L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools Promote Outdoor Activities

Freeport, Maine-based L.L.Bean announced plans to launch over 40 new course offerings through its popular Outdoor Discovery Schools.

Ranging from multi-day expeditions to free clinics in the store, all programs are designed to help families discover new outdoor activities and learn fresh skills in outdoor recreation.

With activities such as geocaching, day hikes, and stargazing, to overnight kayaking excursions and programs for corporate and private groups, the Outdoor Discovery Schools courses have been enhanced to celebrate the company’s 100-year legacy with the outdoors.

According to a recent survey from L.L.Bean and the National Park Foundation, 60 percent of parents say their children spend less than an hour a day outdoors.

As we leap into spring, L.L.Bean reminds families that longer days and warmer weather provides great opportunities for families to get outside and discover something new.

“Getting your children outside does not have to mean going for a long hike or needing expensive equipment, it can often be as simple as pitching a tent in your own backyard,” said Rob Hutchison, Outdoor Discovery School Instructor at L.L.Bean.

“By engaging your kids in the outdoors and making activities both educational and fun, they are more apt to develop a love of the outdoors and a desire to stay active.”

L.L.Bean offers the following tips for several popular springtime activities that will help your family have more fun the next time you venture outdoors together:

The Sunny Day Rule: Now that the weather allows, encourage the “sunny day rule.” When the sun is shining, unplug. This will get kids (and parents) away from the television, computer, and video games and into the backyard.

Clouding and Stargazing: These activities can be done from your own backyard with no equipment required. Pique your children’s interest in weather, the atmosphere, and space by creating a game identifying the various types of clouds and going out into the night to gaze at the stars and constellations overhead.

Birding: Turn your backyard into a bird-friendly habitat. Birding is a family-friendly activity for those living in the city, suburbs, or country. Back yards are a great place to create a safe place for birds to feed and nest. In addition to getting your family outdoors and identifying the various birding species, the maintenance aspect of this activity, including cleaning out feeders and nesting boxes, provides a good lesson in responsibility for children.

Biking: Fun, not fitness, should set the pace for family cycling. Teach good road habits and hand signals in an empty parking lot. Play follow-the-leader on the painted lines to practice accurate steering, control, and balance. And, always remember to wear a helmet.

Family Camping: It’s important to involve children early in your plans for family camping, allowing them the opportunity to engage in exploring different possible destinations and the trip prep process. Practice setting up a campsite in your backyard and teach the importance of “Leave No Trace” principles.

Discover the National Parks: The U.S. National Park Service National Park Week is April 21-29. During this week, more than 350 national parks offer free admission.

Let's Go to RVing to Joshua Tree National Park, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

L.L.Bean offers a great opportunity for children and families to participate in a wide range of outdoor recreation with its Outdoor Discovery Schools. Expert guides provide instruction at all levels, providing an easy and affordable way to learn more about a favorite activity or try something new for the first time.

Opportunities to learn new outdoor skills are also available—for free—at L.L.Bean retail store locations every week through in-store clinics.

L.L.Bean is on a year-long mission to re-ignite America’s love of the outdoors during its 100th Anniversary year in 2012. To help encourage families to explore the outdoors together this spring, L.L.Bean is giving away more than $100,000 in outdoor gear and Outdoor Discovery Schools experiences through the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway. As part of the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, for every day in 2012, a deserving group or individual will be selected to receive L.L.Bean gear or an Outdoor Discovery Schools experience (valued up to $500).

In addition to the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, L.L.Bean is donating $1 million to the National Park Foundation through its Million Moment Mission—a year-long campaign designed to encourage individuals to share their outdoor “moments” with L.L.Bean.


L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe.

The 200,000 square foot L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year.

Website: llbean.com

Worth Pondering…

It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.
—Claude Bernard

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National Park Week: April 21-29

The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invite people everywhere to enjoy, explore, learn, share, and give back to America’s nearly 400 national parks during National Park Week 2012.

Celebrating the theme, “Picture Yourself in a National Park,” National Park Week will run from Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29.

Throughout the country, visitors can enjoy the beauty and wonder of 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic places, and cultural treasures for FREE!

National parks will mark the annual celebration with special events and activities including:

  • Volunteer Day on April 21
  • Earth Day on April 22
  • Junior Ranger Day on April 28

Discover information about events, special activities for visitors of all ages, how to share your park adventure with other travelers, and how to support the parks.

“America’s national parks have something for everyone,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“Take a break and experience something new, enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise, and see where history happened. And, since admission is free to all 397 parks, all week long, National Park Week is a great time to get up, get out, and explore a park.”

“This is our annual celebration of America’s best idea—our national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.

“We are proud to stand with our partners at the National Park Service and encourage people everywhere to enjoy, learn from and support our nation’s greatest treasures.”

From ranger-led hikes and kayak trips to camping and exploring, park visitors can plan their National Park Week. Event details here>

The National Park Service will also waive admission fees on five other days in 2012:

  • Get Outdoors Day (June 9)
  • National Public Lands Day (September 29)
  • Veterans Day Weekend (November 10 to 12).


National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Website: nps.gov

National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs.

Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places.

Website: nationalparks.org


Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

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Spring into Your National Parks

With winter winding down and spring already on the minds of many, now is the perfect time to start planning your RV travels to one of America’s nearly 400 national parks.

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, lists ten

Ways to enjoy your national parks this season.

Glide along the shoreline at Biscayne National Park (Florida)

Explore tidal creeks and canals, and skim over vast seagrass meadows while watching for manatees, birds, fish and other critters. Weather permitting, this FREE 2-3 hour paddle begins at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center at 9 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until April. Event details here>

Enjoy the snow with a snowshoe hike in Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)

Explore one of the snowiest inhabited places in America, receiving an average of 44 feet of snow per year. Snowshoes are provided for free. Be sure to make reservations in advance as the ranger-guided snowshoe walks fill up quickly. Event details here>

Capture beautiful moments with Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia)

Do you love taking photos? Join fellow photo enthusiasts for an evening of photography demonstrations including helpful techniques and tips designed to get that perfect shot. Photographers of all levels are invited and encouraged to attend. Event details here>

Compete in a scavenger hunt in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee, North Carolina)

Round up your friends and family for the 4th Annual Great Smoky Mountains Scavenger Hunt on March 3. The hunt uses roads and official trails all across the park. Event details here>

Learn how your life compares to life in the Arctic at Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)

Ever wanted to learn about life in the Arctic? Here’s your chance! Come check out the Arctic Circle Film Series every Tuesday evening from 7-9 p.m. Event details here>

Celebrate Women’s History Month at Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts)

March is Women’s History Month! Since 1996, Lowell National Historical Park has been celebrating Lowell Women’s Week. Join in on the fun and celebrate the important role women have played in history and present-day with Lowell Women’s Week, March 4 – March 12, 2012. Event details here>

Make a lei necklace at Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site (Hawaii)

Join “Aunty Martha” from the Hawaii Pacific Parks Association for lei making demonstrations. Event details here>

Enjoy a river walk at Tumacacori National Historical Park (Arizona)

Hike to the Santa Cruz River and explore the natural and cultural history found in this national park, one of the National Park Foundation’s American Latino Heritage Fund sites. Event details here>

Indulge your artistic side at Weir Farm National Historic Site (Connecticut)

Be creative, be inspired and Take Part in Art at Weir Farm National Historic Site, home to three generations of American artists. The park will provide graphite pencils, colored pencils and chalk pastels for all ages and experience levels. Event details here>

Sit back, relax and chat on the patio at White Sands National Monument (New Mexico)

Enjoy a weekend afternoon chat on the patio with the rangers! The rangers will lead discussions on a variety of topics. Event details here>

In addition to these events, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service are inviting people everywhere to experience the beauty and wonder of America’s nearly 400 national parks for FREE during National Park Week 2012, which will be celebrated Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29.

Worth Pondering…
Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.

—Peter Hoeg

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L.L.Bean Supports National Park Foundation’s with Million Moment Mission

While taking steps to spend more time outdoors this year, Americans will have an opportunity to help children in underserved communities experience our National Parks as part of L.L.Bean’s Million Moment Mission.

L.L.Bean is pledging to donate $1 (up to $1 million) for every “outdoor moment” Americans share online or by attending one of L.L.Bean’s many outdoor events this year. The funding from L.L.Bean will support the National Park Foundation’s “America’s Best Idea” program, connecting diverse, underserved, and under-engaged audiences in local communities to national parks.

L.L.Bean is also offering a newly expanded curriculum of outdoor recreation excursions for families and individuals through its growing Outdoor Discovery School.

The Outdoor Discovery School winter curriculum offered in states—including Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—offers fully outfitted half-day, full-day, and multi-day winter sport experiences.

Outdoor Discovery School

“One of the first things we teach parents in our winter classes is how to layer clothing correctly to be comfortable in any climate,” said Hutchison.

Research shows that even 15 minutes outdoors a day in the winter months can have tremendous benefits for increased concentration, mood elevation, and physical health. Hutchison offers the following advice for busy parents:

Discover Something New. Remember the thrill of seeking out a new adventure you had as a child? Your family will be energized when you try a new outdoor recreation experience together or seek out a park you’ve never tried before. Layer up and schedule a date for an afternoon to explore together. Consider registering your family for one of our L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School courses. They are a great value and make trying a new sport easy, safe, and fun.

Let's Go to RVing to Joshua Tree National Park, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Find Small Pockets for Outdoor Fun. Even a short 15-minute walk can be an opportunity for physical activity, observation and conversation with your children. While the children may be reluctant to go outside in winter, if you set the example, they’ll enjoy it, too.

Read and Research. Take advantage of your local nature centers. Winter is a great time to learn about animal habits and habitats. Ignite your child’s curiosity and they’ll enjoy taking that knowledge with them to the local park or your own backyard.

Discover Your Outdoor Passion. Share It Online In the Million Moment Mission.

Note: This is the first of a 2-part series on the L.L. Bean partnership with National Parks Foundation

Part 1: L.L.Bean Celebrates 100th Anniversary with National Park Foundation Partnership


L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors.

Let's Go RVing to El Moro National National Monument. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

L.L.Bean products are rigorously tested, guaranteed to last and always shipped free. In the past five years, L.L.Bean has donated over $6 million toward conservation and land stewardship. The 200,000 square foot L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year.

Phone: (800) ­441-5713

Website: llbean.com

National Park Foundation

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites—all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.

Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.

Address: 1201 Eye Street, NW, Suite 550B, Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 354-6460

Website: nationalparks.org

Worth Pondering…
Not to have known…either the mountain or the desert is not to have known one’s self.

—Joseph Wood Krutch

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