The Macon County Conservation District will be hosting their first Unplug Illinois Day event this year on Saturday, July 15 from 1-4PM.
Unplug Illinois is an initiative started by the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) in 2014, to develop a state-wide community awareness campaign to educate communities about the importance of parks, recreation, and conservation areas. The goal is to educate the public about the value of these spaces and the opportunities that these agencies offer. From the smallest park, to the largest conservation area, this day helps to enlighten communities on how valuable these spaces are to people’s lives, how our parks and conservation areas provide healthier, sustainable communities, and how outdoor play delivers benefits to all.
“This is a day for people to unplug from devices, and ‘plug into’ play, adventure, nature, family, and fun,” says Macon County Conservation District Marketing Specialist, Ashton Nunn. “We’ll have several stations set up that individuals and families can use to just play and have fun outside. We’ll have activities ranging from a giant bubble making station and chalk obstacle courses, to hikes and scavenger hunts, to rock painting and even a dunk tank. We’re really excited to have this event this year and to be a part of this initiative to help people realize all the value areas like ours have in their lives.”
In less than a decade, there has been a 50% increase in the amount of screen time among children, with time outdoors at an all-time low. The average American child spends up to and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen, while only spending about 4-7 minutes playing outside. Recreational screen time has replaced outdoor play, and the Macon County Conservation District is encouraging people to break that mold, even if just for the day, and take advantage of the parks and conservation areas near them. Unplug Illinois is about more than just getting off of electronic devices. It’s a day to help citizens “plug into” their community and learn about the value of their parks and conservation areas and the resources they provide.
“We provide a lot of educational opportunities, including summer camps, field trips, and evening and weekend programs – many of which are free or low cost – and we would love to see more members of the community engaging in nature and exploring the activities we have to offer at the Conservation District,” says Macon County Conservation District Director of Program Services, Alysia Callison.
Rock Springs Conservation Area is located on the southwestern edge of Decatur. To get to Rock Springs from Decatur, go south on Route 48 and turn west onto Rock Springs Road or go south on Wyckles Road and turn east onto Rock Springs Road. Watch for signs. Plenty of parking is available.