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No Child Left Inside summit to be held locally

COVINGTON -- Those interested in getting children away from the TV or computer and into the great outdoors are invited to participate in the Georgia No Child Left Inside Coalition State Summit on Children and the Outdoors. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Georgia Wildlife Federation Alcovy Conservation Center, located at 11600 Hazelbrand Road.

The summit is for "anybody interested with the connection of children and family to nature for any vast number of reasons," said Terry Tatum, vice president of development for the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

Parents, educators and community leaders will learn about studies that document children who play outdoors are healthier, perform better in school, have better social skills and self image and lead more fulfilled lives. They will also have the chance to make recommendations for policy and program initiatives and address the coalition's goals and objectives.

There will be several speakers throughout the day, with the keynote speech from Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health and a board member of the Children and Nature Network. Topics will include improving children's health through outdoor experiences, integrating outdoor learning into the K-12 experience, engaging youth in service and learning to enjoy and restore natural areas, overcoming barriers to getting kids connected, and getting kids and families connected to the outdoors.

"We hope they can come up with some discussion and brainstorm ways we can connect children and families back to the environment," Tatum said. "It's very challenging these days with all the technology attracting a child's attention and consuming their time to get them to enjoy and understand and appreciate being outdoors."

Parents with children ages 7 to 12 are invited to bring them along to participate in a children's program that will include nature journaling, hiking, a healthy foods cooking demonstration, making pine cone bird feeders, a scavenger hunt, a live animal experience featuring snakes, gophers, tortoises and raptors, and planting and Adopt-A-Stream activities.

Registration is required by Wednesday. The cost to attend the summit is $10. The children's program is free and is limited to 50 participants. A registration form can be obtained at http://online.nwf.org/GeorgiaSummit or by calling Na'Taki Osborne Jelks at 404-876-8733, ext. 230.