DEEP: Connecticut Families Visit Squantz Pond State Park For Fourth Annual Great Park Pursuit

May 9, 2009

Connecticut Families Visit Squantz Pond
State Park For Fourth Annual
Great Park Pursuit

Great Park Pursuit Attracts Over 1100 Families

Connecticut’s popular state park along the shores of Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield served as the kick-off location today for the fourth annual Great Park Pursuit. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy and Jen Rizzotti, Head Coach, University of Hartford Women’s Division I basketball, joined hundreds of families from across the state at Squantz Pond State Park to begin the seven-week adventure that will take them on a tour of Connecticut state parks and forests and engage them in a variety of outdoor activities all for a chance to win prizes. The game is part of the statewide No Child Left InsideSM initiative that families have been enjoying since 2006.

Families today enjoyed the themed activities – "Great Park Pursuit Olympics" including fishing, archery, canoe races, picnicking contest, oil drum art and much more.

"The response to the Great Park Pursuit has been overwhelming," said Commissioner McCarthy. "Over the past three years we have enjoyed seeing families outside – away from their TVs and computers –enjoying nature together. Our state parks and forests have so much to offer and in these rough economic times The Great Park Pursuit is a perfect way for families to experience these amazing resources at no charge and have a lot of fun. Several families have participated since the Great Park Pursuit began in 2006 and they keep coming back for more while at the same time we are pleased to introduce new families to our pristine state parks and forests as they participate for the very first time."

University of Hartford Head Women’s basketball coach, Jen Rizzotti said, "The Great Park Pursuit is an easy way to make exercise and a healthy lifestyle a part of your everyday life. Connecticut’s state parks and forests offer families and friends the chance to spend time together outside, breathing fresh air and building a foundation for a lifetime of fitness."

Background Information

No Child Left InsideSM was introduced in 2006 by Governor M. Jodi Rell and is designed to reconnect children with the outdoors, showcase the recreational opportunities available in Connecticut’s state parks and forests, and build the next generation of environmental stewards.

Registration for The Great Park Pursuit 2009 opened on March 30 and in just four weeks a record setting 1100 families visited www.NoChildLeftInside.org to sign-up. Each team consists of at least one adult 18 years of age or older and one child under 18. Registered teams that participate for the entire seven weeks are eligible to win prizes provided by North Cove Outfitters of Old Saybrook.

The Great Park Pursuit 2009 will take Connecticut families on a journey to seven different state parks, forests and recreation areas over a seven-week period. At each location, teams will be asked to complete various activities such as hiking, fishing, canoeing and more. Each week, teams earn points for their participation and, at the end of the game, those teams with the most points (generally those that have visited all parks in the game) become semi-finalists and participate in an interactive challenge to determine game finalists. Top teams then move on to a final challenge to determine game winners.

Each week, participants will receive a new clue to the following week’s location. Additional clues to the location will be posted on the campaign website. A bonus visitation spot is included this year at Weir Farm in Wilton. All events for The Great Park Pursuit 2009 are free of charge for registered participants and open to the public regardless of whether or not they are a registered team. Only registered teams, however, are eligible for prizes.

Registered families have the opportunity to create their own personal family page on www.NoChildLeftInside.org to post photos and comments on their experience.

The Great Park Pursuit 2009, The Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure is being sponsored by the DEP with support from North Cove Outfitters, Old Saybrook; the Friends of Connecticut State Parks; and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.