Tag Archives: Urban Waters Federal Partnership

RELEASE: OAK Members Support Efforts to Connect Youth to Urban Waters


December 3, 2014

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

OAK Members Support Efforts to Connect Youth to Urban Waters

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, twenty-eight nongovernmental organizations, including eight members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, signed on to support the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a fourteen agency collaboration to reconnect urban communities with their waterways.

“We’re proud to be a part of this community-driven partnership to restore and protect urban waterways. Together we will help open the door for more families to explore and enjoy the outdoors,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director.

“Expanding access to fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreation is a great way to reconnect kids and families to waters in their communities. Working together, we can help people become more active outside and foster a new generation of advocates for clean water and healthy communities,” said Scott Kovarovics, Executive Director of the Izaak Walton League of America.

“The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) applauds the Federal Urban Waters Partnership which works to revitalize our nation’s waterways while providing valuable economic, environmental, and social benefits to communities,” said Barbara Tulipane, National Recreation and Park Association President and CEO. “Our members, in communities across the country, work to reclaim and revitalize waterfronts for recreation and conservation purposes. We look forward to working with the partnership to continue to bring together the federal family in support of these innovative local partnerships that create and add value in, and around, our nations bodies of water.”

“Clean water is essential for the health of our communities and our fish and wildlife. By restoring and improving access to urban waters, we can make it possible for all Americans to connect with nature and appreciate wildlife,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation.

“Today, 80% of Americans live in urban areas, so it is a great idea to focus on how rivers and streams flowing through cities can be improved and used by the millions of people who live near them. As an organization whose mission is to protect land for people and provide parks, we support the effort in this long-neglected area and are pleased to be working with federal, state, local and private partners in cities that are part of the Urban Waters Partnership,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land.

“Most cities in America were built on the banks of a river, and urban waterways often provide the first connection today’s families have to the outdoor world,” said Greg Lais, Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director. “This is why we wholeheartedly support the efforts of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. Stewardship begins at home.”

“The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is excited to be a partner in this initiative to invest in our nation’s urban waterways. ASLA applauds the Partnership’s efforts to restore and preserve our natural environments while reconnecting these resources to underserved communities,” said Nancy C. Somerville, Hon. ALSA, Executive Vice President and CEO.

“Young people growing up in urban areas will become the principal stewards of the environment,” said Scott Steen, President and CEO of American Forests. “If we can effectively engage them in efforts like this partnership, these kids are more likely to grow up enjoying the outdoors and more likely to care about and protect the natural world.”

The NGO partners signed the following statement of support:

“We commend the work that is making a visible difference in communities across the country by engaging 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. We believe the Partnership provides a powerful means for federal agencies to better connect with our metropolitan areas and engage all residents – especially youth – in conservation and stewardship of nature where they live, work, and play.

Supporting actions we plan to undertake include aligning resources, funding, and expertise to restore urban waters, parks, and greenspaces; increase outdoor recreation; engage youth and residents at pilot sites; and create new initiatives or projects nationally or at the state or local levels that achieve complementary results. We look forward to assisting federal agency partners with outreach and communications encouraging urban waters restoration, parks and greenspace conservation, and outdoor recreation.”

Urban Waters Federal Partnership team at OAK youth event in June.
Urban Waters Federal Partnership team at OAK youth event in June.


 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

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!