by Cassie Steele, Freelance Writer
The Maine Outdoor Coalition is dedicated to encouraging people to try new outdoor activities and explore their local environment and, through its Winter Kids project, the Coalition has already helped 100,000 Maine kids get active. Spending quality time out in the fresh air has many proven physical benefits and by getting outside as a family to explore gardening, nature, and agriculture, you are also helping to create a new generation with a connection to growing.
Get out in the garden
The first place to begin exploring the outdoors together is your own backyard. This is where even very small children can enjoy digging around in the dirt and start experimenting with planting. Older kids can join a gardening program which will give them ideas for plants to grow at home and as a family. For more inspiration, visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, one of the biggest and best public gardens in the country. There are plenty of organized activities for families in the children’s garden or you can just wander through different themed areas and enjoy the diverse habitats mimicking the natural Maine scenery.
Follow a nature trail
If you want to experience the real thing, camping provides the ideal setting for family bonding and appreciating the beauty of nature. You can put your tent up on Maine’s Public Reserved Lands or enjoy the amenities offered at some of Maine’s 32 State Parks. From your campsite, you then can take one of the many nature trails that are well-marked and easy to follow as a family. There are several of varying lengths at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park where you can explore woodlands, mountains, and miles of rugged Maine coastline.
Learn about farming
While you are there, take a look at the Center for Agriculture and the Environment where you can visit organic vegetable gardens and fields. Here, and at other working farms throughout the state, you can support local agriculture, meet farm animals, find out about sustainable food production and even try some of the produce. You can all enjoy learning about the role of planting and farming, where our food comes from and how it connects us with nature.
With such beautiful and diverse landscapes to explore and so many organized activities and programs to help guide you, there’s no excuse not to get out and about as a family In Maine. There’s plenty to do all year round and it’s a great way to explore the local landscapes, learn about the environment and bond as a family.