MERRIMAC, Wis (WMTV) - While many people were out looking for the best shopping deals on Friday, outdoor gear store REI closed its doors for the day and gave all employees the day off.
The company started the ’Opt Outside’ movement several years ago, encouraging their staff to enjoy the outdoors. This year, they took it a step further and encouraged people to participate in local service projects. The movement inspired countless other organizations to join in.
“We just think that being outside and having those connections to nature, exploring new places. There’s so much mental and physical health benefits,” said the director of conservation programs for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Caitlin Williamson.
On Friday, the Wisconsin Dept. of Resources and other local organizations partnered up to clean up Parfrey’s Glen, a natural area located within Devil’s Lake State Park.
“We are all about opting outside, which is a campaign REI started. This year, they wanted to focus on not just getting outside and being out in nature, but also opting to act,” Williamson said.
Co-owner of Nature Works LLC and a volunteer at the service project, Kerstyn Perrett, said they worked to get rid of honeysuckle in the area, an invasive species that can damage the surrounding wildlife.
“These areas were created to preserve something that existed before people got to America, to Wisconsin,” she Perrett said.
Perrett said the work day was worth a missed shopping trip.
“These areas are a time capsule; they are history,” she said.
For more information on events this weekend click HERE .