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.
“As we celebrate Great Outdoors America Week, we remember the work done over the past century to protect millions of acres of federal land, and over the past 50 years to protect priceless American wilderness. We’re reminded of the importance of preserving the health of our planet and connecting children and families to the natural world. EPA 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 Administrator, Gina McCarthy during Great Outdoors America Week 2014
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.
During 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 Association, American Forests, American Heart Association, American Hiking Society, Anacostia Watershed Society, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, 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 Service, National Park Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Recreation and Park Association, NOLS Expedition Denali, North American Association for Environmental Education, The Outdoor Foundation, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources, Public Lands Service Coalition, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, REI, River Management Society, Sierra Club, Sierra Club Foundation, Urban Waters Federal Partnership, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Land Management, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Transportation, Wilderness Inquiry, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA.
“Outdoor experiences are important opportunities for youth to develop social and emotional skills, build relationships and develop an appreciation and respect for nature. The Great Outdoors America Week is an engaging way to inspire urban youth to make outside activities a part of living a healthy lifestyle.”
--Mayor of Saint Paul Minnesota, Chris Coleman during Great Outdoors America Week 2014
Great 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.
Join OAK’s Communications Committee
Can you help identify someone in your organization who has a passion for communications, blogging, engaging press or website design? They should join OAK’s Communications Committee today!
Co-Leaders, Eugenie Bostrom from Public Land Service Coalition/Conservation Legacy and Jen Hofman from YMCA of the USA are hoping to find a group of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals that would like to help expand OAK’s communications platform.
OAK supports Urban Waters Federal Partnership
The 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. If your organization would like to get more involved with the UWFP, contact Alyssa today!
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.
- OAK Letter to Congress on Healthy Kids Outdoors Act
- Great Outdoors America Week Lobby Leave Behind
- FY 2015 Appropriations Letter
Sierra Club issued an action alert on the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act to its members. Feel free to use this action alert or create your own to weigh in with your members of Congress!
ICYMI OAK Members Have Been Blogging
Kick Nature-Deficit Disorder to the Curb: Celebrating Great Outdoors Month, OAK member guest blog by Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club
Organizations Come Together to Celebrate Kids and Youth in the Great Outdoors, OAK Member Guest Blog by Tia Watkins, Sierra Club
Want to contribute to OAK’s blog or social media platforms? We want to hear from you. Submit your request now!
Are you missing OAK’s blogs when they are posted? Be sure to subscribe to follow OAK’s blog today!
OAK Events Calendar
|July 2014||National Park and Recreation Month|
|September 27, 2014||Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Family Hiking Day|
|September 27, 2014||National Public Lands Day|
|October 4, 2014||IMBA's National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day|
Is your organization hosting a conference or event that you would like featured on OAK’s event calendar? Submit your request now!
OAK Call/Meeting Calendar
|August 12, 2014 - 3:30 - 4:30 PM ET (repeats monthly, 2nd Tuesdays)||Next State & Local Action Team Call|
|August 13, 2014 - 4:00- 5:00 PM ET (repeats monthly, 2nd Wednesday)||Next National Policy Action Team Call|
|September 8, 2014 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM ET||OAK Annual Partner Membership Meeting in DC|
|September 8, 2014 - 4:00 PM ET||OAK Annual Partner Membership Happy Hour in DC|
|September 9, 2014 - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET||OAK Advocacy Day in DC|
|November 18, 2014 - 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET||OAK Fourth Quarter Partner Membership Call|
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!