Every year when the sun starts to peek its warm rays out from behind those milky gray clouds, there’s an almost tangible happiness. Families crowd to the trails, to the parks, to the sidewalks. It feels good to get that vitamin D! But too often, that drive to get outdoors wanes and we head back indoors to our computers, tablets and phones. It’s a cycle that most definitely needs to be broken! Survey says: Spend more time outdoors! The most recent Kaiser Family Foundation Study on daily media use among children and teens found that the average 8 to 18 year old spends 7.5 hours using media daily. Studies also show that spending time outdoors with structured and unstructured play helps kids develop mentally and physically, including better sleep, increased attentiveness, boosted critical thinking skills and overall better health. Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) is working to overcome that dissonance and connect the community with the outdoors through nature programming and environmental advocacy. Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation focuses on nature “Access to parks and nature programming is so important for all ages, but especially for our kids,” says Erica Foreman, program supervisor for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. “One of our largest areas of focus is to keep nature education and access to the outdoors at the forefront for our community.” CCPR offers hundreds of nature-related programs every year. The organization’s natural resources coordinator, resident naturalist and programming supervisors work together to offer a variety of programs and field trips to the community for ages preschool to senior. Programs are designed to connect participants with nature through learning, activities and play. In the seasonal program guides, you will find an array of nature programs for all interests. Interested in birding? Tapping maple trees? Learning about the history of Carmel parks? You’ll find all this and more each season. Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation CCPR manages and maintains more than 500 acres of park land. Throughout Carmel, you will find 13 parks and four greenways offering greenspace, playgrounds, access to natural resources, and education through interpretive signage. By focusing on nature programming and advocacy, CCPR is not only helping to develop a healthier community, it is also creating a sustainable future by maintaining and improving the community’s resources through natural, cultural and land resource management. Let’s take this party to the park! CCPR is a resource for families to combat ever-increasing media consumption and an “indoor childhood.” Through seasonal programs, children (and parents, too!) can spend time learning about pollinators, fishing, butterflies and more out in CCPR’s many parks and facilities. By instilling the importance of nature and natural resources at a young age, kids will be equipped to carry that appreciation with them into adulthood. Dig into nature at CCPR by exploring their programs online at carmelclayparks.com/programs/nature.