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State seeks to get more children outdoors

State officials unveiled a new initiative Tuesday aimed at encouraging young people to spend less time on the couch and more time outdoors.

Known as "Take It Outside," the program is aimed at helping children reconnect with the natural world. On Tuesday, Gov. John Baldacci was joined by two Olympic gold medal winners — 1984 medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson and 2006 medalist Seth Wescott — in announcing the program during an event in Cape Elizabeth.

"Sometimes we need to lead our kids outdoors," Baldacci said in a statement. "We need to get them away from the iPod and video and text messaging and just get them out to smell the beautiful air and enjoy the beautiful resources we have."

At this point, the "Take It Outside" program is largely a public relations campaign to motivate adults and young pe…

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