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  YOUTH PROGRAMS 
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“…if we can teach our children to honor nature's gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”

-Jimmy Carter

The Department of Natural Resources is dedicated to fostering and maintaining youth participation in the outdoor activities.  Illinois and the nation have fallen into sedentary activities and behaviors that have caused us to lose our connection with the outdoor world.  The author, Richard Louv, coined the phrase Nature-Deficit Disorder to describe how today’s youth are better able to identify cartoon characters than the birds in their own backyards.  Louv points out that the radius of land surrounding homes has shrunk 91% since 1970.  Illinois’ State Parks and educational programs offer exciting and unique opportunities that will connect people with nature, the outdoors, and can offer Illinois citizens a large backyard in which they can run, bike, hike, camp, hunt, fish, boat, and many other fun and adventurous activities.
Kids, families, schools and other organizations can use Department sites, resources, and materials to improve youth understanding and appreciation for the outdoors.  We encourage teachers, parents, mentors and kids to use this website to find opportunities to participate in and learn about nature and outdoor recreation.

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Leave No Child Inside
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The mission of the Illinois Conservation Congress is to propose and advocate actions that can be taken by elected and appointed officials to protect and conserve the natural resources of the State of Illinois, and ensure through professional management that sustainable use, recreational opportunities and enjoyment of these resources is available for this and future generations.
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