About Us

3rd Annual "Take A Child Outside Week", Sep. 24-30

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—September 15, 2009
Environment, Education, Travel Editors.
Contact: Emelia Cowans, emelia.cowans@naturalsciences.org

RALEIGH — Take A Child Outside Week, a national initiative spearheaded by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences kicks off Thursday, September 24 and runs through Wednesday, September 30. Designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from exploring the natural world, the week encourages children and adults to spend time together outdoors. It was inspired by Richard Louv’s book “Last Child in the Woods,” which identifies the benefits of outdoor experiences for children and addresses some of the problems of what he terms “Nature Deficit Disorder,” such as increased feelings of stress, trouble paying attention and feelings of being disconnected from the world.

On the Take A Child Outside web site (www.takeachildoutside.org), adults are encouraged to make a pledge to take a child outside during the week and chart their location on a digital map. The web site also offers a link to interesting outdoor activities, a list of participating organizations in your area and a portal for partner organizations to post information and add links to their website. "By arming parents, teachers and caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, children will become reconnected with nature and spend more time outdoors," says Liz Baird, Director of School Programs at the Museum.

Currently, all 50 US states and four foreign countries actively participate in Take A Child Outside Week. This initiative attracted 109 partners its first year and now over 300 organizations participate nationwide including all 35 North Carolina State Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prairie Ridge Activity

Visitors can also venture outside with Museum educators to explore a variety of habitats— including a Piedmont prairie, woodlands, a lowland forest and a pond — on Thursday, September 24 from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the Museum’s Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh. Free guided walks will begin every 30 minutes, with the last walk at 6 p.m. All ages are welcome. (Children 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.) Please wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes. No registration required. For information contact: Cathy Fergen at 919.707.8878 or visit

Examples of Take A Child Outside activities

  • Make a Date with the Moon - A monthly journey outside to look at the full moon.
  • Spritzing spider webs – Discover the architecture behind spider webs by using spritz bottles.
  • Leaf number search - Find and identify leaves with one to ten points and beyond.
  • Shadow search - Use chalk to trace a shadow on the sidewalk, come back later to see how the shadow has moved and learn why.
  • Animal tracks – Locate animal tracks in the dirt and cast them in plaster.
  • Outdoor sculpture- Follow sculptor Andy Goldsworthy's lead and create sculptures using only tools found in nature
  • Shape search - Find common shapes (square, circle, triangle etc.) in nature
  • Color search – Identify colors of the rainbow found in nature.
  • Bird song - Listen for a bird call and attempt your own imitation.

As part of the week, the Museum will also hide seven geocaches in the greater Triangle area. Geocaching is a worldwide game of using GPS technology to hide and seek treasure. Visit www.takeachildoutside.org to find out the locations of these new caches. For more information or to join us as a partner please contact Liz Baird at  919.707.9893.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones St., Raleigh, documents and interprets natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming. Hours: Mon-Sat., 9 am–5pm and Sun., Noon–5pm.  Admission is free. Find more information on the web at www.naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary.