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NEW INITIATIVE: Nature Play "Prescription" Program

By NEW INITIATIVE: Nature Play "Prescription" Program

April 10, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

NATURE PLAY PRESCRIPTION PROGRAM TO INCREASE HEALTHY ACTIVITY FOR CHILDREN AT FLORIDA’S STATE PARKS
~Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Get Outdoor Florida! make announcement during Children’s Week at Capitol ~

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and Get Outdoors Florida! today announced the launch of the Nature Play “Prescription” Pilot Project. The goal of the project is to increase healthy activity for children and their families through access to Florida’s remarkable state parks. The “prescription” will grant a onetime, free entry into a state park for a child and their family or friends.

“Nature Play ‘Prescription’ is a great opportunity for children and families to get outside and enjoy Florida’s outstanding state parks,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “This groundbreaking collaboration is another example of how state agencies are working together for Florida’s families.”

“With 171 state parks and state trails, all Floridians are within one hour of a state park,” said Donald Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service, “If you live in an urban or rural area, there’s there an opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation. Children will enjoy hiking, building sand castles or playing on the playground.”

Florida’s 171 state parks and trails inspire residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 161 parks, 10 state trails, nearly 800,000 acres, 100 miles of beaches and more than 1,500 miles of multi-use trails, Florida’s families are invited to visit soon and often to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures.

“Get Outdoors Florida! is excited to take part in this initiative, as it helps further our mission of improving whole health through active outdoor lifestyles,” said Adam Straubinger, a member of Get Outdoors Florida!

The Department of Health staff in 40 counties will participate in the pilot program by providing more than 120 health care professionals with “prescriptions” to hand out to patients. The pilot project includes 10,000 “prescription” passes which may be used at Florida state parks. The program is launched during Children’s Week in Tallahassee, an annual week dedicated to promoting the health, safety and well-being of children and families in Florida. The Department of Health participated in the week by highlighting the many services offered to children and their families from pre-natal through young adulthood. The Nature Play “Prescription” Pilot Project offers an opportunity for children and families to increase physical activity and represents the most recent effort of Healthiest Weight Florida. For more information about Healthiest Weight Florida, please visit www.HealthiestWeightFL.com.

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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