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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: September 21, 2011

Are your children spending too much time watching TV, on Facebook or video gaming? Now's your chance to tempt them to explore nature. Take a Child Outside (TACO) week kicks off Sept. 24 and runs through Sept. 30, with lots of free outdoor activities.

Now a national effort, TACO week was started in Raleigh by staff at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. After reading Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods," which extolled the benefits for children of playing outdoors, museum staff began working on a plan to urge kids to experience the joys of nature. They developed TACO week to ward off what Louv called Nature Deficit Disorder," which he believed was stress in children that resulted from them spending too little time outdoors.

During TACO week, parents and caregivers are asked to visit the TACO website and pledge to take a child outside. Wake County Parks, Recreation, and Open Space will be making it easy to take your kids out by waiving program fees for special TACO activities such as those listed below. Pre-registration may be required for some events. For a complete list of TACO Week events at Wake County parks, visit www.wakegov.com/parks.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Stories: Creepy Crawlies
Children ages 3 to 5, and their caregivers, are invited to creep and crawl with staff at Blue Jay Point to learn about insects and other invertebrates. Make a "buggy" craft to take home. For information, call 870-4330. Blue Jay Point County Park is located at 3200 Pleasant Union Church Road, in Raleigh.

Sunday, Sept. 25, 1-5 p.m. – Nature Discovery
People of all ages can take part in scavenger hunts, bird watching and fishing at Lake Crabtree County Park. Families can bring their own equipment or borrow equipment from park staff. Participants ages 16 and older must have a valid fishing license to borrow fishing gear. Meet at the Dogwood Shelter. For information, call 460-3390. Lake Crabtree County Park is located at 1400 Aviation Parkway, in Morrisville.

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6-8 p.m. – Learn to Fish
Come to Lake Crabtree County Park for an informal catch-and-release fishing experience for the whole family. All fishing equipment, bait and basic instruction are provided. A North Carolina fishing license is required for participants ages 16 years and older. The program is subject to weather conditions. For information, call 460-3390. Lake Crabtree County Park is located at 1400 Aviation Parkway, in Morrisville.

Friday, Sept. 30, 7:30-8:30 p.m. – Evening Splendor
Join park staff at the American Tobacco Trail and take a stroll through the woods to look and listen for animals that are active at night. For information, call 387-2117. The American Tobacco Trail is located at 2112 County Park Drive, in Apex.





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