Tag Archives: OAK Week

Fourth Graders Float into OAK Week 2017

Parent and two kids canoeing along the Potomac River
Photo Credit: National Park Trust

All photo credits go to the National Park Trust.

Classrooms on water is a new way of learning for students across the nation. This new type of classroom allows students to learn about science, history, geography, and culture while floating along a river. This past week, Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile program traveled to the nation’s capital giving students in Washington D.C. the chance to experience a unique outdoor field trip on the Potomac River.

The National Park Service advocates for “Parks as Classrooms,” and it’s no different when talking about rivers and bodies of water. Canoemobile brings the classroom to the outdoors, engaging youth in environmental stewardship and recreational opportunities. Canoemobile is a collaboration of federal, state, and local partners.

OAK members joined Wilderness Inquiry and National Park Trust for a special Canoemobile event in Washington, D.C. with partners The North Face, National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service to celebrate the Every Kid in a Park program and kick off OAK’s annual gathering.

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A highlight in the event was the distribution of Every Kid in a Park passes. This interagency program grants fourth graders nationwide free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year.  The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to inspire fourth graders everywhere to visit our federal lands and waters. The program works to ensure “every child” in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old. Having just been renewed for its third year this past September, the passes given to these students will be valid until August 31, 2018.

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Seventy fourth graders from D.C. public schools were able to take 24-foot Voyageur canoes along the Potomac river and learn about the watershed. For many of these students, although the Potomac river is just a few miles away, they have never actually been on the river to participate recreationally. With the proper instruction, the fourth graders were able to safely enjoy the Potomac River and learn about its environmental importance.

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Partnering organizations led activity stations for the students. The North Face led students through a relay race activity which taught students how to properly pack a backpack and build a tent for a camping trip. With a little competition and movement, students were able to stay engaged and learn new skills about recreating in the outdoors.

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As a wrap up to the morning of events, the fourth graders were asked to fill out postcards from OAK explaining why they love their Every Kid in a Park pass. This initiative is part of a larger national campaign OAK is organizing for any fourth grader in the nation. To download and mail in postcard from home, visit the OAK website.

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Even WTOP, a local FM radio station, stopped by to cover the event! Read their story.

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This youth event kicked off this year’s official OAK Week. Later in the afternoon, OAK formally welcomed all member organizations with a Welcome Reception & Member Awards. In the next two days, OAK continued with its Annual Member Meeting, Networking Happy Hour, Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, and finalized the week with a Congressional Awards Reception.

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Learn more about the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and ways to joining this national strategic partnership which advocates for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors.

Fourth Graders Get on the River in Anacostia Park

Guest Blog by Brenna Muller, OAK Program Manager

November 22, 2016

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.

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Photo Credit: National Park Trust

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.

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Photo Credit: National Park Trust

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.

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Photo Credit: National Park Trust

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.  

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Photo Credit: National Park Trust

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

For Immediate Release

November 15, 2016

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

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 Leaf 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.”

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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 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

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First ever OAK Leaf Award Recipients. OAK Week 2016. Photo Credit: National Park Trust

Fourth Graders, Outdoors Alliance for Kids connect kids with nature

**MEDIA ADVISORY**

November 16, 2016

Contact: Grace Lee, 301-706-3407, grace@parktrust.org ; Brenna Muller, 202-630-1864, brenna.muller@sierraclub.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.

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