DEEP’s Winter Festival in Torrington encourages people to get outside

TORRINGTON -- The year's first part of DEEP's No Child Left Inside program kicked off Saturday at Burr Pond State Park with their annual winter festival.
Fox61's Taylor DiChello explains why one of their missions is important for your health.

"[Nature] kind of keeps us going. It recharges our batteries," says Kristen Bellantuono, the coordinator for the No Child Left Inside program at DEEP.

Nature deficient may not be a phrase you have heard before, but it's a phrase doctors are using more and more to diagnose their patients who spend too much time indoors looking at screens, and not enough time outside in nature.

"Our mission is to basically get people to disconnect from technology, come out and see what our state parks and forests are all about," says Bellantuono.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recognized this growing concern and acted on it in 2006, creating the no child left inside program. It now starts every year with the Winter Festival.

"It’s good to be outdoors," says Nathan Zwart, a boy scout from Torrington. "It’s pretty cold outside. Bundle up. You’re nice and warm next to the fire and just have fun with your friends."

There are many winter activities offered at Burr Pond State Park during the Winter Festival like ice fishing, hiking, ice skating, and ice carving. There are also a number of vendors like REI and L.L.Bean. No matter if your preference is in ice-skating or ice fishing the research shows that it doesn’t matter what you do outside. It’s better for your mental and physical health to just to get outside.

"It’s just fun for me," says Litchfield resident, Noah Sedlak. "It’s a great way to get some exercise, learn some survival skills, and just be with your friends."

The National Wildlife Federation finds that over the past two decades childhood obesity rates have more than doubled. The United States has become the world's leading consumer of ADHD drugs and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen.

On top of physical exercise, the National Wildlife Federation says being outdoors can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, and sleep deprivation.

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