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: After Public Outcry, Department of the Interior Expected to Continue Program for Kids in National Parks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2018

Contact:  Ginny Cramer, 804-519-8449, contact@outdoorsallianceforkids.org

After Public Outcry, Department of the Interior Expected to Continue Program for Kids in National Parks

Washington, D.C.– Today, the Department of the Interior is expected to announce that despite news reports that the program was in danger of being cancelled, it will continue the popular, successful Every Kid in a Park program. Every Kid in a Park allows every fourth grader in the U.S. to visit their national parks. Since the program began, millions of fourth graders have downloaded their park pass voucher and visited a national park, many for the first time. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids delivered over 15,000 comments in support of the program to Secretary Ryan Zinke, including 1,000 handwritten postcards from children. More than 70 member organizations and allies to the Outdoors Alliance for Kids also called on Secretary Zinke to continue the Every Kid in a Park program in a letter sent this week.

“Thank you to the dozens of organizations who acted to protect Every Kid in a Park, and to the tens of thousands of people across the country who voiced their support, including over one thousand kids who signed postcards about the value of the program,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Director of Sierra Club Outdoors and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “Today’s decision is a victory for kids across the U.S. The Every Kid in a Park program is a low-cost and popular public-private partnership that helps boost local economies while improving children’s health and connections to nature. Millions in private funding have been leveraged to support transportation costs for children from low-income schools across the United States. Ending this program would have been a big mistake, and we’re glad to see that the Department of Interior will continue to support Every Kid in a Park.”

“Summer is the time to savor the great outdoors and there’s no better place to do that than our national parks. In its almost three years of existence, Every Kid in a Park has opened the door to the natural beauty of the nation’s parks for countless children, helping them stay physically active and healthy,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “We are pleased that the Department of the Interior will continue the admirable work of this wonderful public-private partnership, and urge Congress to pass legislation to make the program permanent.”

“The Children & Nature Network supports efforts to ensure that all children have access to America’s public lands and outdoor heritage. Every Kid in a Park is one such initiative, and we are thrilled that it will be continued so that children and families can experience the natural places we cherish as a country.” – Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director, Children & Nature Network

“We are very glad that the popular Every Kid in a Park program will be extended to provide a new class of 4th graders the opportunity to visit our national parks. The experiences the kids have—many for the first time ever—are priceless, helping expand their horizons and connect them with our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. The Every Kid program would not have been extended without public pressure. When the Administration has proposed actions like massive entrance fee increases that would limit access to our parks, Americans have spoken up, demonstrating that ensuring the opportunity for everyone to access our national parks is an important American value. Now let’s work together to make the program permanent and guarantee that not only this year’s 4th grade class, but all 4th graders will have the same opportunity to experience America’s national parks as a rite of passage.” Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy, The Wilderness Society

“Children’s access to parks is essential to building the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, National Recreation and Park Association president and CEO. “NRPA applauds the administration’s decision to extend the Every Kid in a Park program, as it teaches children the importance of connecting with nature and protecting our nation’s parks.”

“The Alliance for Childhood supports children’s healthy development, love of learning and joy in living, especially through child-initiated, outdoor play in nature. The Every Kid in a Park program provides equitable opportunities for fourth graders to experience active play in our natural world. Continuing this program will support life changing developmental opportunities for the children who need it most. Together with our OAK partners, we are committed to ensuring the success of this incredibly impactful model program. With bipartisan support, we look forward to working with members of Congress to pass the Every Kid Outdoors Act to ensure the future of the Every Kid in a Park program,” said Linda Rhoads, Executive Director, Alliance for Childhood.

“Of all the programs we’ve had to defend under this administration, never did we think Every Kid in a Park would be one of them. Thanks to the voices of millions of Americans represented by OAK organizations, we are relieved the program will continue to get more fourth graders and their families into America’s national parks. These visits help support businesses in gateway communities and families share invaluable park experiences that will last a lifetime.” –Theresa Pierno, President & CEO, National Parks Conservation Association

“On behalf of the thousands of under-served fourth graders across the country that we support each year, we are delighted that Secretary Zinke and the Department of the Interior will continue this program for a fourth year. Our students, families and teachers have often shared with us the immeasurable value and importance of this program that provides free access to all of our national parks. These students are our future outdoor enthusiasts and stewards of our public lands and waters,” stated Grace Lee, Executive Director, National Park Trust

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations, representing more than 60 million individuals to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

RELEASE: After Public Response Interior Department Reverses Course on National Parks Entrance Fee Increases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3, 2018

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld, 202-548-6584; contact@outdoorsallianceforkids.org

After Public Response Interior Department Reverses Course on National Parks Entrance Fee Increases
Victory for Kids and Families Everywhere

Washington, DC — News reports indicate that the Department of the Interior will withdraw plans to increase fees for visitors to U.S. national parks. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke had previously proposed to increase fees to as much as $70 per vehicle at seventeen of our most iconic national parks. It appears the proposal is being reversed while the Department of the Interior pursues other options for raising revenue for our national parks. This decision comes following an overwhelming public response and increasing pressure from their representatives in Congress.

In response, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids Founder & Chair Jackie Ostfeld released the following statement:

“The Interior Department’s decision to withdraw its proposal to raise fees in our national parks is a victory for kids and families everywhere. America’s youth are spending more time indoors and less time in nature than any generation in history. Raising fees nearly 200% would have created an unnecessary barrier to entry for many young people at a time when we need to be encouraging our children to explore the natural world.

Time in nature makes us healthier, happier, and smarter. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) believes that all kids and families should have access, opportunities, and encouragement to visit our parks and public lands. In addition to keeping entrance fees affordable for working families, OAK supports measures to encourage participation in the outdoors, such as the Every Kid in a Park program, which offers free admission to fourth graders and their families to national public lands, waters, and shores. This and other pass programs currently support the engagement of fourth graders, seniors, people with disabilities, and active duty military service members in our parks, and help create a legacy of engagement in the outdoors that drives participation and supports local economies.

We appreciated the opportunity to weigh in on the Administration’s initial proposal, and are grateful to OAK members and the more than 100,000 individuals who made their voices heard through the open comment period. We continue to urge the Administration to work with Congress to identify adequate funding for our national parks, public lands, and their ongoing maintenance.”

In December, OAK commissioned a bipartisan national poll to better understand public opinion on the proposal to raise national park entrance fees. The poll found that nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) oppose the proposed fee increase, including majorities across all political and major demographic groups. It also found  that 64% of Americans would be less likely to visit a park if the fees were increased at the proposed rate of nearly 200%. That number spiked to 71% among households with incomes under $30,000. When it comes to funding national parks, Americans overwhelming believe that increasing federal funding (72%) is a better approach than increasing entrance fees (28%).

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the outdoors.

Release: Bipartisan Poll Suggests Public Less Likely to Visit Parks with Higher Entry Fees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2017

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

Bipartisan Poll Suggests Public Less Likely to Visit Parks with Higher Entry Fees
Poll Results Released by Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Washington, DC– Bipartisan poll results released by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) demonstrate that the public has major concerns with a proposal to raise entry fees at major national parks across the country. The proposed fee increase would affect some of the U.S.’s most beloved parks including Yellowstone, Shenandoah and Joshua Tree. Entrance fees would more than double, increasing to $70 per vehicle from $30. The poll found that:

  • Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) oppose the proposed fee increase, including majorities across all political and major demographic groups
  • Sixty-four percent of Americans say they would be less likely to visit a national park if fees were increased
  • Among Americans with household incomes under $30,000 per year, who would be most impacted by the fee hike, 71% say they would be less likely to visit a national park if fees were increased
  • When it comes to funding national parks, Americans overwhelmingly believe that increasing federal funding is a better approach than increasing entrance fees (72% versus 28%, respectively)
  • An overwhelming 92% of Americans agree that access to national parks provides kids with valuable opportunities to be active outdoors and learn about the natural world

“Today’s young people are growing up inside, spending less time in nature than any generation in history, with profound consequences for their health and wellness,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Founder & Chair of Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “OAK believes every child and every family should have access and encouragement to get outdoors. This fee hike will reverse years of progress at the National Park Service to make our parks more inclusive and welcoming to kids and families of all backgrounds. If the Administration goes through with its proposal to more than double park entry fees, visiting places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone will be off the table for many kids and families.”

This week the Outdoors Alliance for Kids submitted comments from dozens of member organizations on the proposed fee hike, urging the administration to protect access to America’s national parks and public lands for all children, youth, and families by withdrawing the proposal to increase entrance fees in 17 national parks.

“By any measure, these fee increases are significant, and the American people know it,” said Paul Sanford, Vice Chair of Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “Two-thirds of poll respondents oppose the increase. Three-quarters of respondents believe the fee increase will make the parks less accessible and will harm businesses in gateway communities. Nearly two-thirds said these increases will make it less likely they will visit the parks, which strongly suggests the projected increase in revenue will not materialize. Even if it does, the backlog won’t be eliminated for 165 years. For these reasons, we urge the Administration to withdraw its proposal to increase fees.”

The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and Chesapeake Beach Consulting, surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide between December 13 and 17, 2017. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percentage points.

For a slide presentation of the results, click here.
For topline results, click here.

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the outdoors.

Media Advisory: Telepresser – Bipartisan Poll Suggests Public Less Likely to Visit Parks with Higher Entry Fees

Media Advisory For: December 19, 2017

***MEDIA ADVISORY: WEDNESDAY TELEPRESSER***

Bipartisan Poll Suggests Public Less Likely to Visit Parks with Higher Entry Fees

Washington, DC Results of a new bipartisan poll released by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids indicate broad concerns about a proposal to dramatically raise entry fees in our national parks. A majority of Americans, no matter their party affiliation, say they want the federal government to ensure parks remain accessible to all Americans. Entry fee hikes would affect some of our most well-loved parks including Yellowstone, Shenandoah and Joshua Tree. Entrance fees would increase to $70 per vehicle, more than doubling. The telepresser will highlight key findings from the national survey, including the fact that a majority of Americans say they would be less likely to visit a national park if this proposal passed.

WHAT: Telepresser to release results and analysis of bipartisan poll on proposed National Park fee increase.

WHO: 

  • Jackie Ostfeld, Founder & Chair of Outdoors Alliance for Kids
  • Robert “Bob” Carpenter of Chesapeake Beach Consulting (R)
  • Jay Campbell of Hart Research Associates (D)
  • Paul Sanford, Vice Chair of Outdoors Alliance for Kids

WHEN: Wednesday, December 20th at 2 p.m. ET

WHERE:  By telephone, 800-791-4813; Conference ID: PARK POLLING

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

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the outdoors.

RELEASE: OAK 2017 Award Winners Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, October 27, 2017

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

OAK 2017 Award Winners Announced

lawmakers from both of sides of the aisle recognized for leadership

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) announced the recipients of the 2017 “OAK Awards.” A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers including Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3), and Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), and several OAK members received awards during the annual meeting of the Alliance.

The “OAK Awards” are bestowed annually on a bipartisan and bicameral cohort of 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.

OAK Tree Award Recipients (Decision-Makers):

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM): recognized for leadership in connecting children and youth with our parks and public lands, and advancement of the Every Kid Outdoors Act.

“Our national parks and public lands are outdoor classrooms with endless opportunities to learn and make memories,” said Senator Heinrich. “Connecting kids to the outdoors can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle. I am grateful for the support and work of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids that helps kids and their families access the rich natural and cultural history on display in our parks, forests, and monuments.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ): recognized for leadership in supporting career pathway programs for youth and veterans in conservation, and advancement of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act.

Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3): recognized for leadership in connecting children and youth with our parks and public lands, and advancement of the Every Kid Outdoors Act.

“Thank you to OAK for this award but even more so for your members’ dedicated efforts to encourage kids and families to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spaces that play such an important role in our communities,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “Together, we must continue to inspire a new and more diverse generation to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle, learn about our country’s natural and historic treasures, and fall in love with our public lands and the outdoors.”

Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21): recognized for leadership in connecting children and youth with our parks and public lands, and advancement of the Every Kid Outdoors Act.

“I thank the Outdoors Alliance for Kids for this award, but also for their tireless efforts on behalf of our nation’s children,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “The Every Kid Outdoors Act will encourage our nation’s children to see our beautiful treasures and monuments, learning about our rich national heritage in the process. This will help cultivate their appreciation for protecting our environment and public lands. As the home of the Adirondacks, in my district we know how critical it is to get our children outdoors exploring our parks, and I am pleased to work in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues on this issue.”

tsongasoakaward2017
Members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids present Congresswoman Niki Tsongas with the OAK Tree Award.

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Members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids present Congresswoman Elise Stefanik with the OAK Tree Award.

OAK Leaf Award Recipients (OAK Members):

Kyle Stewart, Alliance of New York State YMCAs: recognized for work to pass Assembly Bill 735 into law to develop a long-term strategy to encourage and promote outdoor environmental education and recreational opportunities in New York State.  

Upon receiving the award, Kyle Stewart, Executive Director of the Alliance of New York State YMCAs said, the Alliance of New York State YMCAs is honored to receive the OAK Leaf Award and appreciates this recognition for our work to achieve legislation that encourages and promotes outdoor education and recreational opportunities. We are proud to work with such an esteemed alliance that strives for the health and well-being of our kids.”

Casey Andrews, Seattle Every Kid in a Park Collaborative: recognized for work to advance the Every Kid in a Park program across Seattle. The “Collaborative,” supported by OAK members Islandwood, Seattle YMCA, NatureBridge, and Washington Trails Association, along with the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Seward Park Audubon, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Steven’s Pass Ski Resort work together to increase engagement in the outdoors for Seattle youth, including through the federal Every Kid in a Park program which provides 4th graders and their families with encouragement and a free access pass to national parks and public lands.

Upon receiving the award, Casey Andrews of the Seattle EKIP Collaborative said, “It is an honor to receive the Leaf Award on behalf of the Seattle Every Kid in a Park Collaborative. The Seattle EKIP Collaborative is working together to decrease barriers and increase engagement for Seattle youth with multiple outdoor engagement opportunities, including the 4th grader federal lands pass. We do this to connect youth with their community parks and federal lands to foster the next generation of environmental stewards. I would like to thank OAK for their continued work to engage youth and families across the country. It is a privilege to be a member of such a committed and accomplished alliance.”

Paul Sanford, The Wilderness Society: recognized for his leadership in advancing OAK’s advocacy efforts and building strong federal partnerships for the Alliance in service of getting more kids outdoors on federal lands and waters.

Upon receiving the award, Paul Sanford, National Director of Recreation Policy at The Wilderness Society, and OAK Vice Chair said, “The Wilderness Society is honored to be recognized by the members of OAK for our contributions to the work of the Alliance. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with so many visionary leaders in building a movement to get more kids outside.”

oakleafawards2017
From left to right: Kyle Stewart, Alliance of New York State YMCAs; Casey Andrews, Seattle Every Kid in a Park Collaborative; and Paul Sanford, The Wilderness Society: OAK Leaf Award Recipients 2017.

The awards were announced during OAK Week, the annual meeting of the alliance. The OAK Awards program was established in 2016.

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the outdoors.

Pisces Foundation: Investments in People and Nature Thriving Together

– Interview with Jason Morris, Pisces Foundation, by Jackie Ostfeld, Outdoors Alliance for Kids 

jasonmorris

The Pisces Foundation is working to advance strategic solutions to natural resource challenges and prepare the next generation by supporting environmental education. Pisces believes if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. Pisces mainstreams powerful new solutions to support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world.

I asked Jason Morris, Environmental Education Senior Program Officer at the Pisces Foundation, to share his thoughts on where the movement to connect kids with the outdoors is heading. The Pisces Foundation is a new supporter of OAK and we’re honored by their commitment to the field. Enjoy the interview here.


Jason, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your own interest in environmental education. Why is this field important to you personally?

For me, like many in the environmental education field, nature has shaped who I am and what I do.

When I was 12 years old, I lived for the summer. I would fish in the canal by my house, care for the animals on my family’s farm, and explore the wonders of the natural world as often as I could. I remember one of my first camping trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. It was right after the first snowfall of the year. My family stumbled upon a huge meadow, where it seemed like every elk in the entire world had gathered. I was mesmerized. I stood there and stared as they grazed and mingled. For a moment, I felt like part of the herd. I was completely struck by an overwhelming feeling—awe. This story, among thousands of other experiences I’ve had in nature throughout my life, stands out to me. I share this story because feeling awe, even for a moment, can truly shake the foundation of what we believe.

As a kid, I yearned to be in nature as often as possible. Growing up, I always hoped to experience the natural world, at home, at work, and at play. I have made it my life’s work to ensure that more people, at all ages, get to experience the benefits of nature—and not just in the summer!

Tell us about the hopes and dreams the Pisces Foundation has for environmental education?

At Pisces Foundation, we believe that when kids gain the environmental know-how they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world, we’ll see smarter decisions, stronger communities, and daily actions that improve their well-being and our planet. Environmental education is a proven way to get kids more engaged in learning and active and healthy outdoors. We see that more and more schools, states, and communities are tapping into the many benefits that come with environmental education and making it a part of every child’s experience. Our hope is that every child receives the benefits of environmental education. Environmental education is not a one-time event. It’s a series of life experiences that allow children to grow into adults who embrace responsible behaviors in order to make smarter decisions about the world. Research has shown that the benefits of environmental education can be immediate and long-lasting.

With so many pressing environmental challenges, like climate change, why is it also important for environmental organizations and the philanthropy community to invest in environmental education and getting kids outdoors?

I’m glad you asked this question, because it’s important to think of environmental education as an immediate investment as well as an investment in our future. Environmental education leads to gains in conservation, education, health and wellness, social justice, and youth development. Many of these benefits improve our communities and our planet today. And, kids who experience environmental education can grow up to be responsible, well-prepared citizens, ready to make the choices and decisions necessary to solve the pressing environmental challenges of tomorrow. We know that the sooner we act, the sooner we see the benefits. Solving environmental challenges and investing in environmental education are not an “either-or” division. They are important “both/and” investments that mutually reinforce one another. Both are integral components to get to the point where people and nature can thrive together.

On behalf of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, I cannot thank you and the Pisces Foundation enough for investing in our mission to advocate for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. As we enter our first year of collaboration with Pisces, do you have any advice for OAK and our alliance member organizations on how we can work together to expand and improve not just access, but equity in access, to the outdoors and outdoor learning opportunities for children and youth?

Research has shown that environmental learning levels the playing field, across gender and ethnicity. We know that outdoor experiences improve children’s self-esteem, leadership, and character. We know that unstructured play outdoors improves mental and physical health. We know that environmental learning sticks with kids more than traditional learning, that it stokes interest in science, and that it sparks the curiosity that makes kids better learners. We know all of this, yet the average American child spends 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.

What we need is to connect children with nature. Not just some children—all children. Every child not only deserves access to nature, every child requires it. In order to deliver this to every child, we can no longer imagine nature only in the iconic treasured landscapes. To give every child the opportunity to form a lasting connection with nature, we must find nature nearby. We have to re-imagine what and where nature is. Through environmental education, we can give all kids the opportunity to experience the world that left me awe-struck as a 12-year-old. Whether it’s in a meadow watching a herd of elk, or in a city park staring up at a big oak tree, or in their own backyard discovering the joy of nearby nature, environmental education delivers.

How did you get outdoors with your family this summer?

My wife, daughter, and I spent an amazing week along the Metolius River in eastern Oregon. Surrounded by millions of acres of wilderness, we wandered along the banks of the river, canoed across a stunning mountain lake, and biked through the sun-drenched massive pine forest. A perfect opportunity to boost our spirit and nourish our passion for wild places.

RELEASE: The Every Kid in a Park Program Turns Three

For Immediate Release

September 6, 2017

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld, 202-548-6584; contact@outdoorsallianceforkids.org

 

The Every Kid in a Park Program Turns Three

4th graders encouraged to get outdoors; legislation introduced to make program permanent

Washington, D.C.–The third year of the Every Kid in a Park program kicks off this month with the launch of the 2017-18 school year. Through public-private partnerships, the program provides fourth graders and their families with free entry to America’s national public lands, waters, and shores. Children, parents and guardians, and educators can visit www.everykidinapark.gov to learn more and download the new pass.

Earlier this summer, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Every Kid Outdoors Act to ensure the program lives on for years to come.

In response, Jackie Ostfeld, Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, issued the following statement:

“The Every Kid in a Park program is inspiring a new generation to get out and explore America’s great outdoors. At a time when children and youth are increasingly sedentary and disconnected from nature, programs like Every Kid provide entry points for our youth to play, get active, and learn about the outdoors. The program is a low-cost and popular public-private partnership that helps boost local economies while improving our children’s health and connections to nature. In the program’s first year, more than two million fourth graders downloaded the Every Kid pass. Over the first two years, nearly $5 million in private funding has been leveraged to support transportation costs for children from low-income schools across America.

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids praises the National Park Service, US Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies for continuing the program for the 2017-18 school year. To ensure the Every Kid in a Park program continues to encourage and support fourth graders to get outdoors beyond the current school year, OAK seeks passage of the bipartisan and bicameral Every Kid Outdoors Act to formally establish the program for all fourth graders, present and future.”

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth and the outdoors.

EKIP Postcards
Every Kid in a Park Alumni explain why they love the program
Photo Credit: National Park Trust

Release: National Park Trust, OAK Receive The North Face 2017 Explore Fund Grant

TNF logoNPT LogoOAK Logo

For Immediate Release

July 31, 2017

Contact:

Eric Raymond, The North Face, 510-748-2714, eric_raymond@vfc.com

Grace Lee; National Park Trust, 301-279-7275, ext 14, grace@parktrust.org

National Park Trust, Outdoors Alliance for Kids Receive The North Face 2017 Explore Fund Grant

Groups expand access to the outdoors for 4th graders, military kids, advance Every Kid In A Park

Washington, D.C.  – National Park Trust (NPT) and Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) are pleased to announce that The North Face has awarded a $20,000 2017 Explore Fund grant to benefit NPT’s national Buddy Bison School Program. The Buddy Bison Program was created in 2009 with the goal of getting kids from under-served communities engaged with our nation’s parks and public lands.

Hundreds of 4th graders from Title I schools , will kick off the third year of the federal Every Kid in a Park program in 3 cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco. They will participate in marquee events at national parks with The North Face, National Park Trust, OAK, and partners and be welcomed into the Buddy Bison Program which provides park experiences throughout the year promoting 1) health and wellness through outdoor recreation; 2) education using parks as outdoor classrooms for STEM, history and social studies; and 3) park stewardship through volunteer and career opportunities.

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids supports the Every Kid in a Park program to ensure all fourth graders and their families are encouraged to visit America’s parks and public lands,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “We’re honored and thankful that The North Face has made such an important investment to ensure more and more children are able to have a park experience, and we look forward to growing our partnership. Private investments in the national Every Kid in a Park program are nearing the $5 million mark in just the first few years and contributions like this one from The North Face demonstrate the value the private sector places on the program.”

In addition to the 4th graders from Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco, the Explore Funds awarded to NPT and OAK also provides support for military kids from Scott Air Force Base located in Saint Clair County, Illinois by connecting them to their nearby national park — the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St Louis, Missouri. This new partnership with the Department of Defense is designed to help students discover local parks in their new communities as military families are relocated from one base to another.

“We are delighted to partner with The North Face and Outdoors Alliance for Kids  to provide national park experiences for hundreds of diverse youth. For many of these students, this is their very first park trip, but after a fun and action-packed day, they are eager to return again and again and create even more memories with their friends and family. These young people are our future outdoor enthusiasts and stewards of these iconic treasures,” stated Grace Lee, Executive Director of National Park Trust.

The North Face selected a total of 43 nonprofits that create opportunities for people to develop a passion for the outdoors and desire to care for local parks and public lands. Selected programs use outdoor exploration as a catalyst for positive personal or societal change, to encourage healthy lifestyles, and promote environmental stewardship.

“A desire and willingness to explore and care for our outdoor playgrounds is part of our brand DNA,” said Ann Krcik, senior director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We are proud to support these outstanding programs that expose participants to benefits of the outdoors. Through The North Face Explore Fund grants, we are building a community of outdoor explorers and inspiring people to love and protect the places where we play.”

As part of its mission to start a global movement of outdoor exploration, The North Face introduced Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) in 2010 and the program has since provided more than $2.75 million in grants to organizations committed to inspiring people to explore the outdoors and care for the environment.

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About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1966. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

About National Park Trust

National Park Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Established in 1983, NPT has completed park preservation projects benefiting 49 national parks and other public lands in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Since 2009, NPT’s Buddy Bison School Program and national Kids to Parks Day have engaged 3,000,000 students across the country with our national parks, public lands and waters. www.parktrust.org

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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations to address the growing divide between children, youth and the outdoors.

https://staticxx.facebook.com/connect/xd_arbiter/r/XBwzv5Yrm_1.js?version=42#channel=f30fcad1f8a52b4&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.parktrust.org

Every Kid Outdoors Twitter Party Roundup

On Friday, July 14th, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids held a Twitter Party to discuss the Every Kid Outdoors Act. The legislation was introduced this week with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. Here’s a roundup of our Twitter Party with OAK members and the Congressional sponsors of the bill.

The Every Kid Outdoors Act sponsors have this to say…

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And just why is it so important to get kids outdoors?

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What is the Every Kid Outdoors Act?

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What are some barriers kids face when it comes to connecting with the outdoors?

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How are OAK members stepping up to support the program?

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How does time outdoors impact the health of children?

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How does outdoor time improve learning?

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And there are economic impacts, too, right?

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How can you help get kids outdoors?

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Bonus tweets!

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RELEASE: Lawmakers introduce bipartisan legislation to get children outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JULY 12, 2017

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

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan legislation to get children outdoors

Washington, DC — Members of congress on both sides of the aisle just came together to help get our kids outdoors. The Every Kid Outdoors Act (S. 1522; H.R. 3186), introduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA-03), Scott Tipton (R-CO-03), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) would encourage fourth graders and their families to visit America’s natural, cultural, and historical treasures. The bill authorizes the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers, to administer a pass program to provide free entry for fourth graders and their families to visit our national public lands, waters, and shores.

In response to the introduction of the Every Kid Outdoors Act, OAK members issued the following statements:

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids applauds the introduction of new bipartisan legislation to expand opportunities for children to get outdoors. Today’s youth spend more time indoors than any generation in history, with dire consequences for their health and well-being. The Every Kid Outdoors Act is a low-cost, common sense solution to encourage children to get active and learn about the public lands, waters and shores that make America so special. This legislation will help turn the tide on a generation left inside and OAK looks forward to working across the aisle to see this bill signed into law.” – Jackie Ostfeld, Co-Founder and Chair, Outdoors Alliance for Kids

“Every child deserves the opportunity to get outdoors, regardless of where they live. We applaud the bipartisan Every Kid Outdoors Act which would encourage more children and families to explore and enjoy America’s public lands. The Sierra Club looks forward to the passage of this critical legislation and will help make this vision a reality as part of our ongoing work to ensure everyone has access to nature.” – Loren Blackford, President, Sierra Club

“The Every Kid Outdoors Act is a powerful way to make it easier for youth to explore our parks and public lands. We believe that exposure to outdoor spaces helps encourage a lifelong sense of adventure and respect for the environment for youth and their families, something we value deeply at The North Face. Together with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the Every Kid in a Park program, we can help every child experience our parks and public lands.” – Arne Arens, President, The North Face

“The Wilderness Society applauds the introduction of the Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) Act, which authorizes the Every Kid in a Park program, providing free entry for fourth graders and their families to visit our parks, monuments and other public lands. We are proud to support the important work of the Every Kid in a Park program that is a part of the national effort to break down barriers to access and connect more young Americans with wild places. Our public lands belong to all of us and the EKO Act will help kids have a chance to visit and discover America’s unique outdoor wonders.” – Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society

“We enthusiastically support the Every Kid in a Park program to connect all 4th graders to our public lands. Connecting children to nature is critically important to their health and well-being, and to the future of our shared outdoor heritage. We commend all the public private partnerships that have come together to provide transportation support, one of the factors limiting too many children’s opportunities to benefit from nature in their everyday lives.” – Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director, Children & Nature Network

“The National Recreation and Park Association applauds the Every Kid in a Park program to connect every fourth grader to a park. Our members stand ready to welcome young students in communities across the country to explore the many close-to-home public parks and recreation opportunities, and encourage all children regardless of age, race or background to discover all of our nation’s parks!” Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO, National Recreation and Park Association

“Alliance for Childhood is enthusiastic about the opportunities the Every Kid Outdoors Act will provide for fourth graders and their families. Together with our partners at Outdoors Alliance for Kids, we look forward to working with federal agencies to ensure all children’s healthy development, especially through outdoor play in our natural world.” – Linda Rhoads, Executive Director, Alliance for Childhood

“On behalf of our Corps and the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), we congratulate Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA-03), Scott Tipton (R-CO-03), and Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) for the introduction of the bi-partisan Every Kid Outdoors Act, and thank them for their dedication to ensuring quality outdoor opportunities for children and youth. We look forward to helping develop and lead activities that engage and educate kids outdoors and continue stewardship of public lands and waters to ensure safe and accessible spaces for recreation. Increased opportunity through this legislation for kids and youth to get outside, recreate, and experience all the outdoors has to offer will boost our $887 billion recreation economy and develop the next generation of outdoor leaders and entrepreneurs.” Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President of The Corps Network and Chair of the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)

“​YMCA of the USA fully endorses the Every Kid Outdoors legislation and the vision and mission it inspires. To show our commitment to the legislation, the Y will continue to encourage local YMCAs across the country to provide healthy outdoor experiences at local, state and national parks to the 970,000 children and youth that participate in summer camping programs. Additionally, YMCA will continue to work in 50 cities, thanks to continued support from American Express to support Every Kid in a Park through existing activities and partnerships on public lands. Through these 50 cities partnerships in 2015 and 2016, 650,000 youth and 775,000 adults volunteered on public lands—with 70% of the volunteer activities in National Parks. Ys in 10 cities will continue their partnership with National Park Service sites to give thousands of children their first camp and National Park experience and to engage teens in their first employment opportunity in a camp program—a total of 15,750 children and youth were served in 2015 and 2016.” – Katie Adamson, Senior Director Health Partnerships and Policy, YMCA of the USA

“National Park Trust is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of park stewards through its youth education programs – Kids to Parks Day and the Buddy Bison School Program. The Every Kid in a Park initiative has been a critical partner in this effort and NPT fully supports the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which if enacted, will ensure that the next generation of children will have inspirational outdoor experiences through direct engagement with our nation’s parks and historic treasures.” – Grace Lee, Executive Director, National Park Trust

“Outdoor activities are essential and popular elements of the Girl Scout experience and provide opportunities for girls to discover, connect, and take action out-of-doors in ways that build courage, confidence, and character. The inclusive, girl-led, all female environment of a Girl Scout troop creates a safe space in which girls develop a range of skills, take leadership roles, and explore their potential. According to research, 9 out of 10 girls who participated in a monthly outdoor activity found that it directly provided them with the opportunity to try new things, improve skills, take risks and help other girls. These experiences increase girls’ understanding and curiosity about the natural world, build outdoor skills, and adventure opportunities that drive girls’ interest, competence and confidence to become environmental stewards.” – Sylvia Acevedo, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

“The Trust for Public Land applauds the introduction of the Every Kid Outdoors Act to connect 4th graders with public lands. Connecting our children and their families to the outdoors – as this bill will do – is important to a healthy future. The Trust for Public Land has established a vision 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 program as it encourages other to adopt the 10-minute walk standard for providing nearby access to parks and open space.” – Will Rogers, President & CEO, Trust for Public Land

Outdoor Afro enthusiastically supports the Every Kid in a Park program. Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires African American connections to nature. We do this with our team of 65 trained outdoor recreation and conservation leaders, representing 30 states with over 24,000 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.” – Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO, Outdoor Afro

“As a father, climber and CEO of the American Alpine Club, I have spent most of my professional life unveiling the wonders of our country’s mountains to kids and adults. With the passage of Every Kid Outdoors Act, all fourth graders and their families will have the chance to experience the spirit of adventure and exploration on our federal lands and waters, without cost. Any climber will tell you that achievement depends upon your vision and your dreams. We’re optimistic about what fourth graders will achieve when they get to experience the magic of our public lands.” – Phil Powers, Executive Director, American Alpine Club

“Now more than ever we must join forces to give future generations the same opportunities we enjoyed to experience the great outdoors. EKO Act is a critical step in creating appreciation for, and the emotional connection to the great outdoors.” – Bruce Ward, President, Choose Outdoors; Advisor, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Council

“Seed Your Future wholeheartedly supports the Every Kid Outdoors Act, and all programs that encourage kids and families to learn about, enjoy and play together in the natural world. For the next generation to appreciate, preserve and protect our parks – and consider careers in the industry — they need frequent, affordable opportunities to discover the joys of nature. We look forward to the swift passage of EKO Act and continuing the opportunities to connect young people with a world that fosters their creativity, provides physical and mental health benefits, and helps them understand the world that provides life, food and wonder.” – Susan E. Yoder, Executive Director, Seed Your Future

“Every child, regardless of their zip code or the amount of money in their bank account, deserves to have regular, easy access to the outdoors, to play, learn, explore and grow. Every Kid in a Park opens the doors for all 4th graders to explore our public lands and waters, experiencing the rich cultural and biological diversity of our beautiful country. The California Outdoor Engagement Coalition applauds the bipartisan support of the Every Kid Outdoors Act.” – Jenny Mulholland-Beahrs, Director, California Outdoor Engagement Coalition

“This legislation is long overdue, and if passed, will tell the American public that Congress is willing to work together for our nation’s children.” – Kyle Macdonald, Executive Director, Outdoors Empowered Network

“The impact of outdoor activity on the long-term success for youth has been consistently demonstrated. SOS Outreach is proud to be a part of the Every Kid in a Park program and supports the passage of Every Kid Outdoors Act. We look forward to the expansion of opportunities for youth to benefit from experience with their public lands.” – Seth Ehrlich, Executive Director, SOS Outreach

“The North American Association for Environmental Education joins colleagues and partners in applauding the introduction of the bipartisan Every Kid Outdoors Act. Our nation’s parks and public lands provide unparalleled outdoor environmental education experiences for tens of thousands of children and their families each year. These authentic learning opportunities are essential to inspiring today’s youth to become lifelong stewards of natural resources and providing them with knowledge and skills for success in the 21st century workforce.” – Judy Braus, Executive Director, North American Association for Environmental Education

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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 nearly 100 businesses and organizations, representing more than 60 million individuals to address the growing divide between children, youth, and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

 

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