ASHEBORO, NC - In support of Gov. Beverly Perdue's proclamation designating April as Children and Nature Awareness Month, the North Carolina Zoological Society and its subsidiary, the North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition (NCCAN!), will recognize and participate in this special observance to help our state's children experience and enjoy the wonders of nature.

The N.C. Zoological Society and NCCAN! will join a growing network of individuals, organizations and agencies to help spread the word about the importance of providing opportunities for all children to experience frequent, regular play and exploration in natural outdoor settings.

Children today are far less likely than those of past generations to spend time playing outside. A growing body of research points to the correlation between the lack of outdoor play in nature and childhood obesity, inattentiveness, diminished creativity and depression.

A list is available of related activities and events taking place in April throughout the state is available at the website, in the calendar section.

The children and nature movement is much more than a month of special events. NCCAN!, in partnership with the National Children & Nature Network (C&NN), is committed to ongoing promotion of research-driven programs, policies and practices that will reconnect children and nature in enduring, meaningful ways. Since C&NN was established early in 2006, children and nature initiatives have emerged from coast to coast and continent to continent.

NCCAN! is a project of the N.C. Zoological Society. For information on NCCAN! visit the website or call 336-879-7286.

The N.C. Zoological Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and conservation. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.