Tag Archives: youth

The Power of Partnerships: OAK Helps National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day Soar

guest blog by Grace Lee, Executive Director of National Park Trust

Last year during the centennial of the National Park Service, our national parks alone enjoyed more than 330 million park visitors. Great news – right? Unfortunately, most of their visitors are white and aging. Young people are our next generation of park stewards and outdoor enthusiasts, thus it’s critical for the future of our parks and public lands to engage and cultivate this important segment of society.

To address this problem, National Park Trust created Kids to Parks Day in 2011 to engage youth from diverse communities with the great outdoors. This country-wide park “holiday” is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May, the weekend before Memorial Day.

In our first year, we were thrilled to engage 18,000 participants. Little do we know that in just 7 short years, our participation would soar to more than 1 million on May 20th, 2017!

What makes Kids to Parks Day hum? It’s all about the power of partnerships. Thanks to our many national collaborators and partners including the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), we’ve leveraged our combined “reach”, to engage 3.5 million youth over the years and across the country – promoting 1) education, 2) healthy outdoor recreation, and 3) environmental stewardship.

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Kids to Parks Day National School Contest winner Finger Lake Elementary at West Butte Trail State Park (Palmer, AK). Photo credit: Finger Lake Elementary.

One notable example, this year OAK member PBS Kids’ Nature Cat heard about National Park Trust during an OAK quarterly membership call. Nature Cat contacted National Park Trust and together we teamed-up (along with National Park Trust’s mascot Buddy Bison) for three signature Kids to Parks Day events at Ft. McHenry (Baltimore, MD), Constitution Gardens (Washington, D.C.) and Channel Islands (Ventura, CA). These events were three of the more than 1,700 family-friendly park programs that were available across the country on May 20th and posted on our site – many of the events were either hosted, organized, and/or promoted by OAK members!

However, Kids to Parks Day (KTP) is not just about one day of outdoor recreation – it promotes year-round use of parks by kids and their families. KTP Day gives life to National Park Trust mascot, Buddy Bison’s message: “Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!”

We look forward to working with OAK next year to get even more kids outdoors on Kids to Parks Day 2018 –May 19th!

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Kids to Parks Day celebration at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Baltimore, MD). Photo credit: Chris Rief, National Park Trust.
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Kids to Parks Day celebration at Constitution Gardens with Buddy Bison and Nature Cat.        Photo credit: Chris Rief, National Park Trust.

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The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps: The Future for Public Lands

guest blog by Brandon Nguyen, Sierra Club intern, Summer 2016

Earlier this summer, the First Family visited Yosemite National Park to celebrate Father’s Day and the 100th anniversary of the National Park System in the great outdoors. Standing in a picturesque scene, with the natural legacy of Half-Dome towering several thousand feet overhead, President Obama spoke to a crowd on the importance of our outdoor areas and their unifying qualities.

“The beauty of the National Park System is it belongs to everybody. It is a true expression of our democracy: the notion that we all look after ourselves and our families, and we work hard and we make money, and we have our own homes and apartments, cars and televisions; but then there’s this part of us that is a part of everybody, something we have in common, something we share, a place where we connect with each other, and to connect with something bigger than ourselves.”

Just three days before the president’s speech, I sat in a briefing on Capitol Hill hosted by the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC). The 21CSC is an initiative committed to increasing the number of youth and veterans engaged in protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors through civilian national service. The initiative simultaneously addresses the $11 billion maintenance backlog of our public lands, connects youth to the healing power of nature, and helps veterans reintegrate into society.

The amazing thing about the 21CSC is that it unites so many different people and organizations towards a common goal. Throughout the country, there are over 190 member organization of the 21CSC that give local undeserved youth and veterans the opportunity to develop professional skills while engaging in environmental stewardship projects, such as preventing wildfires and constructing hiking trails.These environmental service projects are completed through partnerships between 21CSC organizations and local, state, and federal land and water management agencies. Outside of the 21CSC are dozens of organizations, corporations, and private businesses that support the initiative. These supporters include REI, KEEN Footwear, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and other groups that recognize the significance of the 21CSC for our parks and the outdoor industry. And finally, with the 21CSC Act (S.1993, H.R. 5114) we find bipartisan support; it was introduced in the Senate in August 2015 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), and in the House of Representatives in April 2016 by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, June, 2016. Photo Credit - The Corps NetworkVermont Youth Conservation Corps, June, 2016 (Photo Credit: The Corps Network)

The 21CSC was originally started during the Obama administration under Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and has grown significantly under Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s leadership. It serves as a modern expansion on President Franklin Roosevelt’s public work relief program, the Civilian Conservation Corps. The national partnership for the 21CSC is working to reach 100,000 new corps members every year by 2018! The Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the  Sierra Club support the initiative to get all kids outdoors learning and active on our public lands.

In June, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on the 21CSC Act, alongside its companion legislation the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2015. Members of the committee praised these pieces of legislation that aim to provide skills and job opportunities for youth and young veterans. The 190+ member organizations of the Partnership for a 21CSC draw their participants from a diverse pool to develop a new workforce for the future of our lands and waters. Service opportunities are extended to veterans up to the age of 35, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Young people, ranging from 15 to 25 year olds, from non-profit organizations to tribal governments, are also given opportunities to serve and develop their professional work skills.

In the spirit of 21CSC’s work, and to quote President Obama again:“What an incredible idea! What a worthy investment! What a precious thing we have to pass on to the next generation! Let’s make that happen.”

To learn more, visit the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps website and join the Sign-On Letter in Support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act.

 

RELEASE: OUTDOORS ALLIANCE FOR KIDS RECEIVES SUPPORT FROM CO-FOUNDER, REI

 

July 15, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brenna Muller, 202-548-4581, brenna.muller@sierraclub.org

Outdoors Alliance to Kids receives support from Co-Founder, REI

Washington, DC – The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is honored to receive support from one of its founding steering committee members, REI. With a generous grant of $30,000, REI is ensuring OAK can continue to be an effective national advocate for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to get outdoors.

“Extending our partnership with OAK reinforces REI’s commitment to connect our members and their families to inspiring outdoor places and programs,” said Taldi Walter, community affairs program manager for REI. “By working to further develop relationships with local and state agencies, OAK is showcasing its commitment to tackling relevant and important issues to get more children into the outdoors, yielding benefits for generations to come.”

“REI and the Sierra Club share the understanding that in order to build the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards, we need to first make sure our kids can get outdoors safely and frequently,” said Peter Martin, Executive Director of the Sierra Club Foundation, a fiscal sponsor of OAK. “The Sierra Club Foundation is pleased to support OAK’s work and to see the REI do the same. Together we can help bridge the divide between kids and nature.”

“As one of the founders of OAK, REI has been with us since the beginning. I am thrilled to see our partnership grow and deepen over the years to be better advocates for getting kids outdoors,” said Jackie Ostfeld, OAK’s Co-Founder and Chair. “On behalf of our growing alliance, I want to extend our deep gratitude to REI for believing in our vision and investing in OAK’s mission that is now shared by over 85 members.”

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is a national outdoor gear and clothing retailer and a member of OAK’s Steering Committee. REI is committed to stewardship and giving back to its members, employees and communities. Find out more about REI’s stewardship efforts.

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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

RELEASE: NATIONAL PARK TRUST, OUTDOORS ALLIANCE FOR KIDS RECEIVE THE NORTH FACE 2016 EXPLORE FUND GRANTS

TNF logoNPT LogoOAK Logo

National Park Trust, Outdoors Alliance for Kids Receive The North Face 2016  Explore Fund Grants

 

NPT’s Buddy Bison Program funded to increase access to the outdoors for youth in 5 urban cities.

Washington, D.C.  – June 30, 2016 – In this Centennial year of the National Park Service, National Park Trust is pleased to announce that The North Face has awarded two 2016 Explore Fund grants to benefit our 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 to experience outdoor recreation, education, and service opportunities. Currently 53 Title 1 public, public charter and private schools across the country — spanning grades 2 through 8 — are participating in the program.

In partnership with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), the first grant, Buddy Bison Gets 4thGraders Park-ing, will be used to kick off the second year of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative in 5 cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. OAK is a national strategic partnership of over 85 organizations from diverse sectors advocating for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. Fourth graders from Title 1 schools in these cities will participate in marquee events with The North Face, National Park Trust, OAK and alliance members and be welcomed into the Buddy Bison School Program with funds from the Explore Fund providing park trips to national parks that promote outdoor recreation and align with their school curriculum.

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is answering President Obama’s call to action to get every kid in a park,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Co-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.”

The second grant, Buddy Bison in the Big Apple, will be used to engage children from K through 8th grades residing in homeless shelters in New York City. Dare2BNYC, a non-profit based in New York City that works to break the cycle of poverty and improve homelessness, will once again work closely with NPT to provide access to parks for these youth. For these students, the Buddy Bison program will emphasize not only outdoor recreation and education, but also career opportunities that support our national parks and public lands. Students will have the opportunity to participate in 4 park experiences and meet with career professionals that support the parks as well as volunteers from The North Face store in Manhattan.

“As we approach the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, we are delighted to share the great news about our expanded partnership with The North Face to provide park experiences for hundreds of students from underserved communities. The Explore Fund will allow many of these students to experience their first park trip where they will enjoy fun outdoor recreation, and learn about STEM, history, park stewardship and career opportunities that support our national parks. ” stated Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.

Both of these grants will be used starting this fall and throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

The North Face selected 45 nonprofits that engage their participants in opportunities that inspire a lifelong love of the outdoors. Selected programs use outdoor exploration as a catalyst for positive personal or societal change, to encourage participants to try new outdoor activities, and promote environmental stewardship values.

“Encouraging people to experience and enjoy the outdoors has been our mission at The North Face since we were founded 50 years ago,” said Ann Krcik, senior director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We are proud to support these outstanding programs that expose participants to the beauty and joy of the outdoors. Through these 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 $2.2 million in grants to organizations committed to inspiring people to explore the outdoors and care for the environment.

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. Since 1983, NPT has completed more than 100 park preservation projects benefiting 49 national parks and other public lands in 33 states and Washington, D.C. Since 2009, our Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day have engaged nearly 2,000,000 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 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

Media contact:

Caren Bell

On behalf of The North Face
510.748.2742
Grace Lee
National Park Trust
301-279-7275, ext 14
Brenna Muller
Outdoors Alliance for Kids
202-548-4581

Young Girls Learn about Gender Justice and Environmental Stewardship

guest blog post by A. Tianna Scozzaro, Director, Sierra Club’s Global Population & Environment Program

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends” – Mary McLeod Bethune

A powerful civil rights activist and educator, Mary McLeod Bethune devoted her career to improving the lives of African Americans. She founded a school, Bethune-Cookman College, and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women and as a top black administrator in the Roosevelt administration. The first headquarters of the council and her last home, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House was declared a National Historic Site under the National Park Service in 1982.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Sierra Club partnered with theNational Park Trust to host an Every Kid in a Park event with the terrific fourth grade class from Washington School for Girls in southwest D.C. The Washington School for Girls in Anacostia is a tuition-free Catholic day school, whose students are primarily African-American girls.

The event was part of year-long celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the nation’s national parks. Whether it’s the Grand Canyon or historic and cultural sites, America’s public lands belong to us all. As we look toward the next century of conservation, the Sierra Club is working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to experience all our public lands have to offer. Through the Nearby Nature initiative and through promotion of the Every Kid in a Park campaign,  which ensures that fourth graders across America can access their parks, public lands and historical sites for free, and promotion of the Find Your Park campaign, the Sierra Club is working to build and inspire the next generation of environmental leaders, just like the young ladies of the Washington School for Girls.

Photo Credit: Sierra Club

Donning bright orange “Buddy Bison” t-shirts, the girls filed into the historic home quietly taking in the majestic chandeliers and artifacts. Sierra Club staff member Kirin Kennedy kicked off the excitement for environmentalism by explaining how people like artists, writers, and lawyers can all be advocates for environmental stewardship. Ranger Margaret Mills led the students through an enthusiastic lesson on social justice and the story of Mary McLeod Bethune, starting a school with just five students and $1.50. Her legacy lived on through four presidents.

The Sierra Club is dedicated to making the links between gender equity and environmental stewardship. We see that women’s leadership is a key answer to the climate crisis. A study of 130 countries found that countries with higher female parliamentary representation are more prone to ratify international environmental treaties.

And that link was loud and clear. These young female leaders understood that social justice, like the civil rights Mary McLeod so dearly fought for, are imperative for the the protection of each and everyone’s ability to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and enjoy, explore and protect our natural lands.

Photo Credit: Sierra Club

As the Washington School for Girls youth eagerly tore the wrapping off their brand new national park passports and lined up for stamps, one student declared “I want to live in a house like this! I want to be like Mary McLeod!” Indeed, her legacy lives on in the eager young women dedicated to protecting the earth themselves and standing up for justice.

RELEASE: Outdoors Alliance for Kids, Forest Service Partner to Get Children and Youth Outside

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2015

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.org

Forest Service Press Office, 202-205-1134, pressoffice@fs.fed.us

Outdoors Alliance for Kids, Forest Service Partner to Get Children and Youth Outside

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) joined Forest Service Chief Thomas L. Tidwell to announce a new partnership to increase opportunities for children, youth and families to learn about, recreate and explore the natural world on our public lands and waters.

The partnership will seek to create new outdoor play and recreation opportunities for millions of young people; provide new or enhanced educational programs for grades K-12; expand service and volunteer programs; provide youth employment and training programs; and implement the National Prevention Strategy for improving health and well-being developed by the National Prevention Council.

“As America’s urban areas continue to grow, access to the outdoors and nature-based activities is becoming more important to our nation’s well-being”, said Tidwell. “Through this partnership, we have another avenue to act on our long-standing commitment to connect all youth to the outdoors.”

“OAK is excited to join the Forest Service in encouraging kids to have fun and get active while discovering the forest,” said OAK Co-Founder and Chair Jackie Ostfeld of the Sierra Club. “Too many of today’s children and youth are growing up indoors. Through this partnership we can provide them a chance to experience the joy of the outdoors.”

“OAK and the Forest Service are natural allies in the growing movement to connect more young people to the outdoors,” said OAK Vice Chair Paul Sanford of The Wilderness Society. “The national forests provide some of the best close-to-home outdoor recreation, education and service opportunities in America, and together our programs connect thousands of young people with National Forest lands each year. OAK is thrilled to partner with the Forest Service to expand these opportunities and develop the next generation of conservationists.”

OAK and the Forest Service will advance shared goals by collaborating to support President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative to connect 4th graders with public lands and waters and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to increase volunteer and work opportunities for youth and young veterans stewarding our public lands. The partners will also inventory key youth in the outdoors events and programs, develop a children and youth outdoors federal budget, and convene key partners to evaluate and advance major programs and initiatives related to connecting children and youth with the outdoors.

The General Agreement was signed by the Children & Nature Network, The Corps Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA on behalf of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.

In September, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation signed a related agreement. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is in the process of finalizing a similar agreement as part of a holistic effort led by the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation.

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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 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

About the Forest Service

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

 

RELEASE: Outdoors Alliance for Kids Calls for Reauthorization, Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.cramer@sierraclub.org

Outdoors Alliance for Kids Calls for Reauthorization, Full Funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

WASHINGTON, DC — The House Natural Resources Committee today will hold a hearing on draft legislation “Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation Act,” introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) as an alternative to reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In response the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statement.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides critical resources for ensuring that children, youth and families are able to spend time outdoors. It should be permanently reauthorized and fully funded.

The fund’s land acquisition and assistance programs increase opportunities for play and recreation that help keep our kids fit and healthy. These programs deserve Congressional support. It’s essential that we continue to provide ample opportunities for young people to get outdoors regardless of whether they live in urban, rural or suburban areas.

The reauthorization process should not be used to advance new spending programs unrelated to the purposes of the Land and Water Conservation Fund– promoting conservation and outdoor recreation, but instead should focus on continuing the success of the program over the last half-century.

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RELEASE: NYC 4th graders get free passes to visit public lands and waters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Contact:
Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.org
Jackie Ostfeld, 202-821-8877, Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org

NYC 4th graders get free passes to visit public lands and waters OAK helps launch the Every Kid in a Park initiative in Harlem

Today, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, and other groups helped to launch the Obama Administration’s Every Kid in a Park NYC initiative with an event in Harlem. Two hundred fourth-grade students were among those joining the event at Hamilton Grange National Memorial. The students received free passes to America’s public lands and waters through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which seeks to connect young people with the great outdoors by granting free entry to national parks for all fourth-graders and their families.

In response, participating members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statements:

“The North Face is pleased to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative. At The North Face, we believe that exposure to the outdoors in a child’s life has many benefits, including being great for physical health, instilling a sense of adventure and developing a respect for the environment that remains in adulthood,” said Todd Spaletto, President of The North Face. “We are proud to support President Obama in his effort to combat the decline of young people’s connection to the outdoors by introducing all young people to the wonders of exploration. Our hope is that by encouraging kids to explore early, they will go on to become conservation-minded, long-term stewards who will pass these beliefs on to the next generation.”

“The Sierra Club is proud to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative. As a child I spent countless hours in the woods and streams near my house and was lucky enough to hike, camp, and canoe with my family and classmates. America’s public lands belong to all of us, yet today too many kids are missing out on the joys of spending time outside. All children should have a chance to experience the wonders of nature no matter where they live. As today’s event demonstrates it’s possible to connect with the outdoors even in urban centers,” said Sierra Club Board Member and New York resident Loren Blackford, who attended the event. “As we celebrate the centennial of our National Parks, the Sierra Club is committed to engaging the next generation and connecting them with the next century of conservation.”

“From Harlem to Yellowstone, Wilderness Inquiry wholeheartedly supports the Every Kid in a Park initiative,” said Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director Greg Lais. “It’s amazing to see how excited these kids are when they first lay eyes on a Voyageur canoe. New York City is a priority for Wilderness Inquiry and we look forward to getting more kids from the Big Apple out on the river over the years.”

“Discover Outdoors is proud to be a supporter of Every Kid in a Park,” said Discover Outdoors Founder and Executive Director, Kirk Reynolds. “To lead tomorrow, New York City students need to be connected to nature today, where science is learned experientially, and character is shaped through team-work and adventure.”

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is honored to participate in today’s NYC launch and to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative for fourth graders across America,” said OAK Co-Founder and Chair, Jackie Ostfeld. “Too few children have opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural world. OAK members are answering President Obama’s call to action to connect America’s 4th graders with our public lands because we believe that time spent outdoors leads to healthier kids and a healthier planet.”

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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 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

Media Advisory: NPNH Kicks Off Every Kid in a Park NYC at Hamilton Grange NM

National Park Service Media Advisory

NPNH Kicks Off Every Kid in a Park NYC at Hamilton Grange NM

Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the home of founding father and Harlem resident Alexander Hamilton, will be the location for the kickoff of Every Kid in a Park NYC.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the home of founding father and Harlem resident Alexander Hamilton, will be the location for the kickoff of Every Kid in a Park NYC.

NPS PHOTO

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News Release Date: October 23, 2015
Contact: John Harlan Warren, acting Public Affairs Specialist, 917-829-0425
National Park Service Director to Announce New Collaboration With Scholastic at Hamilton Grange NM

NEW YORK –  As part of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and President of Scholastic Consumer and Professional Publishing Hugh Roome will host the Every Kid in a Park NYC celebration to announce a new collaboration with Scholastic.

Jarvis, Roome and others will join 200 fourth-grade students at Hamilton Grange National Memorial as they participate in activities to highlight the potential of parks and receive free passes to America’s federal lands and waters.

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, has created a free educational program for fourth grade classrooms for Every Kid in a Park, which is available for teachers nationwide to download at www.scholastic.com/everykid. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to bring Every Kid in a Park directly into the classrooms of every fourth-grade teacher in the country,” said Jarvis.

The Every Kid in a Park program seeks to connect young people with the great outdoors. The program allows fourth graders nationwide to go to www.everykidinapark.gov and obtain a pass for free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year, starting September 1, 2015.

Press wishing to attend should RSVP at the email link on this page.

WHO: Those scheduled to attend include: Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service; Hugh Roome, President of Scholastic Consumer and Professional Publishing; Thomas L. Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service; Joshua Laird, Commissioner, National Parks of New York Harbor; Dominique R. Jones, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Harlem; Orin Kramer, Board Member, National Park Foundation.

WHAT: “Every Kid in a Park NYC” is the New York area kickoff of this White House initiative to urge fourth grade students and their families to visit parks of all sizes, from local community parks to historic sites like Hamilton Grange to vast national parks. A short opening ceremony will be followed by approximately 200 students engaging in activities that reveal the potential of parks: experiencing American history in the places where it occurred; recreating, including camping and water safety skills, and; appreciating our shared natural resources. Learn more: www.everykidinapark.gov. Organizations offering support for this nationwide initiative include the Sierra Club and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK).

WHEN: Thursday, October 29, 2015, 9:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. ET. This event will be rescheduled or cancelled in case of rain.

WHERE: Hamilton Grange National Memorial, located at 414 West 141st Street in Manhattan between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues, preserves the home of founding father and Harlem resident Alexander Hamilton. The historic home is located within St. Nicholas Park, a New York City park.

About the National Parks of New York Harbor

Stretching from The Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan into three other boroughs, and beyond the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to New Jersey, the National Parks of New York Harbor includes 10 national parks with 22 natural, historic and recreational sites. These national parks preserve special places that tell the story of America and its leading city. Learn more: www.nps.gov/npnh/index.htm .

—NPS—

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