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Rhode Islanders Invited to Discover State Parks and Compete for Prizes at the 6th Annual Great Outdoors Pursuit

Teams climb, jump, run, walk, row and swim their way into better shape

Teams may register for free and low-cost activities that promote healthier lives and environmental conservation

PROVIDENCE On Sunday, May 19 at Lincoln Woods State Park, the Departments of Environmental Management and Health will launch the 2013 Great Outdoors Pursuit, a summer-long program and game designed to help children, families and individuals enjoy the recreational resources Rhode Island state parks have to offer to encourage more physical activity by trying new outdoor activities. The event will run from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The game will take Rhode Islanders to seven different state parks and forests over a 13-week period. Teams can register for the game at: www.riparks.com. Teams of children and adults will be challenged to visit different facilities and take part in outdoor adventures and learn about environmental and health issues.

The first event at Lincoln Woods, presented by UnitedHealthcare (UHC), will feature UHC's Join For Me van with information on healthy living and free BMI screenings for kids and teens, a family fitness challenge with Whole Family Wellness, LLC, the YMCA's inflatable obstacle course, a healthy cooking demonstration, kayaking, horseback riding, and fishing. Children will also be able to help DEM stock trout in Olney Pond and learn about watersheds with staff and volunteers from the National Park Service.

Registered participants will enjoy free carrot and ginger soup or chowder provided by Blount Clam Shack. Each registered child who completes certain activities will also receive a free toy, compliments of Hasbro, Inc. All activities, except for kayaking and horseback riding, are free thanks to the generous support of local business. Kayaking and horseback riding will be offered at deeply discounted rates. A complete list of activities follows and is also available on the www.riparks.com website.

There will also be a free electronic waste collection at the event. Items such as residential computers, laptops, monitors, televisions, cell phones, and other electronic gadgetry may be dropped off. Complete details are available on the program website.

"The Rhode Island Great Outdoors Pursuit offers a great opportunity to try healthy, outdoor activities in our beautiful state parks," said Janet Coit, Director of DEM. "Our goal is to build the next generation of stewards who will preserve and protect these precious natural areas."

"Getting Rhode Islanders outside and physically active is an important step in reducing obesity and moving us toward making Rhode Island the healthiest state in the nation," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH. "Getting outside and having fun together is important to our good health."

Teams will receive points for participating in each event and will be eligible for prizes of outdoor equipment donated by local retailers and sponsors that will be awarded at the Pursuit finale on August 17. The full schedule and game rules are posted at www.RIparks.com.

Registration is free. Teams that register are eligible for prizes. Everyone, even if they don't register, is welcome to come to the events and enjoy the fun and educational activities. More than 2,000 people participated last year and the Department of Environmental Management is expecting a larger turnout this year.

"We applaud the Department of Environmental Management for their leadership in launching the Great Outdoors Pursuit, and encouraging Rhode Islanders to live healthier lives by enjoying the outdoors," said Stephen J. Farrell, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New England. "UnitedHealthcare shares the Department of Environmental Management's commitment to preserving Rhode Island's state parks, and promoting their role in helping people adopt an active and healthier lifestyle."

Support for the project comes from the Rhode Island Department of Health, Verizon, UnitedHealthcare and other businesses. A full list of sponsors and partners appears on the program website.

Please contact Robert Paquette at (401)222-2632, email robert.paquette@dem.ri.gov or Terri Bisson at (401) 222-2776, ext. 4402, email at terri.bisson@dem.ri.gov for more information.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management

Online: http://www.dem.ri.gov/

Release date: 05-10-2013

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