Although room under the Christmas tree has become crowded and the stockings increasingly stuffed, there's one gift that might be the largest in the world, but which still might fit – the great outdoors. We have a few outdoorsy ideas for some fun, last-minute holiday gifts.
Gifts of the outdoors
Whatever you do, don’t let the fun times outdoors pass you by – buy a pass. Get the family excited about visiting federal land and water sites in 2021 by purchasing an annual America the Beautiful pass for $80. The family can strategize about which national forests and grasslands by using our interactive visitor map and trip planning resources on Recreation.gov.
There are several other federal land and waters passes including: Senior Lifetime ($80); Senior Annual ($80); Access life-time pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have a medically determined permanent disability (free); Every Kid Outdoors free pass available to fourth graders and, for this school year, fifth-graders between September 2020-August 2021; Military for U.S. military members and the dependents of deployed military; and Volunteer for those individuals who volunteer 250 hours at one or more recreation sites managed by five federal agencies. Get detailed information on each pass before deciding which is a great fit for you.
Make fee-free days a date. The Forest Service and other federal agencies host free-free days around special days. So design a card to invite someone you know to spend each fee-free day with you in 2021. The 2021 Forest Service fee-free days are:
There are also a number of online materials developed by the Forest Service. They are easy to download and print for stocking stuffers or to share virtually. The Forest Service produces several educational resources perfect to keep the kids busy but also help cultivate a love and appreciation of the outdoors. You can download free journals, coloring pages, books, and other items that are great stocking stuffers, with the added benefit that you can enjoy all these goodies with them.
Woodsy Owl teaches young children about how to care for the Earth by minimizing waste to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot, or turning leftover fruit, vegetables, eggshells and even leaves into nutrient rich compost for the garden. Download Woodsy Owl sheet music, coloring pages and a colorful Woodsy’s ABCs book. Then start the New Year by practicing with the kids how to “Lend a Hand – Care for the Land!”
Dive into the most recent edition of Caves & Karst The Natural Inquirer journal for middle and high school students. Upper elementary students can get the same in the Investi-gator, which is written for their age group. Natural Inquirer is a program that produces a variety of educational materials for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The Natural Inquirer Reader offers similar information at a level understandable by pre-kindergarten to second-grade students. All editions are free to download. Educators or people who work with groups of children can order up to three packs of our Scientist Cards, which are patterned after baseball cards but feature Forest Service scientists. Each of these products fit well in stockings or under the tree.
But most of all, happy holidays.