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VANCOUVER/RICHMOND — For the next four weeks, Richmond residents are being encouraged to get outside with their families. It's all part of the City of Richmond's decision to join the David Suzuki Foundation's campaign to get 5,000 families outside this fall.

"The Family Challenge Campaign is a great way for families to reconnect with the environment," says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. "It reminds us that we need a healthy environment in order to live healthy lives and encourages families to get outside and be active. It's also a great way to bring the family together for activities that are both fun and meaningful. The City of Richmond is pleased to accept the challenge and support this important initiative."

According to a recent David Suzuki Foundation survey, 70 per cent of Canadian youth spend an hour or less outside each day. The same survey found that families and teachers play an important role in helping young people get close to nature.

"Getting outside as a family can help create a nature habit," says Leanne Clare, project lead for DSF's Connecting Youth with Nature Program. "We found that if youth spend time outside when they're young, they're 20 per cent more likely to explore nature on their own when they're older."

To encourage families to spend more time outside, the David Suzuki Foundation has created a four-week challenge asking families to do four simple outdoor activities that have them explore their neighbourhoods and their connections to nature. Suggested activities include:

  • Week 1: Food miles for the family: Visit the local farmers' market to see the bounty of the fall harvest.
  • Week 2: Discovering that nature has limits: Hike through the fall colours to learn that nature has limits we must learn to respect.
  • Week 3: Water, water, everywhere: Look for ponds, streams and puddles in your neighbourhood to start off a conversation about the importance of water in nature and our lives.
  • Week 4: Home-heating blowing away with the wind: Pull on sweaters and hunt for drafts around your home to help fight climate change.

More information on taking the challenge can be found at

Studies have shown that spending time in nature helps with recall and memory, problem-solving and creativity. Children and adults who spend time outside are physically and mentally healthier. www.davidsuzuki.org/

The City of Richmond and the David Suzuki Foundation have enjoyed successful cooperation before. Earlier this year, they were key partners in Richmond's Earth Day Youth (REaDY) Summit.

Download the Chinese language poster to spread the word about this exciting program!

For further information, please contact:

Ted Townsend, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Richmond
Tel: 604-276-4399 Cell: 604-516-9585
Email: ttownsend@richmond.ca

Winnie Hwo
Public Engagement and Communications Specialist,
David Suzuki Foundation
Tel: 604-73202448 Ext. 1255
Email: winnie@davidsuzuki.org

October 3, 2012