‘Explore Your World’ backpack kits available for free checkout at county libraries

Goal is to encourage children and adults to spend time in parks and nature areas

Image courtesy of UF/IFAS

Members of families “can make amazing scientific discoveries in their yards, their neighborhoods or just about anywhere [they] venture, with the new Explore Your World backpack kits that county staff has made available at Sarasota County public libraries, a news release says.

The kits were designed by staff members of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension and Sustainability Program in Sarasota County, in collaboration with the Sarasota County Libraries staff, the release points out.

Available for free checkout at any of the 10 Sarasota County libraries (http://www.scgov.net/library), each kit packs all anyone needs to start exploring, the release says: child-friendly binoculars, a compass, magnifying lens, underwater explorer boat, planisphere (a night-sky map), field guides, a list of an array of outdoor exploration activities, and library books for people of all ages to continue learning and exploration.

“You can use the Explore Your World kit just about anywhere, from city sites to state parks, and from the backyard to the beach,” the release continues. Take it to any county park, or find a park in Sarasota, North Port or Venice, the release encourages the public.

“Recent studies show that time in nature builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, teaches responsibility, provides stimulation, gets kids moving, inspires thinking, and reduces stress and fatigue,” the release points out. These results benefit both children and adults, the release says, and they last beyond the time spent in nature.

Those who check out the backpacks are invited to a family-friendly hour of nature discovery with the backpack creator, or to attend free classes on March 14 at the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library in Newtown or the Shannon Staub Public Library in North Port, the release adds. To learn more about the classes and to register, visit http://tiny.cc/ufsarasota_exploreevents.

For more information, call 861-5000, email sarasota@ifas.ufl.edu, or visit http://tiny.cc/ufsaraext_explorebackpackhttp://tiny.cc/ufsaraext_energybackpack, or http://tiny.cc/ufsaraext_sustainbackpack.