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DEEP Announces the No Child Left Inside® Families in the Parks Program 2024

Fish with CARE Event at Gay City State Park on Saturday May 11, which is also Free Fishing Day in Connecticut

(HARTFORD) — The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that registration for its 2024 No Child Left Inside® (NCLI) Families in the Parks Program is now open at: Connecticut No Child Left Inside

Children and their caregivers are welcome to participate in the Families in the Parks Program, a series of fun activities, pop-up events, and adventures. Activities are designed to introduce families to the outdoors, build the next generation of environmental stewards, and showcase Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests. In 2023, the NCLI® Program, in partnership and collaboration with various DEEP departments and a wide range of partners, was able to reach more than 5,000 people through various events and community programming partnerships.   

“I’m so proud of the work DEEP does to offer a wide variety of family-friendly outdoor opportunities all over the state,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “The No Child Left Inside® programs successfully get families and children involved in nature and playing outside across our parks, forests, and on the water in partnership with so many community organizations and local events.

The NCLI Families in the Parks Program 2024 will officially kick-off in conjunction with Free Family Fishing Day alongside the Fish with CARE (Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education) team on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at Gay City State Park in Hebron. May 11th is free fishing day in Connecticut when no fishing license is required. The Fish with CARE program helps children and their caregivers learn how to fish while enjoying the beauty of being outdoors together.

Enjoy a variety of free, fun, and educational outdoor recreational opportunities at state park and forest locations including boating, fishing, hiking, StoryWalks®, Nature Center and Museum Days, and much more. Find the NCLI team, along with their mascots “Nuts,” “Nuts 2,” “Nuts Jr.,” and friends, at programs and events throughout the season. This outdoor program concludes with the Holiday Celebrations at various DEEP state parks, forests and facilities, including Osborne Homestead Museum and Gillette Castle.

NCLI Families in the Parks Program 2024 is a mix of guided, self-guided, and pop-up events including seasonal festivals, treasure hunts, self-guided challenges, and more. Registration is not required, but families (with at least one adult 18 years or older and one child 17 years or younger) who do pre-register and attend 10 (ten) of the NCLI Families in the Parks Programs, will be eligible to win two free nights of camping in their state park or forest campground of choice in the summer of 2025. Visit the DEEP Calendar of Events, the website, and the DEEP State Parks Facebook and Instagram pages often for updates and happenings.

To be eligible for the two free nights of camping, families must:

  1. register by August 5, 2024, at Connecticut No Child Left Inside;
  2. attend at least 10 NCLI Families in the Parks Program offerings (activities, events, pop-up events, programs, and partner programs as listed) over the course of the 2024 season (between May and December 2024);
  3. check in at the registration table at each guided event/program;
  4. submit a completed activity card at the end of each guided event/program at the registration table; and
  5. provide the required documentation that families attended self-guided events or participated in self-guided activities.

Established in 1913, the mission of the Connecticut State Park system is to provide natural resource-based public recreational and educational opportunities through a system of state park and forest recreation areas, environmental education centers, and nature centers which provide an understanding of, access to, and enjoyment of the state’s historic, cultural, and natural resources.


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DEEP Communications