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Take the Greenwich Great Outdoor Challenge

GREENWICH, Conn. – As the weather gets warmer and Earth Day approaches, Greenwich residents of all ages are encouraged to get outside and take the 2012 Greenwich Great Outdoor Challenge.

The program was successfully piloted last year, inspired by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s No Child Left Inside initiative. It is a combination of the state's Great Park Pursuit and the National Park passport program.

Residents and families can get a “passport” at town hall or at town events, or download one here . Take the passport to the location or event listed in the passport and get a stamp, or find a password at one of the town’s nine parks. Once 10 items are completed, passports can be redeemed for free admittance to Audubon Greenwich’s annual Hawk Watch Festival in early October. Only one passport is needed per family. The 2012 Greenwich Great Outdoor Challenge began earlier this month and will run until Sept. 30. Families can participate by visiting Mianus River Park, taking a ride on the Island Beach Ferry, stopping by Bruce Park Playground or participating in the town cleanup day on April 21, in addition to visiting many other parks and taking part in other happenings.

The statewide No Child Left Inside initiative is based on research documenting the importance of children experiencing the outdoors for healthy minds and bodies. Children who have access to the outdoors and the natural world do better in school across all disciplines and are known to be more creative. The growing obesity problem in school age populations is another good reason for families to get outdoors.

Here are some of the Earth Day Month events coming up in Greenwich:

Saturday, April 14 (2-3:30 p.m.)

Natural Communities of New England

This lecture by Ted Elliman of the New England Wildflower Society will highlight the many plants of our region's upland and wetland habitats, forest communities and coast habitats. For more information contact Jeff Cordulack at 203-86-5272 or jcordulack@audubon.org . RSVP would be appreciated to Ted at ext. 230.

Saturday, April 14 (3-5 p.m.)

Fishway Open House

Sponsored by the Greenwich Conservation Commission. Conservation staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the fishway and lead the tours. 125 River Road Extension. For more information, contact Joe Cassone, Conservation Assistant at 203-622-6461 or joseph.cassone@greenwichct.org .

Saturday, April 21 (9 a.m.-noon)

Townwide Cleanup Day

Sponsored by Greenwich Green and Clean. Bring your Friends! Bring your Kids! Join with your Neighbors! Stop by any town firehouse from 8 a.m. to noon – receive certificates for community service – trade collected trash for spring plants – fill our dumpsters until 4 p.m. To volunteer, or to report a dirty site, call 203-531-0006 or email grgreenclean@aol.com .

Sunday, April 22 (2-4 p.m.)

Earth Day Beautification Project Sponsored by the Greenwich Land Trust

Bring the whole family to celebrate Earth Day at the GLT’s Milbank-Greene Preserve on Round Hill Road. This protected meadow and woodlands will benefit from your help clearing invasive species, planting native shrubs and trees and cleaning up trash. Enjoy walking the trail and watching a wildlife release. There will be refreshments and music in the meadow. Activities suitable for all ages. Email jacinta@gltrust.org or check www.gltrust.org for more information.

Friday, April 27

Arbor Day Tree Planting Event - to be announced

Check Greenwich Tree Conservancy website at http://greenwichtreeconservancy.org/ .

Saturday, April 28 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

EARTH SHRED 2012

Shred sensitive documents such as financial statements, tax documents, medical and Social Security records at a one-day paper shredding event organized by the Greenwich Recycling Advisory Board and sponsored by The First Bank of Greenwich and Santaguida Sanitation. Five boxes free, $1 each additional box. Box size guideline – record retention/10 ream case. Remove paper clips, plastic bindings and covers. Paper will be shredded on-site at the Town Hall employee parking lot on Field Point Road near the intersection of Brookside Drive. For information, email GreenwichGRAB@gmail.com or call 203-629-2876.

Saturday, April 28 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.)

Recycle Your Old Sneakers – One Day Only

Sponsored by the Greenwich Recycling Advisory Board. Bring sneakers to Town Hall employee parking lot. If sneakers are reusable, tie together and keep separate – others will be sliced and ground up into rubber pellets and used to create playground and athletic surfaces. For info, call 203-629-2876 or email daviesally@aol.com .

Friday May 4 (7-9 p.m.)

Star Gazing in the Meadow!

Join the Greenwich Land Trust and experts from the Greenwich Astronomical Society for an evening of viewing stars and planets. We’ll also be toasting marshmallows and enjoying s’mores. For information, email jacinta@gltrust.org or check www.gltrust.org .

Saturday, May 5 (9 a.m.-2 p.m.)

May Gardener’s Market

The Garden Education Center of Greenwich will hold its 51st Annual May Gardeners Market on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the GEC in the Montgomery Pinetum on Bible Street in Cos Cob. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. The event will showcase select vendors who will have collections of annuals, perennials, wildflowers, herbs, hanging baskets, and more. In addition, there will be garden-related items, such as tools, and specialty foods, including olive oil and honey.

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