Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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SD: GFP, DOH work to get kids outside

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the
Department of Health teamed up in an effort to increase the amount
of time pre-school age children spend outdoors.

The two departments recently awarded nature backpacks, filled
with items to encourage outdoor activities, to childcare providers
and pre-schools across the state. Based on class sizes provided by
applicants, the backpacks will reach over 7,500 children.

“The nature backpack program is a perfect opportunity for the
GFP and the Department of Health to partner with caregivers in
getting kids outside,” said GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk. “Keeping kids
physically active and connecting them with nature is very
important, both for the children as individuals and for our society
as a whole.”

Studies show children who play outside are healthier, have
higher self-esteem, are good problem-solvers, have good
self-discipline and do better in school.

This is the second installment of the grant program. In 2010,
the Game, Fish and Parks reached 4,780 children by awarding
backpacks to 180 childcare providers across the state. Follow-up
surveys showed that childcare providers were going outside more
often and spending longer periods of time outside each time.

Vonk said that the grant provided for 300 backpacks, and a few
currently remain unassigned. These will be filled on a first-come,
first-served basis to qualified applicants. Applications are
available at www.gfp.sg.gov.

The Game, Fish and Parks and Department of Health plan to pair
up again to offer the grant program next year, focusing on
after-school and out-of-school programs. Applications for that
installment will be available this fall.

More information on other opportunities provided by GFP can be
found at GFP’s Children in Nature webpage.

 

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