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Nature's Calling! 

click to enlarge kidsbeat4.jpg

Most Vermont state parks don't open until Memorial Day weekend, but the 2015 Venture Vermont outdoor challenge is under way. Between now and October 15, you and your kids can rack up points by sleeping beneath the stars, going on a bird walk, catching and identifying fish, and building a fire without using matches. Oodles of other activities count, too, such as nature writing. Just mark them on the Venture Vermont scorecard and photograph your adventures; 250 points earns you a VIP gold medal and free day entry to all state parks for the rest of this year and all of 2016. "It's a really fun way to get outside and explore the state and enjoy the health benefits of the outdoors," said Rochelle Skinner, Vermont State Parks sales and service manager. Families can create personal scrapbooks with the photos, as well. Add that to free park entry, Skinner said, and "it's like a win-win." The whole family can take the challenge together; each person just needs to have his or her own score sheet. Game on!

Find weekly bonus activities at facebook.com/vtstateparks.

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