To find a state park near you, visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Website at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.