Monday, January 31, 2011

State DEP to hold Winter Festival

The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold its fifth annual “Winter Festival” Feb. 5 at Black Rock State Park, Watertown.

The Winter Festival, part of the DEP's No Child Left Inside® initiative, will run  from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a full range of winter outdoor activities for the whole family, the dEP said in a statement.

The Festival is free, there is no registration or sign-up and everyone is welcome to attend, the statement said. Last year’s “Winter Festival” at Burr Pond State Park in Torrington drew more than 500 adults and children, the statement said.

DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said, also in the statement, “Back by popular demand, this year’s Winter Festival promises to be better (and maybe even snowier) than ever before. Bundle up and join enthusiastic families who, year after year, join DEP staff and volunteers for a day of wintry fun in New England. Play like you did when you were a child, participate in activities with your kids and sip hot chocolate while roasting a marshmallow or two over a warm bonfire.”

Activities will include fish stocking at 11:00 a.m., ice fishing, snowshoeing, tracking, sledding, ice safety rescue demonstrations by the Watertown Fire Department, visit from Resources in Search and Rescue, and a bonfire with a marshmallow roast and storytelling, the statement said. A concession stand will be available for food and beverage purchases.

“The Winter Festival is part of Connecticut’s No Child Left Inside® initiative designed to encourage families and children to visit Connecticut state parks and forests to enjoy the beauty, history, recreational and educational opportunities that our parks and forests offer. Through events like the Winter Festival families are encouraged to go out on their own and enjoy nature,” Marrella said, also in the statement.

Tips on Dressing for Cold Weather

- Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.

- Most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.

- Dress in warm layers so you can remove items if you get too warm.

- Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.

- Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.

- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.

- Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.

Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed.

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