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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Jun 27, 2009

June has been proclaimed Great Outdoors Month as a way to encourage Iowans to put down the video game, turn off the television and head outside, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

There are enough wonderful natural resources in Iowa for everyone to enjoy, from camping to bird-watching to canoeing. Try something new this year like geo-caching or fishing. Or, if you are a seasoned pro, take along someone who has never had the opportunity and show them the ropes. You could gain a hiking or fishing buddy for life.

There are many physical and psychological benefits to getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. Research shows that kids who regularly play outside have lower stress levels, tend to play more creatively and have a greater respect for themselves, for others and for the environment.

It has been discovered that good old-fashioned dirt contains a variety of microbes, bacteria and viruses that are actually good for kids by helping boost their immune systems. So take the kids outside and get dirty this month.

Today, June 27, is the Great American Backyard Campout, so grab your tent and the marshmallows and head out to a state park or at the least, your own backyard, for a campout. Watch the stars light up the sky as you tell stories and connect, not only with the great outdoors, but also each other.

This is the perfect opportunity to start traditions that will last a lifetime.