DNR Invites Families to Join Park Quest Adventures

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Governor O’Malley Encourages Citizens to Explore Maryland State Parks

CLICK HERE to Visit the Maryland DNR's Park Quest Adventures WebsiteAnnapolis, Md.  – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites families to sign up for the second season of Park Quest, a Maryland Park Service outdoor adventure-based program designed to encourage families to spend more time playing together in the great outdoors.

“Our State Parks are host to some of the most magnificent natural sights and wildlife,” said Governor O’Malley. “This summer, I encourage Maryland families to take advantage of this opportunity to spend time with their family in our beautiful outdoor destinations.”

Park Quest is a free 11-week competition, beginning on May 9 and continuing through July 26, which challenges families to complete designated outdoor activities and challenges at 14 specific state parks throughout Maryland. Participants who complete 8 of the 14 challenge activities will qualify to compete in the Park Quest Finale on August 8, 2009 at Tuckahoe State Park.

“Maryland State Parks and our Park Quest adventures offer every citizen, young or old, the opportunity to connect with our natural world,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Research has shown time and again that children that spend time outdoors become better students, better citizens and ultimately better stewards of our environment.”

Up to 300 teams, made up of at least one team member 16 years of age or younger and one adult, may visit 14 Maryland State Parks and take part in a variety of activities. Upon completing assigned activities, such as paddling quiet streams, hiking trails in search of historic clues, finding items on a scavenger hunt, and even disc golf, the team will receive a stamp on their Park Quest passport.

At the conclusion of the 11-week period, teams that have at least 8 completed Park Quests logged in their Passport will be invited to attend The Park Quest Finale. At the Finale, teams compete in games of chance, environmental knowledge and outdoor skills for the opportunity to win one of several great family prize packages. Prizes at the final competition are made possible by many private and corporate sponsors.

Interested Park Quest participants must register online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/parkquest or by contacting the Maryland Park Service at 410-260-8186 or toll-free at 1-800-830-3974, Monday through Friday.

To help ensure that all Maryland children have an opportunity to experience and connect with nature, last spring Governor Martin O’Malley established Maryland’s Partnership for Children in Nature, a coalition of state, local, private and non-profit partners charged with promoting the well-being of youth by accelerating environmental learning, connecting communities to parks and public lands and expanding opportunities for structured and unstructured outdoor time in nature for both play and learning. The Partnership’s initial report is expected to be presented to the Governor in April.