Connecticut Families Descend On Hammonasset Beach State Park For First Leg Of Outdoor Adventure Game

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Third Annual Great Park Pursuit Attracts Over 900 Families

Connecticut’s largest shoreline park served as the kick-off location today for the third annual Great Park Pursuit. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy joined families from across the state at Hammonasset Beach 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 for a chance to win prizes. The game is part of the statewide No Child Left InsideSM initiative and has doubled in size to more than 900 families since its inception in 2006.

Families today enjoyed canoeing, a bird hike, biking, storytelling and participating in a variety of other activities. Families were also able to visit the Nature Center at Meigs’ Point.

“The response to the Great Park Pursuit has been phenomenal,” said Commissioner McCarthy. “Our goal is to get families outside – away from their TVs and computers – to enjoy nature together. Our state parks and forests have so much to offer and The Great Park Pursuit is a way for families to experience these amazing resources and have a lot of fun. We have many families that have returned for the third year in a row and many new families that are participating for the very first time.”

The special theme of today’s event was “Clean Air” and participants played games and enjoyed special “air” activities including kite making, observing professional kite flyers, learning about birds of prey, partaking in meteorological studies and competing in a clean energy dance contest.

The Great Park Pursuit players learned how air quality impacts the health of everyone. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now offering EnviroFlash, a service that automatically notifies participants by e-mail when high concentrations of ground-level ozone or fine particles are predicted in your area. To learn more visit:

No Child Left Inside 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 2008 opened on April 1 and in just four weeks over 900 families flocked to the campaign website,, to sign-up. Each team must consist 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 fabulous outdoor grand prize packages provided by North Cove Outfitters of Old Saybrook and L.L.Bean. Prizes include a water excursion package, a camping package and a bike package. Additional prizes and giveaways provided by North Cove Outfitters, L.L. Bean and Dick’s Sporting Goods will be awarded to game semi-finalists and finalists.

The Great Park Pursuit 2008 will take Connecticut families on a journey to seven different state parks and forests over a seven-week period. At each location, teams will be asked to complete various activities such as hiking, letterboxing, 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 will 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 for the first time this year for The Henry Whitfield State Museum in Guilford. All events for The Great Park Pursuit 2008 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 the campaign website to post photos and comments on their experience.

The Great Park Pursuit 2008, The Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure is being sponsored by the DEP with support from the Friends of Connecticut State Parks, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, WFSB-TV/3, North Cove Outfitters, L.L.Bean, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Aquarion Water Company, and Dermatone Laboratories.