Tag Archives: Secretary Jewell

RELEASE: Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour

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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.

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

 

RELEASE: OAK Praises Secretary Jewell’s initiative to get youth outdoors in 50 cities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2015

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

OAK Praises Secretary Jewell’s initiative to get youth outdoors in 50 cities

Washington, DC –Today, in New York City Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a commitment from American Express that will support a new initiative with YMCA of the USA to connect young people with the outdoors in fifty cities across America. The effort is part of the Secretary’s initiative to connect millions of children and youth with opportunities to play, learn, serve and work in the outdoors.

In response to Secretary Jewell’s announcement, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statement:

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is honored to support this new effort to increase volunteerism among our youth on America’s public lands. Opportunities to engage young people in outdoor service opportunities, like those proposed today, help the next generation of leaders assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors.

The Y is an excellent choice for helping Secretary Jewell to realize her vision to increase engagement on public lands in and around cities across America. The YMCA of the USA is one of OAK’s founding steering committee members, and has been a steadfast champion for improving the health and wellness of children across this nation through opportunities to get outdoors. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids looks forward to working with the administration and YMCA of the USA to realize this bold vision for America’s children and youth.”

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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 seventy businesses and organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, 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

jewellwithkidsInterior Secretary Sally Jewell with Y kids at OAK’s Youth Event on the National Mall, Washington, DC

Every Child Healthy Outdoors (ECHO) Across America, Secretary Jewell Announces Award for Wildlife Refuge, and Other News

Outdoor Alliance for Kids

OAK August 2014 Newsletter

SAVE THE DATE: Every Child Healthy Outdoors (ECHO) Across America Toolkit Webinar 

We are so pleased to announce the launching of OAK’s Every Child Healthy Outdoors (ECHO) Across America Toolkit.

OAK Kids OutsideOAK’s ECHO Across America Toolkit  provides a series of resources and templates to convene a meeting of leaders of organizations in your state or city, conduct an assessment of your state or city’s existing children, youth and families and the outdoors policies and initiatives, set goals for policies that your governor or mayor can adopt, and launch a campaign to get your governor or mayor working on this policy agenda. The goal of OAK’s ECHO Across America initiative is to bring state and local leaders together to launch a comprehensive multi-sector plan to get more kids and families outdoors.

Please join us for a webinar on Monday, October 6th from 3:00pm – 4:30pm ET, where members of OAK will present the toolkit and share local success stories. The webinar will also discuss ways in which you and/or your organization can lead or get involved with ECHO in your city/state. 

Please save the date to join us for this webinar and invite colleagues, affiliates or members of your network who may also be interested in learning about ECHO. More information will be included in OAK’s September Newsletter, stay tuned!


CDC’s 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity is now available

OAK Go Week 2The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released the 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity.

According to the report, only 27.1% of youth in the United States are meeting the national physical aerobic activity guidelines, which call for 60 minutes of moderate- or vigorous- intensity physical activity daily. In some states, like Texas, less than one-fifth of young people are meeting these guidelines.

Unfortunately, these numbers are less surprising when coupled with the fact that most Americans simply do not live within walking distance of a park. According to the state by state report, only 39.2% of the U.S. population lives within a half mile of a park. (If you want to see how your city fares on park access, look no further than the Trust for Public Land’s Park Score, which ranks cities on park acreage, access, investments and other metrics.) The proximity and safety of parks are increasingly being recognized as a contributing factor to the overall health of a community, yet many of our children don’t have basic neighborhood access.

Help us turn these statistics around and attend OAK’s webinar to learn how you and your organization can help OAK get Every Child Healthy Outdoors (ECHO) Across America. Read more in the latest blog by OAK’s Chair, Jackie Ostfeld.

CDC Guidelines Youth and Children Physical Activity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014.

OAK receives letter of support from the National League of Cities 

OAK recently received a nice note from Mayor Chris Coleman of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City, Utah, the President and President-Elect of the National League of Cities, in response to our recent letter introducing ECHO Across America.  

“On behalf of the National League of Cities (NLC), we thank you for reaching out on the critical issue of connecting children to nature and the great outdoors. We applaud the leadership and work of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) and appreciate the deep commitment that its members have made to lift up and advance this important agenda.”

OAK Mayor ColemanThank you to all OAK members who signed on to support ECHO. If your organization is interested in getting more involved with OAK’s work on ECHO, please consider joining OAK and the State and Local Action Team list-serve.  And remember to save the date for our October 6th webinar on ECHO Across America.


Outdoor Recreation is fun, but is also providing jobs and income

The Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) just released a new report, Outdoor Recreation: Jobs and Income that highlights the economic value of preserving America’s great outdoors. America’s public parks are important for connecting youth, children and families with the great outdoors, but it’s also a multi-billion dollar industry. According to the report, in 2012, “Outdoor recreationists made more than 938 million visits to Federal lands and waterways, spending $51 billion and supporting 880,000 jobs.” 


Secretary Jewell awards Southern California Refuge $1M to Engage Urban Communities

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex will receive $1 million in funding to engage youth and urban communities in outdoor recreation and conservation. The complex’s proposal to create the “SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project” is the first to win funding through a national competition launched earlier this year by US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. According to Ashe, “It will create new and tangible opportunities for urban residents, particularly youth, to experience the outdoors and everything the natural world has to offer in a real, hands-on way”  

Congratulations to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex!


ICYMI OAK Members Have Been Blogging

OAK Hipcamp photoCamping Made Easy, OAK Member Guest Blog by Eric Bach and Irene Lam from Hipcamp

Time to Create an ECHO Across America: Every Child Healthy Outdoors, OAK Member Guest Blog by Jackie Ostfeld of the Sierra Club

Are you missing OAK’s blogs when they are posted? Be sure to subscribe to follow OAK’s blog today!

 


OAK Upcoming Events Calendar

September 16-18, 2014 Wilderness Week
September 27, 2014 ATC’s Family Hiking Day
September 27, 2014 National Public Lands Day
October 4, 2014 IMBA’s National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

Help Us Grow OAK

Do you know another business or organization that share’s OAK’s mission to expand the number and quality of opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors? Encourage them to become a member and refer them to our Join OAK page!

 

OAK Celebrates Great Outdoors America Week and other News

OAK july e-newsletter


OAK July Newsletter

OAK Celebrates Great Outdoors America Week

June 23 -26, 2014 marked the annual Great Outdoors America Week, where 100s of advocates descended upon Washington, DC, to remind our nation’s leaders of the importance of America’s great outdoors. OAK celebrated GO Week by hosting our second annual  Youth and America’s Great Outdoors Event. Dozens of OAK members joined over 400 youth for a festival along the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland.

Gina Quote 2photo collage 2 Big thanks to Minneapolis-based adventure travel organization and OAK member, Wilderness Inquiry for running the show. Thanks to them and dozens of OAK members, there was no shortage of activities to keep the 400+ youth active and engaged. Stations included canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, tent pitching, falconry, along with an array of educational demonstrations and games all centered around nature and the outdoors.

OAK Go Week AwardeesDuring OAK’s Youth event, leaders from across the country weighed in on the importance of getting kids outdoors. Speakers included: Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy; National League of Cities President and Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota Chris Coleman; Chief of Staff for EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Gwen Keyes Fleming; Interior Secretary Jewell’s Senior Advisor David Jayo; Acting Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Peter Rogoff; Executive Director of the Sierra Club Foundation Peter Martin; Executive Director of Wilderness Inquiry Greg Lais; and The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams.

A huge thanks to all OAK members and friends who pitched in, including American Camp AssociationAmerican ForestsAmerican Heart AssociationAmerican Hiking SocietyAnacostia Watershed SocietyAppalachian Trail Conservancy,Children & Nature NetworkCity of Saint Paul Office of the MayorCity Parks AllianceThe Corps NetworkEarth Conservation CorpsInternational Mountain Biking AssociationIzaak Walton League of AmericaNational League of Cities,National Park Service,  National Park TrustNational Parks Conservation AssociationNational Recreation and Park AssociationNOLS Expedition DenaliNorth American Association for Environmental EducationThe Outdoor FoundationPatuxent Research RefugePrince George’s County Department of Environmental ResourcesPublic Lands Service CoalitionRails-to-Trails Conservancy,  REIRiver Management SocietySierra ClubSierra Club FoundationUrban Waters Federal PartnershipUS Army Corps of EngineersUS Bureau of Land ManagementUS Environmental Protection AgencyUS Fish and Wildlife ServiceUS Department of the InteriorUS Department of TransportationWilderness InquiryThe Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA.

Mayor Coleman Quote

OAK Go Week CanoeingGreat Outdoors America Week wrapped up on June 25 at a Congressional reception at the historic Mott House, where The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club and other conservation groups, including several OAK partner members, honored three members of Congress for their conservation achievements: Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ), George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Moran (D-VA).

It was the perfect way to cap off a successful week of activities including: OAK’s Youth and America’s Great Outdoors Event; the launch of the 50 for 50 Campaign: a series of 50 conservation corps projects in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act; Capitol Hill briefing on building diverse nature-smart leaders led by Children & Nature Network; and a screening of NOLS and Expedition Denali’s film about the first African American team to climb Alaska’s Denali. 

Read more about GO Week and OAK’s Youth event on OAK’s BlogThe Corp Network, the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.


OAK supports Urban Waters Federal Partnership

OAK Urban Waters at EventThe Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a partnership of 14 federal agencies being led by EPA, DOI and USFS. The Partnership is working to engage urban populations in restoring their rivers and surrounding neighborhoods, improving access for water recreation, and helping create a network of parks and greenspaces connecting downtown cores with suburban and rural areas, creating opportunities for improving health and wellness. The Partnership provides a powerful means of reaching into our cities and metropolitan areas to engage all residents—especially youth—in conservation and stewardship of nature where they live, work, and play. 

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership participated in OAK’s Youth and America’s Great Outdoors Event. This event was just the start of ongoing collaboration between OAK and the partnership. 


OAK Weighs in on Capitol Hill

Thanks to all the OAK members who signed onto support OAK’s recent policy positions. In the last few months, we’ve urged Congress to support appropriations for programs that get kids outdoors and to support the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, the No Child Left Inside Act, the Public Lands Service Corps Act and active transportation.

Sierra Club issued an action alert on the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act to its membersFeel free to use this action alert or create your own to weigh in with your members of Congress!


ICYMI OAK Members Have Been Blogging

OAK NRPA Kid CampingKick Nature-Deficit Disorder to the Curb: Celebrating Great Outdoors Month, OAK member guest blog by Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club

5 Tips for Camping with Kids, OAK member guest blog by Jessica Culverhouse, National Recreation and Park Association

Thriving in the Great Outdoors, Guest blog co-authored by Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association and Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club

Organizations Come Together to Celebrate Kids and Youth in the Great Outdoors, OAK Member Guest Blog by Tia Watkins, Sierra Club

Are you missing OAK’s blogs when they are posted? Be sure to subscribe to follow OAK’s blog today!


Help Us Grow OAK

Do you know another business or organization that share’s OAK’s mission to expand the number and quality of opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors? Encourage them to become a member and refer them to our Join OAK page!

Organizations Come Together to Celebrate Kids and Youth in the Great Outdoors

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) Hosts an Event as part of Great Outdoors America Week

OAK Member Guest Blog by Tia Watkins, Sierra Club

During my second full week as a Sierra Club intern I was lucky enough to participate in Great Outdoors America Week , a week dedicated to raising awareness around outdoor issues by advocating for public lands and connecting people with nature to members of Congress and the Administration. I had a great time educating leaders on Capitol Hill, especially spreading the word about the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act !  I met wonderful volunteers from Sierra Club chapters across the country and became acquainted with some of our nation’s leaders in outdoor recreation, education and health. Though I loved every action-packed second of Great Outdoors America Week, my favorite event hands down was the Outdoors Alliance for Kids’ Youth and America’s Great Outdoors event.

OAK youth event, on June 25th, was held along the Anacostia River at Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Maryland. The scenic Bladensburg Waterfront Park, maintained by the Prince George’s County Department of Park and recreation, provided an ideal backdrop for the days’ activities.

Special Thanks to Prince George's County Parks and Recreation for use of this phenomenal urban park space.
Special Thanks to Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation for use of this phenomenal urban park space.

Spearheaded by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) and Minneapolis-based adventure travel organization and OAK partner member, Wilderness Inquiry  the event served to spread a message of ensuring outdoor opportunities for children, youth, and families across America. Starting at nine in the morning with the arrival of the first bus of children from a local YMCA, Wilderness inquiry and several other OAK partner organizations began running a variety of activity stations.

There was no shortage of activities to keep the 400 plus guests of all ages thoroughly entertained throughout the morning. Stations included canoeing along the river, rock climbing, mountain biking, tent pitching along with an array of educational demonstrations and games all centered around nature and the outdoors.

A diverse group of organizations including OAK members and friends took part in the event not only by running activity stations but by also bringing kids and coming out in support. Participating organizations included the American Camp Association, American Forests, American Heart Association, American Hiking Society, Anacostia Watershed Society, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, Children & Nature Network, City of Saint Paul Office of the Mayor, City Parks Alliance, The Corps Network, Earth Conservation Corps, International Mountain Biking Association, Izaak Walton League of America, National League of Cities, National Park ServiceNational Park Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Recreation and Park Association, NOLS Expedition Denali, North American Association for Environmental Education, The North Face, The Outdoor Foundation, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources,Public Lands Service Coalition, Rails-to-Trails ConservancyREI, River Management Society, Sierra Club, Sierra Club Foundation, Urban Waters Partnership,US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior, US Department of TransportationWilderness Inquiry, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA. The participation of every single one of these groups was vital to the success of the OAK Youth and America’s Great Outdoors event.

Wilderness Inquiry outfitted over 400 people with PFDs and paddles to get ready to explore the river in 24' Voyageur canoes
Wilderness Inquiry outfitted over 400 people with PFDs and paddles to get ready to explore the river in 24′ Voyageur canoes
Members of NOLS Expedition Denali teach young campers how to pitch a tent
Members of NOLS Expedition Denali teach young campers how to pitch a tent
A group of kids 'walks' the AT with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in a fun and interactive game
A group of kids ‘walks’ the AT with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in a fun and interactive game
Young environmentalists learn about local wilderness with maps and wildlife trading cards provided by the National Parks Conservation Association
Young environmentalists learn about local wilderness with maps and wildlife trading cards provided by the National Parks Conservation Association
A group of young learners get up-close and personal with some macro invertebrate samples and create their own macros with members of Creek Freaks, an outdoor education program offered by the Izaak Walton League of America
A group of young learners get up-close and personal with some macro invertebrate samples and create their own macros with members of Creek Freaks, an outdoor education program offered by the Izaak Walton League of America
High School students from Sierra Club’s Baltimore ICO group play a game while sharing their knowledge of aquatic animals with an educator from the Bureau of Land Management. Looks like a blast!
High School students from Sierra Club’s Baltimore ICO group play a game while sharing their knowledge of aquatic animals with an educator from the Bureau of Land Management. Looks like a blast!
REI brought along a 26 foot mobile rock climbing wall for youth to show off their skills
REI brought along a 26 foot mobile rock climbing wall for youth to show off their skills
Head of Prince George’s County's Community Outreach Promoting Empowerment Section, Deborah Weller leads an interactive demonstration on how community activities affect the watershed and what residents can do to help our local waterways.
Head of Prince George’s County’s Community Outreach Promoting Empowerment Section, Deborah Weller leads an interactive demonstration on how community activities affect the watershed and what residents can do to help our local waterways.
Two very special guests attended the OAK youth event, Mr. Hoots and Skye! A Eurasian eagle-owl and a red-tailed hawk brought by Earth Conservation Corps, a local group dedicated to protecting the Anacostia and the habitat it provides for beautiful animals like these.
Two very special guests attended the OAK youth event, Mr. Hoots and Skye! A Eurasian eagle-owl and a red-tailed hawk brought by Earth Conservation Corps, a local group dedicated to protecting the Anacostia and the habitat it provides for beautiful animals like these.
National Park Trust's Buddy Bison welcomes canoers back to shore. Photo courtesy of National Park Trust.
National Park Trust’s Buddy Bison welcomes canoers back to shore. Photo courtesy of National Park Trust.

Believe it or not the 400 kids and youth in attendance were not the only ones enjoying Wednesday’s festivities. Invited leaders in outdoor recreation and education shared in the fun as well. Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, US Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy and Director of Sierra Club’s “Our Wild America” campaign Dan Chu all took a ride down the river in Voyageur canoes.

Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy and Sierra Club’s Dan Chu get set to embark with some friends from Sierra Club’s Baltimore ICO group
Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy and Sierra Club’s Dan Chu get set to embark with some friends from Sierra Club’s Baltimore ICO group
Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman mans the bow of his Voyageur canoe with his excited team from Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Summer Programs
Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman mans the bow of his Voyageur canoe with his excited team from Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Summer Programs

Around eleven o’clock while activities were in full swing, adults gathered for an awards ceremony while the children continued to get their nature on. Great Outdoors America Week Champion Awards were presented to US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)Jo-Ellen Darcy, and National League of Cities President and Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota Chris Coleman for their tireless work in providing children, youth and families with the opportunities to connect with nature and the outdoors.

Administrator McCarthy’s Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming was happy to accept the award on her behalf. Likewise, Secretary Jewell’s Senior Advisor David Jayo spoke about the importance of outdoor experiences while accepting the award on Secretary Jewell’s behalf. Additional speakers for the ceremony included US Department of Transportation Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff, Executive Director of the Sierra Club Foundation Peter Martin, Executive Director of Wilderness Inquiry Greg Lais and The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams.

Jamie Williams of The Wilderness Society presents Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy with an award commemorating her work. Darcy oversees the Army Corps of Engineers, the nation's largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation.

Jamie Williams of The Wilderness Society presents Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy with an award commemorating her work. Darcy oversees the Army Corps of Engineers, the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation.

"[The America’s Great Outdoors initiative] is beneficial for so many reasons; health, community, ecosystem restoration and most importantly the happiness and well-being of our children" – Assistant. Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy

“[The America’s Great Outdoors initiative] is beneficial for so many reasons; health, community, ecosystem restoration and most importantly the happiness and well-being of our children” – Assistant. Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy

Greg Lais of Wilderness Inquiry presents an award to Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who is also President of the National League of Cities. A recent partnership between the Department of the Interior, National League of Cities and the YMCA of the USA aims to connect urban youth to the outdoors.
Greg Lais of Wilderness Inquiry presents an award to Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who is also President of the National League of Cities. A recent partnership between the Department of the Interior, National League of Cities and the YMCA of the USA aims to connect urban youth to the outdoors.
"Outdoor experiences are important opportunities for youth to develop social and emotional skills, build relationships and develop an appreciation and respect for nature" – Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman
“Outdoor experiences are important opportunities for youth to develop social and emotional skills, build relationships and develop an appreciation and respect for nature” – Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman
“Walking and bicycling are great ways to get to work, get in shape, or just have fun” – US Department of Transportation  Acting Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff
“Walking and bicycling are great ways to get to work, get in shape, or just have fun” – US Department of Transportation
Acting Under Secretary for Policy Peter Rogoff
"It’s fitting that during this 50th anniversary year of the Wilderness Act we’re celebrating nature, both wild and near." –     Sierra Club Foundation Executive Director Peter Martin
“It’s fitting that during this 50th anniversary year of the Wilderness Act we’re celebrating nature, both wild and near.” – Sierra Club Foundation Executive Director Peter Martin
"The Interior Department is working to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors in order to help our nation’s public lands and to develop the next generation of outdoor stewards."– Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Interior David Jayo
“The Interior Department is working to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors in order to help our nation’s public lands and to develop the next generation of outdoor stewards.”– Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Interior David Jayo
“The Environmental Protection Agency looks forward to continuing our work to improve air quality and protect our nation’s waterways, so all Americans have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors." – Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming
“The Environmental Protection Agency looks forward to continuing our work to improve air quality and protect our nation’s waterways, so all Americans have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.” – Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming
Wednesday's event was in support of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of federal organizations aimed at connecting urban communities with their waterways. Thanks to the Urban Waters team for their work!
Wednesday’s event was in support of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership of federal organizations aimed at connecting urban communities with their waterways. Thanks to the Urban Waters team for their work!

By noon, the awards ceremony had come to a close and children were beginning to load back onto buses. Gauging by smiles alone, the event was a tremendous success. The rain forecast for the day had a change of heart and allowed for a beautiful day of outdoor activity and fun! Everything came together so perfectly with the help of wonderful organizations and invited speakers. The OAK Youth and America’s Great Outdoors event would not have been possible without members of the OAK Steering Committee, OAK fellow Alyssa Charland and Wilderness Inquiry and its highly-qualified staff.

OAK Chair and Vice Chair, Jackie Ostfeld and Paul Sanford preparing for the arrival of the first 400 plus kids and youth
OAK Chair and Vice Chair, Jackie Ostfeld and Paul Sanford preparing for the arrival of the first 400 plus kids and youth
Huge thanks to Chad Dayton (here with our friend Buddy Bison) and his team from wilderness Inquiry for organizing such a fantastic event!
Huge thanks to Chad Dayton (here with our friend Buddy Bison) and his team from wilderness Inquiry for organizing such a fantastic event!

We hope to see you at next year’s Great Outdoors America Week!

Our Great Outdoors America Week Champions showing off their awards with speakers and event organizers.  Top row (left to right): Department of Transportation Acting Under Secretary of Policy Peter Rogoff, Wilderness Inquiry Director of Programs Chad Dayton, The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams, Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior David Jayo, Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, OAK Co-Vice Chair Paul Sanford, and Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director Greg Lais. Botton row (left to right): Sierra Club Foundation Executive Director Peter Martin, OAK's State and Local Action Team Co-Leader Katie Clarke Adamson, and OAK Chair Jackie Ostfeld.
Our Great Outdoors America Week Champions showing off their awards with speakers and event organizers.
Top row (left to right): Department of Transportation Acting Under Secretary of Policy Peter Rogoff, Wilderness Inquiry Director of Programs Chad Dayton, The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams, Mayor of Saint Paul Chris Coleman, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior David Jayo, Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, OAK Co-Vice Chair Paul Sanford, and Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director Greg Lais. Botton row (left to right): Sierra Club Foundation Executive Director Peter Martin, OAK’s State and Local Action Team Co-Leader Katie Clarke Adamson, and OAK Chair Jackie Ostfeld.

Check out another great recap of OAK’s 2nd Annual Youth and America’s Great Outdoors event on Storify!

RELEASE: White House Honors “Champions of Change” for connecting youth with the outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 17, 2014

Contacts: Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club – 202-821-8877; jackie.ostfeld@sierraclub.org; Paul Sanford, The Wilderness Society – 202-429-2616; paul_sanford@tws.org

White House Honors “Champions of Change” for connecting youth with the outdoors

Several OAK members to receive award

Washington, DC — Tomorrow, fourteen Champions of Change will be honored at the White House for their efforts to engage the next generation of conservationists through outdoor recreation and physical activity. The honorees are helping to fulfill Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s youth initiative by ensuring that young people and communities have opportunities to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. Several champions are members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK).

“Thank you to the White House and Secretary Jewell for raising the voices of these exemplary change agents who are bridging the gap between young people and the outdoors,” says OAK’s co-founder and chair, Jackie Ostfeld. “Kudos to all the champs who are setting young people on a course to improve their health and well-being, establish lifelong connections with nature, and lead tomorrow’s conservation movement.”

Many of today’s champions are members of OAK:

Anthony Ciocco, of the Mvskoke tribe, is a Crew Leader for the Ancestral Lands Program at the Southwest Conservation Corps, a program of Conservation Legacy, leading ecological restoration crews on the Navajo Nation. Under Anthony’s leadership, crews of local Native youth work to rebuild damaged ecosystems and build trails to provide access to the outdoors for local communities.

Dr. Benjamin Blonder, co-founded the University of Arizona’s Sky School, a residential science school that provides inquiry-based environmental education on a campus located in the heart of the Coronado National Forest. Because of his efforts, each year hundreds of K-12 students, primarily from Title I schools, are now able to conduct independent research while exploring the unique ecology, geology, and astronomy resources of the region. Benjamin’s vision for the Sky School was inspired by his AmeriCorps service in central Idaho at the McCall Outdoor Science School, a NSF-supported teaching fellowship in a Tucson public school, and his long-term volunteer leadership with the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program, which provides opportunities for urban youth to experience nature.

Bill Hodge is the Director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, or “SAWS,” a project of The Wilderness Society. SAWS engages high school and college students in on-the-ground public lands stewardship projects in the National Forests of Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Through these programs, SAWS engages young people in active volunteerism and helps to develop the next generation of public lands stewards.

Jon Brito served three AmeriCorps terms with Kupu’s Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps from 2008 to 2013, as a team member, team leader, and a year-long intern. During these terms, Jon engaged local youth and community members on the rural island of Moloka’i in critical environmental community service and indigenous cultural practices. Jon’s commitment to serving the island’s land and people has helped protect and restore countless endangered native Hawaiian species and habitats, perpetuate native Hawaiian knowledge and culture, and has inspired other local youth and community members to take an active part in the conservation movement on Molokai.

Na’Taki Osborne Jelks is a nationally-recognized leader in engaging urban communities and youth of color in environmental stewardship. In 2001, Na’Taki co-founded the Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® Program, National Wildlife Federation’s multi-cultural, youth environmental education and leadership development program that engages urban youth in investigating causes of environmental challenges, helps them connect to nature, fosters their leadership of youth-led community action projects, promotes civic engagement, and nurtures leadership skills for building personal environmental stewardship. The Program has reached over 2,500 youth and was selected as a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps member organization. Na’Taki is also a Board Chairperson of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), a community-based organization that launched the Atlanta Children’s Forest Network (ACFN) in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pam Hess is the Director of Youth Engagement and leads the Outdoors Rx Program at the Boston-based Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). Outdoor Rx is a collaborative partnership with the healthcare community to provide free, dedicated resources for prescribing regular outdoor physical activity to youth, especially underserved individuals. AMC helps families “fill” these prescriptions by providing free, guided outdoor programming in their communities several times a week.

Dr. Stephen Lockhart is a Vice President and Regional Chief Medical Officer for Sutter Health in California. He has served on NatureBridge’s board of directors for 12 years, most recently as board chair. Under Stephen’s leadership, NatureBridge provides transformational environmental science programs in national parks to more than 30,000 children and teens each year. With NatureBridge, and as a board member of REI, NPS Second Century Commission and National Parks Conservation Association, Stephen advances his passion of connecting diverse young people to our national parks.

Watch the event live on Wednesday, March 18th from 9:00am to 12:00pm ET at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

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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 expanding opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the health and well-being 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 sixty national organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Association of State Park Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, 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.

Find out more on our website: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

RELEASE: Members of Outdoors Alliance for Kids Applaud Secretary Sally Jewell for Announcement on Youth and the Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 8, 2014

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

Members of Outdoors Alliance for Kids Applaud Secretary Sally Jewell for Announcement on Youth and the Outdoors

Washington, DC – This morning, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. and the US Department of Agriculture to announce a major private sector investment of $1 million to put young people to work on our public lands through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) braved the record cold temperatures to join the Secretary by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the National Mall.

“OAK applauds and shares the Secretary’s vision to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors,” says Jackie Ostfeld, Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “We look forward to working with Secretary Jewell to advance the goals of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and other programs to provide opportunities for young people to get outdoors across America.”

Initiatives that provide young people with jobs, training, service and volunteer opportunities, like the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, empower youth to assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors and the healthy development of the next generation. The Corps will teach youth basic job skills at a time when youth unemployment is near record levels and young people are missing out on critical early job experiences. In addition, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps programs will improve public health by helping young people develop and maintain active lifestyles. Corps projects connect youth to the outdoors in a fun, educational, and engaging manner, increasing the likelihood they will live active lives that will improve their health and enhance their quality of life.

Today, OAK members sent a letter to the White House urging President Obama to support and prioritize the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

Statements from OAK Member CEOs

“The Sierra Club commends Secretary Jewell on her commitment to connecting youth to the outdoors. We’re pleased to see new support for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “I am also proud to announce that the Sierra Club has just become an official national partner with the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Together we will work to reach 100,000 new service corps members a year by 2018 and educate corps members about conservation. In a world where many young people have never had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world, the Corps is a valuable tool for connecting youth to our public lands and opening up a new generation to the value of conservation.”

“Conservation corps provide thousands of jobs and training opportunities for young people, complete high quality conservation project work, and develop a new generation of healthy, work-ready young people who are invested in the stewardship of America’s public lands and waters,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “The support for 21CSC offered by American Eagle Outfitters is an inspiring act of corporate citizenship. We encourage other businesses to show a similar vision and commitment to stewardship of these lands.”

“The cadre of conservation corps around the country have a strong record of engaging America’s young people in preserving our public and tribal lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites. This outstanding show of support for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps exemplifies Secretary Jewel’s commitment to the land that she now oversees and to future generations of Americans,” said Harry Bruell, Co-Chair of the Public Lands Service Coalition and CEO of Conservation Legacy (formerly the Southwest Conservation Corps).

“We are very pleased that American Eagle Outfitters and Secretary Jewell have made such a big commitment to putting young Americans and veterans to work on our public lands, so that they can preserve, protect, and promote some of America’s great national treasures. We hope this is the first of many commitments that boost America’s next great generation of conservation and community leaders,” said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President & CEO of The Corps Network.

“IslandWood applauds Secretary Jewell’s announcement on the Department of the Interior’s commitment to the 21st Century Service Conservation Corps and connecting the next generation of diverse youth to the outdoors, together through dynamic public-private partnerships,” said Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood.

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Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in expanding opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the well-being 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 sixty national organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Association of State Park Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, 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. Find out more on our website: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

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RELEASE: Interior Secretary Jewell Ramps Up Efforts to Connect Youth with the Outdoors

Contacts:

Jackie Ostfeld, 202-821-8877, Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org

Paul Sanford, 202-429-2615, paul_sanford@tws.org

Interior Secretary Jewell Ramps Up Efforts to Connect Youth with the Outdoors

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, at the National Press Club, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell laid out her conservation agenda for the next four years. As part of that agenda, Secretary Jewell stressed the importance of engaging the next generation in understanding, stewarding and connecting with our public lands.

Statement of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids – OAK:

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids shares Secretary Jewell’s vision to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. We applaud Secretary Jewell for reaffirming and scaling up the commitment of the Department of the Interior to engage young people with our public lands.

The Secretary’s ambitious plan will help connect kids and youth with the outdoors through environmental education, community health and wellness and environmental stewardship opportunities. Specifically, Secretary Jewell announced plans to do the following:

  • Provide educational opportunities to at least ten million K-12 students each year, thereby enhancing environmental education opportunities for young people across the country. Outdoor environmental education opportunities improve academic and practical skills and create a well-rounded education that all kids need to thrive.
  • Establish partnerships in 50 cities with a goal of creating outdoor play and recreation opportunities for ten million young people in the next five years. Physical inactivity is a major contributor to the childhood obesity crisis and these partnerships will increase opportunities for kids and families to get active in urban areas.
  • Ramp up the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Service Corps activities help youth assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors and the healthy development of the next generation.

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids looks forward to working with Secretary Jewell in the weeks, months and years ahead to fulfill this ambitious vision and ensure that more and more children, youth and families have opportunities to get outdoors in nature.

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 Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in expanding opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the well-being 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 sixty national organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Association of State Park Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children and the natural world. Find out more on our website: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

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Getting Outdoors During GO Week

Great Outdoors America Week (GO Week) starts today. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is proud to participate in GO Week 2013 where we will join our partners to ensure kids, youth and families across the nation have opportunities to get outdoors.

GO Week is the preeminent event celebrating our collective connection to the great outdoors while advocating for its future. As one of the largest annual conservation and outdoor focused events in Washington DC, GO Week raises awareness around outdoors issues, and brings together hundreds of diverse organizations and activists to meet with lawmakers and administrators to advocate for our outdoor way-of-life. During GO Week, OAK will  advocate for policies that enhance opportunities for children, youth and families to enjoy the outdoors.

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We’ll also be hosting a “Kids, Youth and the Great Outdoors Festival and Walk on the National Mall” with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, White House Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, The Wilderness Society President Jaime Williams, Outdoors Alliance for Kids Chair Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club Outings Leader and Outdoor Nation Youth Ambassador Arturo Cervantes, and dozens of OAK members and partners.

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Follow OAK on Twitter for updates all week long.

Learn more about GO Week: http://goamericaweek.org/