Can you ditch your devices and head outdoors for a day? July 9 is Unplug Illinois Day

Jennifer Geer

What is Unplug Day, and will you take the challenge?

(CHICAGO) Can you set aside your smartphones and devices for an entire day? Do you even want to try?

If you're hesitant about it, which many people probably are, try thinking about it this way. Imagine a day with no texts, emails, or calls. Just you in the outdoors, either alone or with friends or family, enjoying nature with no distractions.

What is Unplug Illinois Day?

Unplug Illinois Day, held each year, is a state-wide initiative to remind people to disengage from tech and reengage with the outdoors.

The website states, "Unplug Illinois encourages people to ‘plug into’ all the recreational opportunities local park and recreation agencies offer. It communicates how parks deliver value in people’s lives and communities, parks provide healthier, sustainable communities and play delivers benefits to all."

Why do we need an Unplug Day?

According to the American Psychological Association, "From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation."

And according to an article from Forbes, creating your own unplug day each week provides benefits such as lower anxiety, better sleep, improved relationships, and better overall health.

Unplug on Saturday, July 9th

This Saturday, July 9, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association would like people in the state to set aside their devices and head to some outdoor fun at one of the many amazing parks we have access to all over the state.

How to stay unplugged all day?

Check out some free Chicago area park district events to help you enjoy your tech-free day and stay unplugged.

The Cook County Forest Preserve is hosting a Kid's Fest at Wampum Lake. The Trailside Museum of Natural History in River Forest invites you to walk their Children’s Nature Story Trail: “Swirl by Swirl” by Joyce Sidma. And if you're an early bird, the grounds at River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook will open at 6 AM.

At the Dupage Forest Preserve, you can take a farmhouse tour at Kline Creek Farm, a wildflower walk at Fullersburg Woods, or participate in a volunteer work day at Churchill Woods.

The Will County Forest Preserve is also holding a variety of activities. You can attend a Pop and Play at Rock Run Forest Preserve, take an early morning bird hike at Plum Creek Nature Center, or learn about Monarchs at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Check out the complete list of activities here.

This list is merely a sampling of things to do. Find the full list of participating communities and links to the events here.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

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