Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July is Recreation and Park Month

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
July 3, 2013 Newsletter
Enjoy Summertime Fun
July is Recreation and Park Month  
Donald Forgione, Director
Donald Forgione, Director, Florida Park Service
Summer marks the beginning of a season when residents and visitors can enjoy Florida's famous sunshine. July is celebrated as National Park and Recreation Month and is considered the optimal time to enjoy Florida's natural treasures.

During the summertime, people are naturally drawn to our waters for recreation and fun with family and friends. Whether we spend our time splashing in the cool surf, building sand castles atop the warm sand on one of our many beaches, snorkeling in our freshwater springs, canoeing or kayaking on the rivers or sitting beneath the shade of a tree by the side of a lake, I encourage everyone to think safety first.

Two key components for safety in Florida are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and using an ample amount of sunscreen when you'll spend time in the sun. Always keep watchful eyes on loved ones swimming in our waters. Become aware of Florida's system of warning flags that aid beach goers and swimmers judge surf conditions. If you are boating or canoeing, always wear your life jacket or other personal floatation device. Everyone is bound to have an enjoyable experience as long as we apply these safety rules. 
Fishing is one of the best activities for experiencing Florida's waters. Children always enjoy the process of learning how to bait the hook, cast a line and reel in the big catch. As always, think safety first when it comes to sharp hooks, insects and the amount of time you spend exposed to the sun.
If you are looking for a place for outdoor fun this summer, check our website for the closest state park or state trail. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or share photos on Pinterest. Our handle is @flstateparks. If you like your information on the go, download our new mobile app by PocketRanger ® for iPhones and Androids.
See you at the park.
Donald V. Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service
An Important Safety Message from the Florida Department of Children and Families
The Sunshine State is filled with opportunities for fun this summer! When the heat gets too hot, Floridians take advantage of our beautiful sandy shores and swimming facilities. These endless opportunities for swimming cause supervision, prevention and emergency preparedness to be especially important. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. The Florida Department of Children and Families offers the following safety tips:
1) Watch - Supervise children at all times.
2) Stop - Put up barriers like fences, alarms or pool covers.
3) Prepare - Be prepared in case of emergency.

Swim safety postcards are available in English and Spanish at no cost to you! Together we can keep Florida’s children happy and swimming safely this summer! 
Reading is Fun ~ Especially in the Summertime
Florida's First Lady Ann Scott Encourages Students to Continue Reading through the Summer  
First Lady Ann Scott
First Lady Ann Scott reads a book with young people.
Last week, Florida First Lady Ann Scott continued the 2013 Summer Literacy Adventure by reading to students attending a local YMCA camp at the Ybor City Museum State Park.
Mrs. Scott encouraged students to keep reading during the summer months and was joined by representatives from the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
"I want to challenge all of Florida's students to join me in taking the Summer Literacy Adventure Pledge," said Mrs. Scott. "Florida's state parks have the perfect atmosphere for students and their families to discover nature and have fun together while reading as many books as possible."
The 2013 Summer Literacy Adventure is geared toward helping children stay motivated and excited about reading and literacy. Studies show students who read throughout the summer months are better able to retain what they learned during the school year.
Students can fill out their Summer Literacy Adventure pledge form on the Just Read, Florida! website. At the end of the summer, the school with the most pledges will receive admission passes for each student to any state park, good for up to eight people. The school will also receive a special visit from Mrs. Scott in the fall.
"Literacy is very important at all ages," said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. "We are very proud to work with First Lady Ann Scott to help children be excited about reading and staying active through the summer."
Students who take the reading pledge may utilize a free online tool to search for books based on their reading ability and interests. MetaMetrics offers a unique resource called "Find a Book, Florida" that uses Lexile measures, a widely adopted reading metric, that can guide a reader to the appropriate books.
For more information, visit 2013 Summer Literacy Adventure.
The Florida Department of Education's Just Read, Florida! office offers a 2013 Summer Reading List and tips for parents to keep their children learning. To learn about these resources and more, visit Just Read, Florida!.
Point. Shoot. Win a Prize
Enter your photos in the monthly photo contest
Photography is popular in state parks.
Do you have great photos of your family vacation taken at a state park? Enter your photos in the monthly state parks and state trails photo contest. You will be entered for a chance to win a journal, called a Florida State Parks Passport, which chronicles your visits to state parks and allows you to collect a stamp for each park you visit.
Each photographer must register to receive a Photographer ID number. Photos can be emailed to enter the contest. On the first of each month, up to 40 photos are selected for online voting throughout the month. At the end of the month, the votes are tallied and the winner receives a Florida State Park Passport.
The twelve monthly winners are entered into the Annual Photo Contest for a chance to win a Family Annual Entrance Pass. That contest is judged by professional photographers. 
More Summer Fun at Florida State Parks
Upcoming Special Events
    Mobile App for Smartphones Plan your state park adventures using the new Pocket Ranger® app for your smartphone.The FREE Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app is available now on iTunes, Android Market and

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