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Texas Nature Challenge Wants to Challenge You to Get Your Kids off the Couch and Exploring Outdoors

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is for your family to go on as many nature adventures as possible during the Texas Nature Challenge.

Take your family on a journey this spring and summer to some of the coolest outdoor sites in Texas. Each site participating in TNC offers challenges. Families or teams visit the sites, participate in the challenge and record what they saw, did or made.

Challenges can be as simple as discovering a secret location at a park and recording it with a photo, to becoming a junior ranger at a State Park. Teams will participate in fishing events, learn how to geocache, go on a fossil hunt, learn how to make paper, and take a walk in the wild.

This year, TNC has added digital badges that teams can earn. Each region has specific badges. If a team is really feeling adventurous, they can now participate in challenges outside of their home region.

Texas A&M Forest Service, in partnership with others, came up with TNC in an effort to help families discover the amazing nature spaces that are within their own communities. Research shows that when children learn and play outdoors they are healthier, happier and smarter.

“Many people consider nature to be a far away place and do not see it as something that they have a daily connection with already. TNC gives families a reason to get outdoors and learn what nature exists in their own community.” Jennifer Bristol, Director, Texas Children in Nature.

Children today spend on average seven hours per day indoors, usually with media, and only minutes playing in nature. This alarming statistic, along with others, was enough to start a movement around the country to reconnect youth with nature. By creating opportunities to explore the nature that is local, children and families are given a reason to get off the couch and get outdoors.

Each challenge introduces families to a park, nature center or outdoor space that they might not have otherwise visited. By the end of the challenge, which is normally about three months in each region, families have a chance to see some of the coolest places in Texas.

How can families start their mission? Visit the Texas Nature Challenge website, register your team, make a plan to visit each challenge, start recording each adventure through a digital or handmade journal, and then win prizes at the closing ceremonies in your region.

Challenges are different for each region:

Austin- April 23 to August 13

North Texas- April 23 to July 9

Rio Grande Valley- May 28 to August 27

Coastal Bend- August to November

You can also find Texas Nature Challenges on Nature Rocks Texas.