AUSTIN – Take your family on a journey this spring and summer to some of the coolest outdoor sites in Texas, including 14 state parks across the state. By participating in this year’s Texas Nature Challenge, families or teams visit certain sites throughout the state and record what they see, do or make.
Texas A&M Forest Service and other outdoor agencies, including Texas Children in Nature, organized TNC to help families discover amazing nature spaces within their communities. Children today spend an average of seven hours a day indoors and only minutes playing in nature, but research shows children are healthier, happier and smarter when they learn and play outdoors.
“Many people consider nature to be a far away place and don’t see it as something they have a daily connection with already,” said Jennifer Bristol, director of Texas Children in Nature. “TNC gives families a reason to get outdoors and learn what nature exists in their own community.”
Each challenge introduces families to a park, nature center or outdoor space in their community. By the end of the challenge, which lasts about three months in each region, families have a chance to see some of the coolest places in Texas.
Challenges range from discovering a secret location at a park and recording it with a photo to becoming a junior ranger at a state park. Other challenge activities include fishing events, learning how to geocache, fossil hunting, learning how to make paper or taking a walk in the wild.
This year, TNC has added digital badges for teams to earn from each region. If a team is really feeling adventurous, they can now participate in challenges outside of their home region.
To start completing challenges, visit the Texas Nature Challenge website to check out the challenges in your region. Then, register your team and start recording each adventure through a digital or handmade journal. Teams can win prizes for completing challenges at the closing ceremonies in each region.