SOURCE: The Coleman Company, Inc.

October 17, 2008 12:18 ET

Coleman 50 States in 50 Days Internet Challenge Encourages Kids to Get Outdoors More

Online Adventure Follows Record-Breaking Trek; Registration Ends Nov. 10

WICHITA, KS--(Marketwire - October 17, 2008) - Can an interactive online challenge encourage kids to turn off their computers and enjoy the outdoors? That's the goal of The Coleman Company, Inc. and Denver science teacher Mike Haugen who this past summer broke the record for summiting the highest point in every state. Haugen, 31, blogged and at times slogged his way from the highest peak in the U.S., Mount McKinley (20,320 ft.) in Alaska, to the country's lowest highpoint, Florida's Britton Hill (345 ft.), in a record 45 days 19 hours. The previous record was 50 days 7 hours set in 2005.

Dozens of newspapers and television stations followed along during Mike's adventure. Now kids can take an online challenge that picks up where Haugen left off. To advance from one virtual state to the next, kids must first do an outdoor activity for 60 minutes or walk 10,000 steps (as measured by a pedometer). To play the game, kids can ride a bike, hike through a park, jog, go camping, or participate in dozens of other outdoor activities suggested on the site. That is the purpose of the challenge -- get kids outdoors and active.

Along the way, they learn about the country's fascinating geography and vicariously experience what it's like to visit America's highpoints. A printer-friendly activity log and U.S. map are available to allow students to start from any state and keep track of their daily progress. There's a personal avatar they can create and customize as they move across the country, coloring pages, and fun state facts about official flowers, birds, trees, and nicknames.

During his record-breaking 24,000-mile trek Haugen left behind a trail of virtual breadcrumbs -- he recorded video, shot hundreds of digital images, and blogged about avoiding bears, dodging lightning strikes and climbing some highpoints in flip flops while using heavy boots and parkas on loftier peaks.

Schoolchildren who follow Haugen's path and reach all 50 highpoints in their own online adventure receive a commemorative souvenir and can print a personalized certificate of completion.

The top schools with the highest percentage of students who complete the entire hike (all 50 segments) will receive a souvenir from Haugen's 50 States in 50 Days Adventure.

The educational Coleman 50 Days in 50 States Challenge, which was designed by PE Central of Blacksburg, Va., is accepting registrations at Students can start logging activity immediately. Teachers in elementary through middle school grades are encouraged to include the challenge in their curricula so that entire classrooms can participate together as a team. Registration ends Nov. 10 and the online challenge continues through Dec. 31. Participation is open to schoolchildren as well as individuals.

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