Last week, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) came together for our annual gathering in Washington, D.C. to ensure kids across America can experience our national parks and public lands. As part of the week’s events, members of OAK joined the National Park Trust and 40 fourth graders from Wheatley Education Campus DC Public School for a special educational field trip to Anacostia Park. We were joined by partners from the National Park Service, the DC Department of Energy & Environment and the Anacostia Watershed Society.
The outing was in support of the Every Kid in a Park initiative. Every Kid in a Park, launched by President Obama, provides all fourth graders and their families free access to all federal lands, waters and shores for the entire school year.
The fourth graders participated in three educational activity stations. A river boat tour led by the Anacostia Watershed Society was a favorite, as students had the opportunity to get out on the water and learn about the history of the Anacostia River, and enjoyed seeing a blue heron, turtles, and other wildlife.
A river walk tour featured a history and ecology lesson of the park and the river. The students also learned about local wildlife during a guided tour of the Anacostia Resources Education Center and Aquarium.
This event was one of several that OAK members have held in order to help President Obama reach his goal to connect all fourth graders with the outdoors. Earlier in the week, several OAK members received Leaf Awards for their support for this important initiative.
Thanks to National Park Trust, Anacostia Watershed Society, National Park Service, and Department of Energy & the Environment for a fun and memorable outing for both the students and OAK members who participated!
Outdoors Alliance for Kids Announces Inaugural OAK Leaf Awards
REI, The North Face, National Park Trust, Children & Nature Network and National League of Cities honored for collaborative approach to getting kids outdoors
Washington, DC – Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) announced five recipients of the inaugural OAK Leaf Award which recognizes alliance members for their collaborative approach to support OAK’s policy or programmatic goals. REI, The North Face, National Park Trust, Children & Nature Network and the National League of Cities to receive the award during an OAK welcome reception for the annual gathering of the alliance, held at The Wilderness Society’s Ansel Adams Gallery.
Statements of OAK’s Lead Award Recipients
“At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived. This is an especially important thought when we consider the daily lives of our younger generations. Unlike years past, it seems we need to make special efforts to assure kids from all backgrounds have chances to explore, play and learn outside,” said Marc Berejka, REI’s director of community and government affairs. “We’ve been an OAK supporter from its beginning, because OAK provides pivotal leadership at the national level. We appreciate the recognition, and also look forward to continuing our investment in high-impact programs like this one.”
“We are proud to partner with OAK and many wonderful nonprofits like the National Park Trust to support President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative through our Explore Fund grants,” said The North Face senior director of Outdoor Exploration Ann Krcik. “By working together to bring outdoor experiences to youth, we hope to create the next generation of environmental stewards. Thank you OAK for this incredible honor.”
“National Park Trust is very honored to be recognized with an inaugural OAK Leaf Award. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is a tremendous resource and network that has allowed us to significantly expand our mission of preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Working together with the members of this alliance, we are able each year to engage tens of thousands of students from Title 1 schools across the country with our iconic parks and public lands, providing transformational park experiences. OAK is an excellent example of the power of partnerships,” stated executive director of the National Park Trust, Grace Lee.
“The OAK Leaf award recognizes the dedication of our seven Cities Connecting Children to Nature pilot cities in their work to enrich young lives, strengthen stewardship of our natural world and achieve equity in American cities,” said National League of Cities CEO and executive director Clarence E. Anthony. “NLC is proud to receive this award on their behalf and continue our significant work together.” The CCCN cities have been working diligently for the past year to plan equitable and abundant access to nature for their communities. “We look forward to seeing the impact of the cities’ work on children, families and communities, and we are honored to partner with OAK in advancing the field of children and nature,” said Children & Nature Network executive director Sarah Milligan-Toffler.
“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids wouldn’t be what it is today without the passion of our members, new and old, large and small,” said OAK co-founder and chair, Jackie Ostfeld. “These awards couldn’t be more well-deserved. I look forward to continuing to work with this year’s OAK Leaf Award recipients to make major strides in the movement to get kids outdoors.”
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
Fourth Graders, Outdoors Alliance for Kids connect kids with nature
Every Kid in a Park Youth Event in Anacostia Park
[Washington, D.C.] – Partners of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) are coming together to ensure kids across America can experience our national parks and public lands. In celebration of the Every Kid in a Park initiative, members of OAK will join the National Park Trust (NPT) and 40 fourth graders from Wheatley Education Campus (DC Public School) to visit Anacostia Park for an educational field trip with partners at National Park Service and the District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE).
The Every Kid in a Park initiative, launched under President Obama’s Administration, allows all fourth graders and their families free access to all federal lands for an entire year. This Every Kid in a Park event will feature a welcome program with speakers from OAK, National Park Trust, the National Park Service, and Anacostia Watershed Society. Following the welcome program, students will break into groups to participate in educational activity stations.
What:Every Kid in a Park Youth Event with 40 Fourth Graders
Who:Outdoors Alliance for Kids; National Park Trust; National Park Service;
Anacostia Watershed Society; Department of Energy & Environment; 40 fourth grade students from Wheatley Education campus.
When:Wednesday, November 16, 9:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Aquatic Resources Education Center, Anacostia Park, 1900 Anacostia Fwy, Washington, DC 20019
VISUALS: Group photo with 40 fourth grade students and Buddy Bison (mascot). Youth will participate in activity stations including an Anacostia river boat tour, a tour of the Anacostia Resources Education Center and Aquarium, and a river walk to learn about the history and ecology of the park and river.
connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors