All posts by OAK

My name is Jackie Ostfeld. I am the co-founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the Policy Manager for Sierra Club's Outdoors program. I am an advocate for connecting kids with nature. My views are my own.

RELEASE: The White House budget proposal, wrong for our kids and communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 23, 2017

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld, jackie.ostfeld@sierraclub.org, 202-548-6584

 

The White House budget proposal, wrong for our kids and communities

Washington, DC–Today, President Donald Trump released his fiscal year 18 budget proposal. The White House has recommended a $3.6 trillion cut to federal spending over the next decade, dealing a major blow to programs that encourage children, youth and families to get outdoors.

In response to the White House budget release, Jackie Ostfeld, co-founder and chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, issued the following statement:

“The White House budget proposal released today puts our children’s health and well-being in jeopardy. Such dramatic spending cuts would severely curtail the ability of our federal agencies to carry out their missions to protect our children by ensuring they have clean and safe air to breathe and water to drink, healthy food to eat, and shared public lands where they can play, learn, and rejuvenate their minds and bodies.

“While presenting a balanced budget is difficult, doing it at the expense of programs and initiatives that invest in our children and youth to have opportunities to get physically active and develop valuable work and life skills in the outdoors is a detriment to our nation.

“Outdoor recreation contributes $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy while supporting more than seven million jobs across America. These cuts would create fewer opportunities for children, youth, and families to be active in the outdoors – an action that foolheartedly removes an essential contribution to this growing economic sector.

“Additionally, the chronic disease in children and childhood obesity continues to be a problem in this nation. Programs that focus on keeping our children active, healthy, and safe in the outdoors are good for our kids and our economy.

“The White House budget eliminates or drastically reduces popular programs across federal agencies that ensure our children and families can safely access the natural world outdoors at a time when three-quarters of adults believe we need more programs that help people enjoy nature and the outdoors.

“Thankfully, the White House does not have the final say on how our government is funded. OAK encourages Congress to take a bipartisan approach to continue to fund these programs that support America’s kids and families. See OAK’s fiscal year 2018 budget appropriations recommendations for Congress.

The White House budget proposal, sample cuts to programs that get kids outdoors (by agency):

Corporation for National and Community Service: -100% (elimination)

  • Complete elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service which houses AmeriCorps programs that engage more than 80,000 young Americans in service helping address public lands conservation and stewardship needs, disaster response, and local communities struggling with poverty, and hunger.

Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): -15.8%

  • Complete elimination for NOAA grant and education programs supporting coastal and marine management, research and education, including elimination of the Sea Grant and Office of Education (Bay-Watershed Education and Training and competitive education) grants.

Department of Education: -13.5%

  • Complete elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which supports before- and after-school and summer programs for low-income kids, including outdoor programming. Elimination of several other grant programs across the department.

Department of Health and Human Services: -16.2%

  • Reduction of $222 million in chronic disease prevention funding at the CDC which will curb the nation’s ability to invest in physical activity, healthy eating and childhood obesity prevention efforts. Reductions will also occur in heart disease, diabetes and cancer prevention and control efforts.
  • Reductions of $60 million are proposed to CDC’s environmental health programs which include lead prevention efforts, safe water activities, and monitoring environmentally related diseases.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: -13.2%

  • Complete elimination of the Community Development Block Grants program which support local community development activities aimed at neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improvement of community facilities, such as parks and recreation.

Department of the Interior: -10.9%

  • Practically eliminates the Land and Water Conservation Fund by reducing the budget to $30 million. Department-wide cuts will make it difficult for the agency to achieve its mission let alone encourage spending to get kids outdoors.

Department of Transportation: -12.7%

  • Eliminates the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. TIGER projects include multi-modal and active transportation projects which significantly enhance safety, walkability, and non-motorized mobility in local communities.

Environmental Protection Agency:  -31.4%

  • A 31% cut to the EPA’s budget, including the elimination of more than 50 agency programs including the offices of environmental education and environmental justice.

###

About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids: OAK is a national strategic partnership of nearly 100 businesses and organizations representing more than 60 million Americans, which a common interest in connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors. OAK’s members 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_Logo_Color_Full_Quality_small

On Mother’s Day And Beyond, Moms Can Lead The Way In Getting Kids Outdoors

guest blog by
Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign; and
Jackie Ostfeld, Director of the Sierra Club Nearby Nature Initiative and Co-Founding Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

SIERRA CLUB: Mary Anne Hitt with daughter Hazel; Jackie Ostfeld with son Dylan.

As moms, we can’t wait for this Sunday’s holiday, filled with adorable homemade craft projects, meals with family, and lots of hugs. For our families, spending time outdoors is another way of sharing some love – love of our families and of our natural world. It turns out we’re not alone. According to a new report, moms play a pivotal role in inspiring a passion for the outdoors in the next generation.

We love taking our kids (Mary Anne’s daughter Hazel is 7 and Jackie’s son Dylan is almost 2) into the woods and to our local waterways. We all love camping, hiking, gardening, and biking together, and it’s truly magical to see the outdoors through a child’s eyes. They notice the little things, they appreciate what many adults overlook, and we long to keep that fire burning within them as they grow older, both because it will bring them great joy, and because we hope making a connection to nature now will inspire them to protect it as they grow up.

Unfortunately, today’s children are growing up indoors, with fewer opportunities to explore nature than we had in our childhood. In fact, today’s kids spend 50 percent less time outdoors than our generation did as children – isn’t that shocking? Some of the barriers to spending time outdoors are lack of public parks that are safe and close to home, insufficient public transportation connected to natural areas, and school budget cuts which have led to reductions in field trips.

The recent REI report on women in the outdoors highlights some statistics that trouble us:

  • 63 percent of women said they could not think of an outdoor female role model
  • 6 in 10 women say that men’s interests in outdoor activities are taken more seriously than women’s

What role can moms play in changing those statistics? We play a very big part, as it turns out. Here’s the good news from the same REI report: “Mothers are the number one mentor that women cite when asked about who inspires them to get outdoors.” In fact, both of our moms played a key role in inspiring our love for the outdoors, and they are our role models as we do the same for our kids.

SIERRA CLUB: Jackie Ostfeld and son Dylan at the Grand Canyon.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity for moms to continue to inspire and teach the love of the great outdoors to our kids. We know how great it is to be outside – the REI report shows that as well too:

More than 85 percent of all women surveyed believe the outdoors positively affects mental health, physical health, happiness and overall well-being, and 70 percent reported that being outdoors is liberating.

Moms can make amazing strides in getting their kids and families outdoors – it doesn’t have to involve planning a major trip to a National Park (although that’s fun, too!). Encouraging your kids to appreciate the outdoors can start close to home like in a local public park or a community garden. The first steps can be easy, like backyard campouts, exploring the wildlife in the neighborhood – from bugs to birds to flowers – and taking your kids and their friends and moms on hikes in a local park.

This Mother’s Day, get outdoors with your family. Plan some spring and summer hikes or park visits. Moms can and will continue to make a tremendous difference in ensuring kids can enjoy, explore and protect the outdoors. And moms can encourage other moms to help ensure all kids have opportunities to get outdoors, too! Pledge to help ensure all kids have opportunities to experience nature.

Share your story of getting outdoors with your family! Post a photo (new or old) on social media with your mom or your children with #MomsOutdoors or complete the following phrase “My favorite memory with my #momsoutdoors is: ___”

Happy Mother’s Day!

RELEASE: Every Kid in a Park Program Enters Year Two

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.org

Every Kid in a Park Program Enters Year Two

Outdoors Alliance for Kids to get tens of thousands of fourth graders outdoors this fall

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids announced its Every Kid in a Park fall program lineup. Just in time for back to school, OAK members are gearing up to host a series of events and programs to connect thousands of fourth graders with their natural and cultural heritage.

The Every Kid in a Park program is designed to encourage all fourth graders to get outdoors. Fourth graders and their parents, teachers and caregivers can visit www.everykidinapark.gov to learn about the initiative, plan a trip and download the fourth grade voucher for free entry to all federal lands. The program also provides transportation funding support for Title 1 schools to reach kids with limited opportunities to experience our public lands, waters and shores.

“OAK is proud to answer President Obama’s call to connect fourth graders across America with the outdoors,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature Director and OAK Co-Founder and Chair. “As our kids head back to school, OAK members are working with schools and teachers across America to get Every Kid in a Park to ensure they have opportunities to play and learn, as they connect with the natural world and each other.”

Announcing OAK’s Every Kid in a Park Back to School Fall Events

September – MayREI is partnering with Outdoor Foundation, Outdoor Industry Association and National Park Trust to ensure every public school fourth grader (over 3,300 kids) in Washington, D.C. has a meaningful national park experience this fall. Additional events will take place over the whole school year.

September – November: Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile Fall Tour, a collaborative of more than 400 organizations, will reach more communities and kids than ever before, visiting New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Jacksonville, Dayton; and Rochester (MN).

September – November: California Outdoor Engagement Coalition is partnering with California 4-H to bring Every Kid in a Park to seven counties throughout the state to prioritize increased Latino engagement. They are also partnering with the National Park Service, Rosie the Riveter Trust, University of California Berkeley and West Contra Costa Unified School District to bring 1,200 fourth graders from Richmond and surrounding cities to the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Homefront National Historic Park.

September – November: National Park Trust, with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and National Park Service, will connect 6,600 Title 1 fourth graders from Ventura County, CA to the Channel Islands Visitors Center. Additionally, in partnership with National Park Service and National Park Foundation, National Park Trust will ensure 5,000 fourth graders from 50 schools across the country have a national park experience.

September – November: Conservation Legacy’s La Plazita Institute’s Ancestral Lands’ Barrio Youth Corps is facilitating urban-agricultural and outdoor educational experiences for fourth graders in collaboration with Albuquerque Public Schools and Albuquerque Open-Spaces in New Mexico.

September 2: In Los Angeles, Sierra Club, the I Have A Dream Foundation and the US Forest Service are hosting 50 students from Boyle Heights in the San Gabriel Mountains. Another outing on October 8th will connect an additional 50 fourth graders to the mountains from the City of El Monte with several partners including Bike SGV, Day One, and San Gabriel Mountains Forever.

September 13: In Washington, DC, REI, Outdoor Foundation and National Park Trust will work with students to conduct an in-depth examination of the condition of the statues in Lafayette Park.

September 16: National Park Trust and the National Park Service will bring 34 fourth graders from Vallejo, California to Muir Woods.

September 23-24: National Park Trust and the U.S. Forest Service will bring 40 fourth graders from D.C.’s Creative Minds Public Charter School and Inspired Teaching Public Charter School to camp on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retiree Home on National Public Lands Day.

September 23-25: National Parks Conservation Association and Youthworks will celebrate National Public Lands Day by taking youth to Canyonlands for a Star Party campout in Moab, UT.

September 24: Appalachian Trail Conservancy is inviting families of all ages to participate in 28 different events being hosted along the trail from Georgia to Maine, celebrating National Public Lands Day.

September 27: In New York City, National Park Trust, The North Face, and OAK will co-host an Every Kid in a Park launch event at Gateway National Recreation Area for 90 fourth graders from Amersfort Public School (PS 119) in Brooklyn. This is the first of five events funded by The North Face’s Explore Fund.

October 7:  In Washington, DC, National Park Trust, The North Face, and OAK will co-host an Every Kid in a Park launch event for 60 fourth graders at Rock Creek Park.

October 14: In Washington DC, REI, Outdoor Foundation and National Park Trust will host students in examining the Declaration of Independence from the view of its author Thomas Jefferson. The trip includes a visit to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.

October 15: In Pawling, NY, the National Parks Conservation Association and Appalachian Trail Conservancy are co-hosting the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Day, featuring guided hikes and educational activities for kids and families.

October 18: In Washington DC, REI, Outdoor Foundation, National Park Trust will help students become modern day explorers as they discover the biologically diverse area around the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Using tools of the past, along with modern day technology, participants will follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark as they inventory cultural and natural resources.

November 2: In Washington DC, REI, Outdoor Foundation, National Park Trust and Wilderness Inquiry will take students canoeing on the Anacostia River. Additionally, rangers representing Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Frederick Douglas House, and Anacostia Park will teach students local history, ecology, and architecture on land.

November 5: In Mojave National Preserve, National Parks Conservation Association and the Mojave National Preserve Conservancy are co-hosting a star-gazing overnight camping experience for students from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

November 9-10: National Parks Conservation Association and Wilderness Inquiry will connect hundreds of local students from Petersburg, Virginia, with the Lower Appomattox River.

Date TBD: S.O.S. Outreach provides Colorado fourth graders with a chance to experience the Colorado National Monument through a four day overnight excursion. This year they will host their 22nd annual trip.

A few additional resources from OAK members to support Every Kid in a Park programming:

  • The Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association launched Parks4Kids to provide micro grants to teachers, schools and nonprofits to connect our next generation with our nation’s parks and public lands. The campaign’s online platform connects individuals specific school to park experience projects.
  • Transforming Youth Outdoors is providing outdoor educators and teachers with a comprehensive set of tools and resources to support classroom and outdoor education and to provide the tools needed to get fourth graders onto our federal lands and waters.

In addition to our fourth grader events, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids host programs and activities for kids of all ages. Visit our website to learn more.

###

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 more than eighty businesses and organizations, led by a steering committee which includes representatives from the Alliance for Childhood, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, NatureBridge, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

21283914410_bb36ea214b_b
Photo Credit: National Park Service; OAK helps launch Every Kid in a Park in Washington, DC

A Heavy Heart in the Grand Canyon

guest post by Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature Director and Co-Founding Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids – originally appeared in Huffington Post

Carrying an extra twenty-one pounds of baby on your back as you climb out of the Grand Canyon during a hot day in July isn’t easy. At least, so I’ve heard. My partner did most of the heavy lifting. As we emerged from the canyon, the weight began to lift off of our tired legs. Unfortunately, that weight made a beeline for our hearts, which sank upon learning the ugly details of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling’s untimely deaths. It would be another day or so before the news would reach us of the tragic shooting by a lone gunman of several police officers in Dallas, who were on duty during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

Our family trip to the Grand Canyon was bittersweet. As a new mom, of an adopted black son, the story of Philando Castile’s death hit me the hardest. He was shot and killed by a police officer in front of his girlfriend and her four year old daughter after being pulled over for “driving with a wide nose.” By now, you should have all heard this story and, unfortunately, countless others.

20160705_175616

It wasn’t very long ago that I was pulled over for speeding. We were on our way back from Shenandoah National Park where we had been celebrating Father’s Day. My son was sick and tired of being in the car and he was making his restlessness known. So I, a white woman with a notorious lead foot, picked up the pace. I was pulled over for reckless driving in the state of Virginia. The officer asked why I was speeding. I told him my son was crying and I just wanted to get home; I told him that I was sorry. He gave me a speeding ticket and let me know he wasn’t going to give me a reckless driving charge.

I’ve been pulled over for speeding more times than I care to admit. Never have I feared for my safety. Never have I wondered whether or not I should reach into my glove box for my insurance card, which I have always done without thinking twice. Never have I been asked to step out of my vehicle. Never did my parents give me “the talk” (at least not the driving while black talk). What if I hadn’t been white? Will my son’s experience be different as he matures from a sweet innocent baby into a beautiful black man in America?

When I started drafting this blog, my plan was to write about the Centennial of the National Park Service. Over the last 100 years, we’ve protected over 400 national parks, monuments and historic sites. Since my son was born just over a year ago, we’ve made it our mission to get out and see our country’s magnificent public lands. Last June, when my son was just two weeks old, we went to the Everglades; he slept through his first alligator sighting. In September, when his adoption was finalized, we went to Shenandoah for the first of what would be several trips to the park as a new family. We’ve gone on short hikes in Prince William Forest Park and Rock Creek National Park near our home in Washington, DC. And earlier this month, we went to the Grand Canyon to celebrate my partner’s birthday – he was born on the 4th of July.

I could write about the awesome geological formations of the canyon, or the two California condors soaring overhead as we entered the park, or the warm smell of pinyon pine needles baking in the hot sun, or how my sweet little boy is quickly becoming a fish – splashing and swimming every chance he gets. I could write about the threats to our beloved Grand Canyon from nearby uranium mining and the importance of expanding its protection for future generations.

But my heart is heavy with sadness and worry. It’s a mom’s job to worry, right? I am sad because our black and brown brothers and sisters have been let down by our system. I am sad because far too many white folks are standing on the sidelines, sitting out this fight, or worse yet dismissing the Black Lives Matter movement (the civil rights movement of our time) with statements like “All Lives Matter” which undermine the important call to start valuing black lives as much as we already value white lives.

I am worried because the love of my life is a little black boy who will have to face the harsh realities of systemic racism as he ages. I worry whether I will be able to teach him empathy and resilience; to prepare him to not just survive but to thrive in this world.He’ll face adversity for sure. I wonder if he will continue to feel welcome in the parks and public lands we’ve been introducing him to over this first year of his life – the places where I have been privileged to find solace, healing and even hope.

Just last month on the heels of the horrific shooting targeting the LGBTQ community in Orlando, President Obama took his family to Yosemite National Park. While there, he gave a speech honoring the Centennial of the National Park Service, and highlighting the White House’s Every Kid in a Park initiative to ensure all kids have opportunities to enjoy our public lands, waters and shores. After taking photos and shaking hands, President Obama and his family went for a hike. Just them. No cameras, no press, no special guests.

I can’t help but think after a really hard week, time in nature might have helped the President to reconnect with his family, and in the shadows of the ponderosa pines and granite cliffs, the President might have found a little solace, a little healing and even, a little hope.

Earth Day Pledge to Get Every Kid in a Park

guest blog by Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club Nearby Nature Director, Co-Founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Our National Parks are turning 100, and they’re starting to look a little grey. Fifty-four is not just the age of President Obama, it’s also the average age of a visitor to Yellowstone National Park. America’s parks and public lands belong to all of us, but we’re not all enjoying them. As we look to the next 100 years of conservation in America, it’s critical that we make sure everyone has opportunities to get outdoors.

That’s why this Earth Day I am pledging to help get Every Kid in a Park – and I am asking you to join me. Every Kid in a Park is President Obama’s campaign to encourage fourth graders and their families to experience their parks and public lands. It’s an effort to ensure that our lands, waters and shores continue to be enjoyed for the next 100 years. Kids can download passes to visit our federal lands for free for an entire year. The campaign is also raising money to supplement transportation costs, one of the biggest barriers to participation in the outdoors, for kids and schools.

Sierra Club also took the pledge. During the month of April, Sierra Club staff and volunteers are leading over 100 outings to encourage kids (and adults) to explore, enjoy and protect the outdoors. The outings, while celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service, are taking place in neighborhood parks, national parks and everything in between.

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) took the pledge, too. OAK recently announced a spring lineup of Every Kid in a Park events being run by alliance members, collectively reaching nearly 5,000 fourth graders with a park experience over the next few months. Commitments made by Sierra Club, OAK and many of our partners were included in the White House announcement to get nearly half a million kids outdoors as part of this week’s Every Kid in a Park day of action.

To honor the pledge, many partners came together yesterday to connect 200 fourth graders from Baltimore to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. I was there to celebrate National Park Week and the Every Kid in a Park day of action. The kids were there to have fun – and they did.

After getting their Every Kid in a Park passes, the fourth graders learned about the Monument and participated in a series of nature-based activities. The defense of Fort McHenry was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner and the kids got to fold a massive replica of the flag with National Park Service rangers.

26510715871_3190794823_o
Photo Credit: Tim Ervin, National Park Service Volunteer; Fourth graders folding the Star-Spangled Banner – sporting awesome sunglasses from the National Parks Conservation Association and Sierra Club hats

They also learned about oysters in the harbor from Living Classrooms and pitched a tent by the river with the National Park Trust.

11215777_1015714468466152_1970452637036613974_n-COLLAGE
Photo Credit: Linda Rhoads, Alliance for Childhood; Fourth graders learning how to pitch a tent with the National Park Trust (above); Students enjoying their lunch (below)

Sierra Club’s Baltimore Inspiring Connections Outdoors youth from Digital Harbor High School was there to lead several activity stations for the fourth graders, including face painting.

26510692951_ea8f275302_o
Photo Credit: Tim Ervin, National Park Service Volunteer; White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss joins Sierra Club’s Baltimore Inspiring Connections Outdoors/Digital Harbor High School seniors.

This Earth Day, join me in supporting this important initiative to connect every fourth grader with nature. I just took the pledge to help get Every Kid in a Park and I hope you will, too.

FACT SHEET: On Every Kid In a Park Day of Action, White House Announces Commitments to Getting Nearly Half a Million Kids Outside

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

FACT SHEET: On Every Kid In a Park Day of Action, White House Announces Commitments to Getting Nearly Half a Million Kids Outside

Today, the White House is announcing that more than two dozen foundations, companies and nonprofit organizations have signed on to the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, committing to funding trips to America’s national parks and other public lands and waters for nearly half a million 4th grade children. This announcement is just one of many events happening across the country to celebrate National Park Week and the centennial year of the National Park Service.

Launched in September 2015, the Every Kid in a Park initiative provides all 4th graders and their families with free access to our country’s public lands and waters for a full year. Since the launch of the initiative, private companies, nonprofits and other youth-serving groups have responded to the President’s call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s unparalleled outdoors, taking action to ensure that all children can have this opportunity. In addition to demonstrating the breadth of support for Every Kid in a Park, today’s commitments include several new steps to expand the initiative, including the launch of a public awareness campaign and website, EveryKidinaPark.org, a commitment from outdoor retailer REI to fund trips for all 4th graders in Washington D.C. public schools, and a 75 percent Amtrak discount for 4th graders with an Every Kid in a Park pass when purchased with a full fare adult ticket.

Additionally, as part of National Park Week this week and today’s Every Kid in a Park Day of Action, organizations and individuals across the country are continuing to raise awareness for the initiative.  Highlights of the announcements and commitments supporting the President’s initiative include:

  • Transportation costs will be paid for nearly half a million 4th graders across the country to attend Every Kid in a Park trips through a combination of philanthropic support and existing federal funding;
  • Six states – Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico and New York – have committed to honoring the federal Every Kid in a Park pass in their state parks;
  • Print and digital distribution of Every Kid in a Park resources has reached virtually every 4th grade class in the United States;
  • More than 1,000 events and field trips have already been held to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

*           *           *

Every Kid in a Park Statement of Support

We support President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park Initiative which provides every fourth grader and their family a free one-year pass to any of our nation’s public lands and waters. The Every Kid in a Park initiative delivers a nationwide call to action to connect all Americans with our nation’s great natural beauty and rich history. As we celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial year and look towards the next century of conservation, we are committed to ensuring that all youth, especially those in underserved communities, have the opportunity to experience America’s great outdoors.

By signing the Every Kid in a Park statement of support, these companies and organizations are demonstrating support for the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative and taking action to connect all youth to America’s great outdoors.

The following organizations have signed on to the above Every Kid in a Park Statement of Support and are committing to help the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative.

American Recreation Coalition

Through collaboration with public, corporate and nonprofit partners during Great Outdoors Month®, the American Recreation Coalition is committed to introducing thousands of 4th graders and their families to their public lands and waters at special events all across the country.  The coalition is working closely with Governors to host campouts – including the first-ever Great Outdoors Western Governors Campout in Wyoming – issue proclamations, produce public service announcements and more to help their residents get outdoors.

Amtrak

Amtrak is a proud transportation partner of the Every Kid in a Park initiative. As Every Kid in a Park connects young people to the outdoors, America’s Railroad® connects people, the economy and the nation. Amtrak hopes to increase opportunities for Americans to get outdoors and connect with one of our nation’s true treasures, the national park system. In partnership with the Department of the Interior, Amtrak will offer a special Every Kid in a Park discount: buy one adult, get one child 75% off for travel to National Parks, urban parks, federal lands and waters this summer. Amtrak has service to over 260 parks and more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide.

The California Outdoor Engagement Coalition at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources

To support Every Kid in a Park in Richmond, CA we are partnering with the National Park Service, Rosie the Riveter Trust, West Contra Costa Unified School District and Groundwork Richmond to bring 1,200 4th graders from Richmond and San Pablo to Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park this spring. We plan to partner with other cities and districts to create wholesale efforts in California to bring all 4th graders in that area to their parks and provide them with Every Kid in a Park passes.

Children & Nature Network

Children & Nature Network (C&NN) will promote Every Kid in a Park across a range of communication channels and events, and engage their grassroots networks and local supporters. Specifically, C&NN will promote the initiative through a national newsletter, online forums and toolkits, activation webinars, and at an international conference.  Every Kid in a Park will also be featured as part of the book launch of Vitamin N, by Richard Louv, which contains a section describing the initiative.

Civic Nation

Today, in coordination with the Department of the Interior, Civic Nation is launching a public awareness and engagement campaign to inspire the next generation of cultural and environmental stewards by instilling curiosity about nature’s wonders, fostering appreciation for diverse cultural heritage, and furthering understanding of historic events. The Every Kid in a Park Campaign will engage educators, parents, and others to help get Every Kid in a Park and join the movement to make exploring these places a rite of passage for generations to come.  In addition, Everykidinapark.orgwill serve as an online hub to find resources and tools from partners to improve access to America’s treasured outdoor spaces and historic sites.

Family Travel Association

The Family Travel Association is a coalition of the travel industry’s leading suppliers, destinations, resources and experts on the subject of traveling with children. As a member-based organization with fast-expanding reach in both trade and the media, we will endeavor to share news about Every Kid in a Park with members through any of a number of open channels, which include familytravel.org, newsletters, social media channels, Spotlight editorial campaign, general editorial, promotions and annual Summit.

Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) participates in the Girl Scout Ranger program at National Parks and has developed “girls in the outdoors” videos at three National Parks.  GSUSA is promoting Every Kid in a Park through Girl Scouts’ websites and by highlighting the 8 badges a Girl Scout Junior can easily earn when visiting public lands.  GSUSA is also developing a “Get Outside” button for the online volunteer tool kit to help volunteers take activities they do with girls outside and will promote this initiative through social media assets on the GSUSA blog, Facebook and other outlets.

Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation

In support of Every Kid in a Park, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation has initiated a $25,000 fund with DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform for teachers. The fund is currently supporting Every Kid in a Park field trips and will provide 4th graders with hands-on opportunities to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. Fourth grade teachers from around the country can request up to $500 to support transportation for field trips to a U.S. national park, forest, wildlife refuge, or other federal lands or waters as part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

Kokua Hawai’i Foundation

Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation is supporting Every Kid in a Park with a commitment of $100,000 worth of KHF Field Trip Grants, with the goal of reaching all 17,000 4th grade students in the state of Hawaiʻi. The Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation supports environmental education in schools and communities of Hawai’i. The mission of the foundation is to provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

This year, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) is supporting the Every Kid in a Park initiative by creating a dedicated segment of its annual competitive grantmaking program, the Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund Grants. NMSF is funding four innovative projects encouraging more than 9,000 4th graders and their families, particularly those in underserved schools and communities, to adopt an ocean stewardship ethic through experiences in our nation’s federally-designated National Marine Sanctuary System. Field trips to existing and potential future sanctuaries, where young people will explore marine life, maritime heritage, research and conservation, are complemented with classroom STEM-focused learning activities.

National Parks Conservation Association

National Parks Conservation Association commits to help Every Kid in a Park by engaging more than 1,000 4th graders, parents, and teachers at NPCA events in 2016.  We will also promote the initiative through social media channels, provide materials about it at events, and connect Members of Congress with Every Kid in a Park outings.

National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, has raised more than $3 million in support of getting nearly 400,000 4th graders to more than 200 parks and public land sites. The Foundation will continue its efforts for the Every Kid in A Park initiative by continuing to raise critical dollars that ensure young people have the opportunity to experience America’s national parks. The Foundation will also continue to leverage its robust media platforms to support the initiative including its popular website (nationalparks.org), “GoParks” newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

National Park Hospitality Association

The concessioner members of the National Park Hospitality Association are supporting Every Kid in a Park by playing a direct role in the visits of at least 15,000 4th graders to some 30 national park units during the 2015-16 school year alone.  Free boat rides, lunches, and overnight stays, discounts on recreation activities in national parks and more are just some of the ways national park concessioners are helping connect 4th graders and their families with America’s public lands and waters.  These commitments will extend beyond the current academic year.   Concessioners’ efforts are aimed at making these visits – often first-ever visits to a national park – fun, and making the kids eager to come back for more fun for the rest of their lives.

National Park Trust

Through two national youth programs, Kids to Parks Day and Buddy Bison School Program, National Park Trust has worked with more than 130 schools this year and has encouraged each 4th grade class to take advantage of this unique opportunity. In addition, NPT will be getting every 4th grader in Ventura County, California to Channel Islands National Park. Every Kid in a Park has helped NPT engage even more students than ever before.

NatureBridge

NatureBridge will support Every Kid in a Park by bringing over 30,000 students, including over 2,000 of our nation’s 4th graders, each year, to six campuses in national parks. NatureBridge provides hands-on environmental science programs for children and teens. These multi-day programs take place outdoors in the magnificence of nature’s classroom, where students are immersed in the wonder and science of our national parks in Yosemite, Golden Gate, Olympic, Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, and Prince William Forest.

The North Face

A portion of this year’s The North Face Explore Fund grants have been designated to nonprofits that support the initiative and bring 4th graders on meaningful outdoor experiences where the Every Kid in a Park pass is accepted. In support of Every Kid in a Park, The North Face and Jaunt VR are teaming up to bring an inspirational and immersive virtual reality experience to 4th grade students and their families, giving them a taste of what it is like to discover and explore public lands throughout the U.S. Based in Palo Alto California, Jaunt is a pioneering virtual reality company that brings compelling VR experiences right to your smartphone.

Outdoor Afro

Outdoor Afro will enthusiastically support and promote President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative. Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires African American connections to nature. We do this with our team of over 60 trained outdoor recreation and conservation enthusiasts, representing 28 states with over 12,000 outdoor event participants of all ages. We also reach millions more through a coordinated social media effort that has successfully shifted the visual representation and narrative of who gets outdoors.

Outdoor Alliance

Outdoor Alliance is a national nonprofit coalition of outdoor recreation advocacy groups for climbers, mountain bikers, backcountry skiers, and paddlers. We look forward to sharing the Every Kid in a Park initiative on our website and social media channels, as well as through our coalition network.

OAK – Outdoors Alliance for Kids

As a national strategic partnership of more than 80 organizations and businesses from diverse sectors, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is working to increase equitable and readily-available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. OAK has been working to raise awareness about the President’s initiative, including helping to launch the Washington, DC, New York City and Hawaii Every Kid in a Park programs in 2015 with major events in each location. In 2016, OAK is working to activate its members and expects to reach 10,000 kids across the country through events and sustained programming, including collaboration with schools, non-profits and local land management agencies.

Outdoor Industry Association and The Outdoor Foundation

To help celebrate the Centennial year of “America’s best idea,” and the new great idea launched by the Obama Administration – the Every Kid in a Park initiative – Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association created “Parks 4 Kids.” This online platform supports the Every Kid in a Park effort by funding schools and nonprofits to ensure their programs can provide America’s youth with outdoor experiences, this year, and in years to come, and has already raised more than $250,000 since launching in January.

REI

Specialty outdoor retailer REI is today announcing a $25,000 grant to ensure every public school 4th grader in the District of Columbia has a park experience this year.  REI’s motto is “a life outdoors is a life well-lived,” and in the Centennial year, the co-op has demonstrated its commitment to that belief through a multi-million dollar partnership with the National Park Foundation, supporting stewardship and activations around the country.  To mark the Fall opening of a flagship store in D.C., REI wants to help ensure that 4th graders across the nation’s capital have a chance to experience the wonders of time spent in nature.  The REI grant will be complemented by $10,000 from The Conservation Fund and Outdoor Foundation (OF), the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).

Scholastic

Using its reach into every school in the country, Scholastic has developed and distributed custom Every Kid in a Park classroom resources to virtually every 4th grade teacher in the United States. The resources, provided to classrooms in both print and digital formats, provide teachers with the tools necessary to activate the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts. Through its “Backpack Channel,” Scholastic has also brought Every Kid in a Park into homes across the country, elevating awareness among parents and calling on each of them to capitalize on the free pass and introduce their children to federal lands and waters.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club will host hundreds of outings on our public lands, from neighborhood parks to national parks. Through promotion of the Every Kid in a Park program and other outings, we are focused on engaging our 2.4 million members and supporters to open doors to help underserved children and communities connect with nature. As just one example, the Sierra Club is working with the Every Kid in a Park program in Los Angeles to help children from park-poor communities explore the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Student Conservation Association

By increasing the number of young Americans empowered through hands-on service-learning in national parks and public lands, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) supports both the practice and the spirit of placing Every Kid in a Park. Working in cities across the U.S., SCA’s ConSERVE community service events and Urban Tree House elementary-level environmental education programs aim to engage 1,000 4th graders annually to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative. SCA will also leverage its national social media audience to promote the initiative and share the value of connecting young people to nature.

Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa, a strategy and design practice based in New York, delivers business and creative solutions for complex multinationals and start-ups, cultural institutions, communities, and renowned individuals. To support Civic Nation’s Every Kid in a Park campaign, Sub Rosa helped develop and launch EveryKidinaPark.org, providing a multitude of services including creative direction, content strategy, UX design, social media strategy, and web development. Additionally, Sub Rosa will be joining The North Face and Jaunt in producing an all-new virtual reality experience that furthers the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land will support the Every Kid in a Park initiative by promoting content related to the public awareness campaign via social media and other communications platforms.  Additionally, the Trust for Public Land has established a mission goal of creating a park within a 10-minute walk of everyone in America’s cities. We will work to leverage the goals of the Every Kid in a Park initiative as it encourages others to adopt the 10-minute walk standard for providing nearby access to parks and open space.

U.S. Travel Association

The U.S. Travel Association, whose mission is to increase travel to and within the United States, will engage its diverse membership and the broader travel community to foster greater awareness and engagement with the Every Kid in a Park initiative as well as the National Park Service Centennial celebration. These efforts will complement Project: Time Off, a national movement from U.S. Travel and a Coalition of supporters, to win back America’s Lost Week of vacation and shift culture so that time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.

The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society (TWS) is supporting Every Kid in a Park through its partnership with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK). Together, TWS and OAK will develop a robust and vibrant Every Kid in a Park initiative that provides an increasing number of 4th grade students with outdoor experiences every year, including through the recently announced Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour sponsoring events to get thousands of 4th graders outside this year. Additionally, TWS and OAK will also be working with their partners in the federal land management agencies to institutionalize the Every Kid in a Park initiative so that it continues beyond the end of the Obama Administration.

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society – which promotes the benefits to all of being outside in nature, including through five zoological facilities – will highlight the Every Kid in a Park initiative in educational programs, camps, on website and social media platforms, and at each of the Wildlife Conservation Society facilities to ensure that children and adults alike are exposed to the benefits of being outdoors.

YMCA of the USA

YMCA will encourage local YMCAs across the country to provide healthy outdoor experiences at local, state and national parks to the 950,000 youth that participate in summer camping programs. Additionally, YMCA is collaborating with Let’s Move! Outside partners in 50 cities convened by YMCAs to support Every Kid in a Park through existing activities and partnerships on public lands. To share best practices for getting kids outdoors on public lands, YMCA will also disseminate success stories about YMCAs with active National Park Service partnerships through internal communications and help raise awareness publicly through social media, reminding families to engage in outdoor activities together.

ADVISORY: White House and Partners to Host “Every Kid in a Park” Event at Fort McHenry to Celebrate National Park Week

April 19, 2016

PRESS ADVISORY


White House and Partners to Host “Every Kid in a Park” Event at Fort McHenry to Celebrate National Park Week

Contact: Sam Chiron, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.419.3712 or schiron@npca.org

WHAT: During National Park Week, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, along with the City of Baltimore and other partner organizations, will celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial and the city’s commitment to connecting youth with parks and the outdoors. Hundreds of fourth graders will attend an “Every Kid in a Park” event at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Thursday, April 21, 2o16 at 10:00 a.m.

The students will learn about the city’s cultural and natural history by visiting Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trails. Other activities include learning how to pitch a tent, exploring the historic Star Fort, and hands on learning with the American Flag.

WHEN: Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Press event will begin at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, 2400 E Fort Ave., Baltimore, MD 21230

WHO: Hundreds of fourth and eighth graders, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, City of Baltimore, National Parks Conservation Association, National Park Service, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, Sierra Club, Baltimore National Heritage Area, and Living Classrooms Foundation

WHY: The “Every Kid in a Park” initiative was launched by President Obama in 2015, and serves as a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s public lands and waters. Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces.

As a lead up to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in August 2016, every fourth-grader in the nation can receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters – for them and their families – for a full year. This week the White House will announce the “Every Kid in a Park Campaign,” an initiative to make it easy for parents, teachers, and organizations to plan trips to more than 2,000 parks and Federal land and water sites.

“We’re so proud to partner with the White House to help ensure all children get an opportunity to visit our parks, especially in this centennial year of the National Park Service,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “NPCA is organizing more than one hundred events and activities across the country this year as part of our Find Your Voice initiative, as we educate, engage and empower people. Today’s national park visitors could be tomorrow’s national park advocates. And we will need them to speak up for our parks to ensure they thrive well into their next century.”

“We’re so excited to host this event at the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner to celebrate National Park Week with our youngest Americans,” said Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine Superintendent Tina Cappetta.

“Every Kid in a Park is aligned perfectly with what Living Classrooms Foundation has been offering young people for more than 30 years,” said James Piper Bond, President & CEO, Living Classrooms Foundation. “Through hands-on STEM and environmental education programs that use urban, natural, and maritime settings as ‘living classrooms,’ we are able to connect inner-city youth and families to our environmental and historic assets, and ultimately make them better stewards of the natural world.”

“Today’s event is a reminder that the wild is where you find it. Whether a neighborhood park or a national park, we’re committed to making sure kids and communities have opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy America’s public lands and waters,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature Director and Outdoors Alliance for Kids Co-Founder and Chair. “It’s National Park Week and there’s no better time to get Every Kid in a Park.”

Celebrating National Park Week Throughout the City of Baltimore

In 2015, the Baltimore National Heritage Area received a special opportunities grant from the National Park Service office to connect more than 600 Baltimore City students with the outdoors through the “Kids in Kayaks” program. As part of today’s city-wide celebration eighth grade students from Baltimore City will be kayaking for the first time at Middle Branch Park, while also learning about local history and environmental stewardship. The heritage area partnered with the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, the Baltimore City Public School System and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to plan and implement the program.

“The heritage area is extremely proud of how all of our partners have come together to create this wonderful life-changing experience for our city’s kids,” said Jeffrey Buchheit, Executive Director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. “We are dedicated to not only sustaining this program, but growing it exponentially in the coming years.”

About Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine: Fort McHenry was constructed between 1799 and 1802 and became a national park site in 1925. During the War of 1812, British forces sailed to Baltimore, Maryland, intent on attacking the city. On the morning of September 13, 1814, the British navy attacked the fort for 25 hours. Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment from a ship in Baltimore harbor and expressed his gratitude and relief at the victory in a poem that became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

###

RELEASE: Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour

OAK_Logo_Color_Full_Quality_largeEKIP_LOGO_COLOR_RGB_SM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 21, 2016

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.org

Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour

Outdoors Alliance for Kids to get 1000s of fourth graders outdoors this spring

Washington, DC – Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids announced its Spring Every Kid in a Park program lineup. OAK members will host a series of events throughout the year to connect thousands of fourth graders with their natural and cultural heritage.

“America is blessed with unrivaled public lands and waters, and through Every Kid in a Park, we’re inviting every fourth grader and their families to enjoy our nation’s great outdoors,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through this program, every 4th grader will have an opportunity to nurture their curiosity and wonder, developing a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife in their backyards and beyond.”

The Every Kid in a Park program is designed to encourage all fourth graders to get outdoors. Fourth graders and their parents, teachers and caregivers can visit www.everykidinapark.gov to learn about the initiative, plan a trip and download the 4th grade voucher for free entry on all federal lands.

“OAK and its members are answering President Obama’s call to connect fourth graders across America with the public lands, waters and shores that belong to them,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature Director and OAK Co-Founder and Chair. “Spring has sprung and there’s no better time to kickoff efforts to ensure kids have opportunities to play and learn, as they connect with the natural world and each other.”

Announcing OAK’s Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour

March 17: In Saint Louis, MO, the National Park Trust’s Buddy Bison School program hosted 65 fourth graders from Mullanphy ILC at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Kids got a chance to meet Buddy Bison and receive their official Every Kid in a Park passes.

March 22: In Washington, DC, the National Park Trust and Sierra Club are teaming up to bring 20 fourth grade girls from the Washington School for Girls to the Mary Mcleod Bethune Council House National Historic Site to learn about this important civil rights leader and educator during National Women’s History month.

March 23: UC Berkeley and the California Outdoor Engagement Coalition are launching a series of events to get 1000 fourth graders from Richmond, CA, outdoors. The launch event will be held at Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park where 100 kids will participate. Many organizations are supporting this launch event, including Sierra Club.

April 1: No fooling, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Service, and Mahogany Youth are celebrating Every Kid in a Park in Miami, FL, where 50 kids from Miami Dade will go fishing at Biscayne National Park.

April 5: In Petaluma, CA, 85 fourth graders from Hamilton Elementary School will board Voyageur canoes in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge during an event hosted by Wilderness Inquiry and the National Park Trust.

April 13: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in partnership with the YMCA of Central New Mexico will bring 100 students out to the national monument for “Every Kid in a Park: Tent Rocks!” Students will participate in environmental education activities including guided hike tours.

April 18-19: Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile will be in San Francisco, CA, to get 100s of fourth graders on the water in partnership with National Park Trust.

April 21: OAK is teaming up with the National Park Conservation Association, Sierra Club, Baltimore Parks and Recreation, Baltimore Public Schools and many more to host 300 kids on the Star-Spangled Banner Water Trail during a Kids in Kayaks event in Baltimore, MD.

April 25: 150 kids (75 fourth graders) from New York City will hit the Appalachian Trail for some Wildlife tracking with the National Parks Conservation Association.

May: In a series of events throughout the month, SOS Outreach will connect over 200 Eagle County, CO, fourth graders with Colorado National Monument on a four day, three night camping trip complementing Colorado’s fourth grade curriculum on the state’s natural geography.

May 13: National Park Trust’s Buddy Bison Program will bring 64 kids (32 fourth graders) to Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas.

May 14: IslandWood, in partnership with other local organizations, will be hosting a BioBlitz at their campus on Bainbridge Island, WA. In collaboration with the National Park Service, Every Kid in a Park vouchers will be provided to fourth graders from Seattle, WA, and the Island.

May 21: Many OAK members will be on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and in other locations across the country for National Geographic’s BioBlitz.

May 25: Also in Washington, DC, 105 kids will visit the National Arboretum with the National Park Trust and the US Department of Agriculture.

May 31-June 3: In Detroit, MI, several OAK members, including Sierra Club’s Detroit Inspiring Connections Outdoors, program to bring 2,000 fourth graders to Historic Fort Wayne for a series of Every Kid in a Park events. Details are forthcoming on these events, sponsored by the Detroit Public Schools and City of Detroit Department of Recreation, the National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Foundation.

Additionally, OAK members, the Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association have launched Parks4Kids to provide micro grants to teachers, schools and nonprofits to connect our next generation with our nation’s parks and public lands. The campaign’s online platform connects individuals specific school to park experience projects. With a few clicks, funders can give $10 to $10,000 to the project(s) that most inspires them.

OAK will announce summer and fall events later in the year.

###

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 more than eighty businesses and organizations, led by a steering committee which includes representatives from the Alliance for Childhood, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

21283914410_bb36ea214b_b
Photo Credit: National Park Service; OAK helps launch Every Kid in a Park in Washington, DC

 

RELEASE: Alliance for Childhood and Latino Outdoors join leadership of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

For Immediate Release:

February 24, 2016

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld; 202-548-6584; Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org

Alliance for Childhood and Latino Outdoors join leadership of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Washington, DC– The Outdoors Alliance for Kids today announced two new steering committee members, Linda Rhoads of the Alliance for Childhood and Jose Gonzalez of Latino Outdoors. Each brings a new, fresh and welcome perspective to this growing national partnership to connect children, youth and families with the outdoors.

“I am excited to join the OAK steering committee as we collectively work on closing the nature equity gap and improving outdoor access for all,” said Jose Gonzalez, Latino Outdoors Founder. “The outdoors, nature, and open space are essential to all communities for health, wellness, recreation, and to be a platform where a community is welcome and feels included and empowered to care for and be cared for in our parks and all our public lands.”

Through Latino Outdoors, Gonzalez is working to create a national community of Latino leaders in conservation and outdoor education.

“Such a wonderful honor to serve this diverse and broad reaching network leading the advancement of policy solutions toward equitable access for all kids to have outdoor experiences that support their healthy emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development,” said Linda Rhoads, Alliance for Childhood Executive Director. “It’s a privilege to bring a voice on behalf of children everywhere for unstructured outdoor play to this critical policy work.”

The Alliance for Childhood promotes policies and practices that support children’s healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living.

“OAK is honored to welcome both Linda and Jose onto our steering committee. Ensuring our youngest children have opportunities to play outdoors is critical to our broader mission and we are glad to have this early childhood perspective among our leadership with the Alliance for Childhood,” says Jackie Ostfeld, Outdoors Alliance for Kids co-founder and steering committee chair. “Jose is also a strong leader in this field and an active advocate for the Latino experience in the outdoors, providing an important perspective on OAK’s steering committee.”

###

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 more than eighty businesses and organizations, led by a steering committee which includes representatives from the Alliance for Childhood, American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

OAK_Logo_Color_Full_Quality_large

RELEASE: Outdoors Alliance for Kids Calls for Reauthorization, Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.cramer@sierraclub.org

Outdoors Alliance for Kids Calls for Reauthorization, Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

WASHINGTON, DC — The House Natural Resources Committee today will hold a hearing on draft legislation “Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation Act,” introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) as an alternative to reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In response the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statement.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides critical resources for ensuring that children, youth and families are able to spend time outdoors. It should be permanently reauthorized and fully funded.

The fund’s land acquisition and assistance programs increase opportunities for play and recreation that help keep our kids fit and healthy. These programs deserve Congressional support. It’s essential that we continue to provide ample opportunities for young people to get outdoors regardless of whether they live in urban, rural or suburban areas.

The reauthorization process should not be used to advance new spending programs unrelated to the purposes of the Land and Water Conservation Fund– promoting conservation and outdoor recreation, but instead should focus on continuing the success of the program over the last half-century.

###