As I was building this year's Unplug and Be Outside event, I discovered a treasure trove of free resources and inspirational material. Some reminded me of how important it is to be active. Some reminded me of how nature resets brain activity. Some just made me excited and proud that I live in Idaho. I wanted to share these in hopes they will inspire you to put down your electronic devices and look up. This list focuses on the free resources as a starting point. In no particular order:
Golden Audubon Society: This group hosts family field trips monthly specifically designed for children. They provide the binoculars and field guides for the day. For those who want to stay close to home, they offer 3 hour bird watching walking tours along the greenbelt.
Idaho Fish and Game: Among the many services provide by the Idaho Fish and Game, the have also created the Idaho Birding Trail, an interactive map with more than 175 sites and 2,000 miles of trial that lead you to the best of the best in bird viewing opportunities in Idaho.
Idaho Parks & Recreation: Everything you need from camping reservations to boater safety classes can be found on the IP&R website. Parents might take a look at the Junior Ranger programs or the "Experience Idaho" loaner backpacks. Visit reced.idaho.gov to view the current class offerings.
Ridge to Rivers: The foothills offer quick easy access to hiking, biking and jogging trials, some of which provide stellar views of the valley with the nightly sunsets. Check out this map and search for your dream trial whether that be an easy walk for the kids or a challenging hike that will get your heartbeat up and your legs wondering why you sat around all winter.
MK Nature Center: The StreamWalk and Visitor Center provide a glimpse of Idaho's many landscapes and abundant wildlife. Underwater viewing windows along the stream walk give visitors a fish-eye view of the world.
MeetUp:Meetup has hiking, dancing, and lots of socializing groups of nearly every interest area. Making new friends can be tough. Meetup makes it fun.
Splash Pads: Splash pads are a fun way to cool off and pay outside. They can be found in Kleiner Park, Settlers Park and Generations Plaza. They generally operate from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Stueby's Outdoor Journal: Steve Stuebner offers weekly tips for getting outside. It's always timely and perfect for the season. You can view his blog with recommendations here or listen to 94.9 The River on Friday mornings at 7:40am.
Gardening and Landscaping: If gardening interests you, University of Idaho Extension offers a plethora of excellent information on gardening in Idaho including tips on pests, pruning, vegetable gardens and lawn care.