No Child Left Inside® is comprised of many programs, including the following:
The Great Park Pursuit, The Connecticut State Park Family Adventure
Happy 10th Anniversary! Hundreds of Connecticut families accepted the challenge and participated in the 2015 challenge over the seven week period from May 9 through June 21st. But the games will continue into 2016 - our first event will be held at Keney Park in Hartford on Saturday, April 30th. Will you be among the adventurous competitors to join the game? Decipher clues, visit beautiful State Parks and Forests, participate in fun activities, win prizes – it’s all part of the 2016 Great Park Pursuit Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure! Think you have what it takes to come together as a team, travel to new sites across the state, enjoy the great outdoors, meet other families and have a good time over a seven-week period?
Visit our Great Park Pursuit Family Adventure webpage to see photos from last year's events, and be sure to check out the Schedule and Rules to learn about eligibility requirements for the 2016 Great Park Pursuit!
The Great Park Pursuit 2012 Spring Sprint
With a whole new line-up of clues, hints and featured locations, Connecticut's families journeyed around the state to learn about new places while having fun in the great outdoors. They explored a forest on foot and in a canoe, tried to set a new state record for the largest caught fish, celebrated 20 years of bird conservation, and “got wet”— all without leaving Connecticut! Once the challenges were met at each of the four game locations, families were eligible to win cool prizes.
The Great Park Pursuit Outdoor Recreation Challenge
Great Park Pursuit 2011 Outdoor Recreation Challenge was a year round adventure that encouraged Connecticut’s families to experience the excitement and joy of having fun outdoors in Connecticut State Parks and Forests. Each family was given a Great Park Pursuit Outdoor Recreation Challenge Passport which they used as a recreational activity guide to Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests.
For each recreational activity (biking, birding, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, historic sites, letterboxing, picnicking, swimming, and winter activities) we created a top list of state parks and forests that offer that activity. When families visited any of the top parks or forests and completed the activity they got to stamp their passport. In conjunction with the passport we hosted a series of Family Days starting in April and running through October.
The Great Park Pursuit, The Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure
For five years more than 2,000 families participated in the Great Park Pursuit. This multi-week adventure took families to 40 state parks and forests across Connecticut. Teams deciphered clues, hiked picturesque trails, canoed tidal rivers, discovered wildlife and camped under the stars all while competing for fabulous outdoor prize packages and most importantly having FUN!
This yearly event provides families with the opportunity to get outside in the middle of winter. Past activities have included snowshoeing, orienteering, fish stocking, ice fishing, ice rescue demonstrations, ice skating, tracking, marshmallow roasting and visits from Resources in Search & Rescue and Connecticut Horse Patrol.
Park and Forest Interpreters
Park and Forest Interpreters create educational programs, signage, exhibits and special events to enrich the visitor’s experience. From the coastal nature centers at Sherwood Island, Rocky Neck and Hammonasset State Parks to the inland Stone Museum at Peoples State Forest, Gillette Castle, and the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Shenipsit State Forest, there are many fantastic programs being conducted both seasonally and year round in the state parks and forests. Go on a guided hike, learn about black bears, paddle in a canoe or discover Connecticut’s history. Have fun while appreciating the wonderful natural, cultural and historical resources of Connecticut.
Community Fishing Ponds
To ensure an outdoor experience is convenient for all families in Connecticut, the CT DEEP has developed a Community Fishing Ponds program. Through this program, ponds and rivers in cities are stocked with trout, city school children participate in fish stocking events, and Connecticut Aquatic Resource Education (C.A.R.E.) volunteers work with families both in the classroom and outdoors to teach them lifelong fishing skills.
Formal and informal environmental education experiences for students and teachers help stimulate interest in, and knowledge about, the environment; encourage going outdoors and foster environmental stewardship. Field studies, educational programs and teacher workshops are offered at Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington and Goodwin Conservation Education Center in Hampton.
State Park Passes at Libraries
The Connecticut Library Consortium and the CT DEEP have partnered to provide Connecticut State Park Day Passes to public libraries across the state. Library patrons may borrow the pass to obtain free parking at state parks where fees are charged and free admission to any museum located within a park.
Give Children Back the Night
Traditionally Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests close to the public at sunset. In collaboration with the Astronomical Society of New Haven evening programs are held at various state parks so that visitors could observe and learn about the summertime night sky. This program has been so well received that during the cold winter months we continue to offer families the opportunity to get outside and learn about the wintertime night sky.
The CT DEEP encourages the safe and environmentally sound use of our waterfronts. We have been accomplishing this through education and safe management of our beaches. We want to encourage everyone to participate in a boating safety class, take a swimming lesson, and follow a few general precautions when at the beach: swim only in designated areas, parents watch your children, beware of underwater hazards, and remember alcohol & water don’t mix.
Other Programs No Child Left Inside® has helped organize:
Park Passes for Foster Families
Thanks to the generosity of the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Families (CAFAF) and local offices of the State Department of Children and Families (DCF), foster families officially registered with DCF may obtain free access to our state parks. Anyone with questions or interest in obtaining a park pass for foster families can contact CAFAF at 860-258-3400.
Bike and Hike for Fitness and Fun
Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Connecticut Childhood Obesity Council No Child Left Inside® was able to carry out a bike and hike for fitness and fun program in the fall of 2008 which was focused on combating childhood obesity. Over the course of five weekends bus transportation was provided for children and families from Hartford to various state parks where the day was spent biking and hiking and eating a nutritious lunch. Bicycles were provided by The Bicycle Touring Company.
Connecticut State of Motion
In partnership with Aetna, Pfizer, and Qualidigm, the first ever Connecticut State of Motion recreational health fair was hosted in Bushnell Park in Hartford to help raise awareness concerning the importance of healthy lifestyles. Approximately 1,000 people came out to enjoy a free day of activities that included free health screenings, live entertainment, children’s activities, and healthy cooking demonstrations.
During the summer of 2008 No Child Left Inside® partnered with the Grandparents as Parents Support (GAPS) Network through the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). Two separate events were organized at state parks to provide a day of outdoor recreational activities. Families spent the day fishing, canoeing and creating crafts. DSS provided lunches for the families. Bus transportation was provided to families in the Hartford, Willimantic and New Haven areas.
Great Farm Adventure
In the fall of 2008 No Child Left Inside ® partnered with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to promote the Great Farm Adventure. For three weekends families were invited to learn about Connecticut’s flavorful and local agriculture by visiting the Woodstock Fair, Lyman Orchards and Jones Family Farm.