RELEASE: Outdoors Alliance for Kids 2019 Award Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 3, 2019

Contact: April Thomas, 206.321.3850, contact@outdoorsallianceforkids.org

Outdoors Alliance for Kids 2019 Award Winners Announced

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) announced the recipients of the 2019 “OAK Awards.” Awards were given to a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers including Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representatives Nanette Barragán (D-CA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) . Several OAK member organizations and individuals received awards during the annual meeting of the Alliance, including Susan Yoder of Seed Your Future and youth advocate Tigran Nahabedian. 

The “OAK Awards” are bestowed annually on bipartisan decision-makers and OAK members for significant contributions in advancing opportunities for children, youth, and families to learn, get active, and serve in the outdoors. The 2019 Awards were delivered during a reception on Capitol Hill as part of the annual meeting of the alliance, OAK Week.

“The recipients of the OAK Awards are being recognized for the huge difference they are making to ensure that every child has safe, equitable access to the outdoors,” said Jayni Rasmussen, Senior Campaign Representative for the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) & Youth at Sierra Club. “Each awardee has demonstrated their commitment to policies and programs aligned with OAK’s mission to connect children, youth and families to the outdoors. This includes programs that OAK has successfully protected, such as the Every Kid Outdoors program, which offers every fourth-grader the chance to visit their federal parks. We are soon launching the Every Kid Outdoors in State Parks campaign to expand access to state parks, as well, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to visit the full suite of public lands, regardless of their ability to pay. Thank you to our award winners for their continued support of policies and programs that make OAK’s mission to connect children, youth and families to nature a reality. ” 

OAK Tree Award Recipients (Decision-Makers):

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC): Senator Richard Burr was a key leader in the passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which included several key legislative items, such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent reauthorization and the Every Kid Outdoors Act, that will encourage generations of kids to develop a lifelong love for our national parks and public lands.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): Senator Ron Wyden is a stalwart supporter of National Park Service youth programs, as well as a demonstrated leader in encouraging kids to develop a lifelong love for our national parks and public lands.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (D-CA-44): Congresswoman Nanette Barragán championed the Outdoors for All Act of 2019, which will ensure that generations of youth, no matter their background, have equitable access to high-quality parks and recreational facilities.

Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15): Congressman Steve Stivers championed the Transit to Trails Act of 2019, which will ensure that generations of youth have equitable access to parks, green spaces, and public lands and waters.

Superintendent Nita Settina, Maryland Park Service: The Maryland Park Service is a national standout in connecting children to nature, especially in regards to accepting the federal Every Kid Outdoors pass program in the Maryland state park system. 

Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is an extensive network of state parks dedicated to connecting children, youth and families to nature, especially in regards to accepting the federal Every Kid Outdoors pass program in the New York state park system. 

OAK Leaf Award Recipient (OAK Members):

Susan Yoder, Executive Director, Seed Your Future: Susan Yoder is a tireless leader within the youth outdoor access and environmental education fields and within OAK. This includes her work to move forward the All Kids Outdoors Scholastic essay contest, which resulted in nearly 2,000 fourth through sixth grade students from across the nation submitting essays and accompanying illustrations to explain why the outdoors matter. Yoder is also a key planner for the soon-to-be launched Every Kid Outdoors in State Parks campaign, which will work to expand youth access to state parks. 

OAK Acorn Award, recognizing exemplary youth leadership in the field to connect young people with our parks and public lands: 

Tigran Nahabedian: Tigran Nahabedian, of Ojai, CA, is a freshman high school student at Ojai Valley School and a passionate advocate for connecting children and youth to the outdoors. In addition to being a Junior Ranger and Youth Director elevating the importance of the Every Kid Outdoors program at Channel Islands National Park, Tigran is a National Park Trust Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, and a National Park Geek Ambassador. 

Past award recipients can be viewed here: https://outdoorsallianceforkids.org/awards/

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About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct, and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the outdoors. http://www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org