OKKids Day Slated For May 3rd

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The Kansas Wildscape Foundation has designated Sat., May 3, as the third annual Outdoors Kansas for Kids Day. Getting kids into the outdoors and having fun are the cornerstones of OKKids Day program.

Wildscape and its program partners plan to have thousands of Kansas kids hiking, canoeing, fishing, biking, hunting and bird watching on OKKids Day at Kansas' state parks, many city and county parks, and other sites throughout the state.

"We are very excited about OKKids Day and what it means for the kids and parents of our state," says Megan Krier, OKKids Coordinator for the Kansas Wildscape Foundation. "For many of them, it will be an introduction to the enjoyment of the outdoors. For others, it will be a reawakening of their outdoor interests."

A major partner with Wildscape is the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, which will host OKKids Day events at most of the state parks it manages. This year's event is held in conjunction with Free State Park Entrance Days (May 3 and 4), which allows everyone to enter any state park in Kansas free-of-charge.

"Our park managers are putting together a wide range of activities for our young guests," says Mike Hayden, secretary of the agency. "We are excited about showcasing the many lakes, marshes, trails, and resources of our parks. Outdoor traditions -- whether they involve camping, hiking, fishing, or hunting -- are important legacies for our state, and that is what OKKids Day, and our department's 'Pass It On' program, are all about."

The Kansas Recreation and Park Association (KRPA) also endorses OKKids Day, and many of its member agencies are signing up to host events. Laura Kelly, executive director of KRPA, sees OKKids as a natural extension of their programs.

"Getting kids involved in learning skills and having fun in an outdoors setting promotes an active, healthy lifestyle as an alternative to the otherwise sedentary lives many of them lead," Kelly explains.

"The beauty of the program is that each partner organization can plan and conduct the types of outdoor activities consistent with their missions and their facilities," says Hank Booth, executive director of Kansas Wildscape. "All events are free to the public, and prizes will be provided for participants. We'll also be encouraging individuals and families to simply enjoy the outdoors on May 3, even if they don't go to an organized event."

OKKids Day is made possible with the generous financial support of Bass Pro Shops, Capitol Federal Savings, and the Kansas Health Foundation.

Events and sites are posted on the Kansas Wildscape Foundation website, www.kansaswildscape.com. For additional information, contact Megan Krier toll free at (866) OKKIDSS, or e-mail wildscape@sunflower.com.