This is a one-night event for families, youth and individuals to camp out in their backyards or local parks and to discover the fun of being in the great outdoors.
Held each June and heading into its fifth year, the Great American Campout is a national event that encourages individuals, youth, friends and families to camp out together for one night.
"Camping out in the backyard is an excellent introduction to this favorite pastime and the first step families can take to get outdoors and explore nature," said Ashleigh Poff, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for NWF.
Each year the number of campers has steadily grown, and in 2008 over 40,000 individuals participated. The locations and types of campsites vary from family campouts in the backyard to public campsites with 30 or more community members.
In previous years, campers have ranged in age from 3 months to 99 years old and have come from all areas of the United States.
"It was fun to watch these kids who live on base explore some of these areas that they normally just walk past every day. It really opened their eyes. More than once I saw kids dragging over their parents to check out a particular view. So the kids had a lot of fun, even the ones who didn't think they would," said Dave Myers, outdoor recreation auto skills center manager for the Whidbey Island Naval Air station in Washington State.
For how-to tips about this easy and fun activity, visit www.backyardcampout.org. The site also includes suggested activities, recipes, wildlife guides and more.
Participants can register their campsites -- their own backyards or favorite campgrounds -- online at www.backyardcampout.org. The site also includes suggested activities, recipes, wildlife guides and more.