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Vancouver — For the next four weeks, friends of the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Green Squad and Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) will keep their outdoor shoes on as they sign up for the David Suzuki Foundation's second annual Fall Family Challenge.

"We are delighted to have S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and SPES on board to launch this campaign," said Rachelle Delaney, David Suzuki Foundation Connecting Youth with Nature project lead. "We want to inspire families across Canada to spend time outside together, even during the busy back-to-school season. Time in nature has been shown to make us happier, smarter and more creative, so there's no better time to cultivate a family nature habit."

According to Kelly Ng, chief operating officer at S.U.C.C.E.S.S., "It is inspiring to witness our youth engage their peers and different communities with such initiative. We are very pleased to support the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Green Squad's collaboration with the David Suzuki Foundation and Stanley Park Ecology Society — both leading environmental organizations in Vancouver. I have no doubt their enthusiasm for connecting families and individuals with nature will reach other members of our communities."

The Stanley Park Ecology Society has been connecting people with nature for the past 25 years, rain or shine. "Overwhelming research shows how vital it is for youth to spend time in nature, exploring, resting and playing," said SPES executive director Patricia Thomson. "Stanley Park Ecology Society is pleased to contribute our 25 years of experience in connecting people with nature as we collaborate with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and the David Suzuki Foundation to engage, inspire and invest young families in nature discovery."

According to the David Suzuki Foundation's Connecting Youth with Nature research released in 2012, 70 per cent of youth in Canada spend less than an hour outside each day. Yet, studies have shown children who spend time in nature have less stress, better eyesight and increased creativity. In fact, exposure to the natural environment leads people to nurture close relationships with other human beings, value community and be more generous.

All the health benefits can translate into significant economic gain. Latest figures (2011) show over $42 billion was spent on treatment and support services for mental health problems. Canadian employers lose an estimated $20 billion per year due to stress-related illnesses, which are the number one reason for sick leave. The situation for immigrants reflects this. Recent figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show about 29 per cent of immigrants reported having emotional problems and 16 per cent reported high levels of stress.

Starting September 16, participants will receive weekly emails containing fun outdoor activities, instructions and tips. Throughout the challenge, they can connect to the Foundation's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for stories, photos and tips from families across Canada.

More information on taking the challenge can be found at getbackoutside.ca.

You can sign up for the activities here: http://ow.ly/owxc3..

Follow the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Green Squad for project updates and contest information:

Facebook: facebook.com/successgreensquad
Twitter: @SGSVancity
Tumblr: successgreensquad.tumblr.com

Media contacts:

Winnie Hwo
David Suzuki Foundation
Tel: 604-732-2448 Ext. 1255
Cell: 778-866-6371

Eileen Lao
Tel: 604-408-7243
Cell: 778-997-8283

Jodie Mak
Tel: 604-408-7274 Ext. 2154

September 14, 2013