Friday, March 18, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday to our National Parks

Our country's national parks turn 100 this year! One focus of the celebration includes inviting citizens to visit the parks they own and take advantage of the natural landscapes available to them.

To help with this goal, the parks service has launched the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative. This new program provides fourth graders free access to federal lands and waters. The access pass is valid for the 2015- 2016 school year. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders and three accompanying adults (or an entire vehicle) at more than 2,000 federally managed sites. Teachers can request individual passes for their entire class. Get more information at

Even if you don't know a fourth grader, use this 100th anniversary year to immerse yourself in local nature near you. Follow the link below to Find Your Park.  Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks can be visited now. Head to Sequoia or Channel Islands National Park when it warms up this summer.

Here are three reasons to seek out some time in nature.

Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is the term used to describe eye problems caused by staring at a screen close to your face for prolonged periods.  Do you work on a computer for a living? Do you watch TV when you’re not working?  If so, you’re at risk of developing the symptoms associated with CVS: blurred vision, double vision, dry/red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain.  Getting outside and focusing on objects not two feet from your face can help to prevent and even reverse these symptoms.

Get Fresh Air  Indoor pollutants are normally 2 to 5 (and up to 100) times higher than outdoor pollutants.  And, according to the California Air Resources Board “indoor air-pollutants are 25-62% greater than outside levels and this difference poses a serious risk to health.”  Such health risks include heart disease, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and asthmatic attacks.

Improve Your Psychological Health  Spending time in nature has been linked to improved attention spans (short and long term), boosts in serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and shows increased activity in the parts of the brain responsible for empathy, emotional stability, and love (whereas urban environments do the same for fear and anxiety).

Get Outside This Week
Stay Active & Enjoy Your Food 

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