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Jack Markell

Replacing iPhones with stargazing: State parks reach out to kids

WASHINGTON Some states are trying to get couch-potato kids to unplug from the digital world and plug in to the pleasures of stargazing, kayaking, studying insects and other outdoor pursuits in state parks. States such as Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico and North Carolina are sponsoring camping trips, running conservation programs or organizing outdoor classrooms where students can learn about wildlife and ecology. Thirteen governors have hosted campouts for youngsters and their families this summer in state or municipal parks, or on the grounds of the statehouse or governor's residence, as part of Capital Campouts, a joint public-private program. The goal is twofold: to encourage...