March 31, 2010
Youth Nationwide Get Outside and Celebrate Nature
Washington, D.C. – This week, hundreds of young people across the nation are abandoning the couch, unplugging laptops, silencing cell phones and heading outdoors to celebrate the second annual Get Outside Day! 2010. They are declaring themselves "Natural Leaders," youth who enjoy getting out in nature and want to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
Get Outside Day! 2010 is presented by the Natural Leaders Network, which is empowering a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between children and nature. Founded in 2008, the Network is the result of a partnership between the Children & Nature Network and Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors, with corporate support from The North Face.
"Get Outside Day is about celebrating your own personal connection with nature," said Juan Martinez, coordinator of the Natural Leader’s Network and a young leader himself, "and this Network connects those different perspectives to ensure that such opportunities are available for all young people, everywhere. "
The Sierra Club agrees. "We believe that the energy and dynamism of young people fuels the Natural Leaders Network, developing it into a significant force for connecting all communities with the outdoors," said Martin LeBlanc, Sierra Club’s National Youth and Special Projects Director. He emphasized that "it’s time to get out there and enjoy our world! Playing outside, getting muddy, seeing these stars; the power of these experiences inspire long-term connections to nature."
Some notable Get Outside Day! events include:
Juan Palma, BLM Eastern States Director, is getting youth outdoors in Virginia. "We here in the BLM Eastern States are excited about reaching out to minority students, helping each one to imagine a future of bright promise. With our partners in the Natural Leaders Network, we can provide the mentoring they need to pursue careers naturally, as leaders in environmental resource management."
Richard Louv, chairman of the Children & Nature Network, praised the efforts. "These young people are the most effective leaders in the children and nature movement. They serve their communities every day as they work to guarantee safe places for children to play in the natural world," said Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.
Youth of all backgrounds, environments, and age groups are proving them right as they hike, garden, climb, splash, photograph, and explore the world outside their front doors. For more information, visit www.naturalleaders.org or www.sierraclub.org/youth.