Mission Outdoors Announces New Director!We have great news! Military Families and Veterans Representative Stacy Bare is now the Mission Outdoors Director. We are thrilled that Stacy was chosen to represent the Sierra Club's programs to get America outdoors.
Stacy takes the helm of a program that boasts over 7,000 outings leaders and volunteers who lead over 250,000 people on outings across the nation; works on policy and advocacy initiatives that aim to provide more opportunities and access to get outdoors at the local, state, and federal level; and offers direct programming to link our nation's service members, their families, and veterans with the lands they have fought so hard to defend.
Please join us in welcoming Stacy in his new role. Read his first blog entry as director.
We Came to DC and We Conquered. Well, Really, We Had Some Great Meetings.Mission Outdoors volunteers and staff descended upon our nation's capitol June 25-28th for Great Outdoors America Week. Hundreds of activists from around the country came together to talk to our nation’s leaders about their special places and how to bridge the growing divide between America and the outdoors. Mission Outdoors hosted adult outings leaders and veterans for a week of briefings and meetings with decision-makers. Additionally, 75 youth organized by the chair of our Baltimore Inner City Outings Group met with the Environmental Protection Agency and delivered a Great Outdoors America Week Award to Administrator Lisa Jackson. Then they hiked the National Mall and met their Congressman, John Sarbanes (MD-3) on the Capitol Steps to give him an award, too.
During the week, the Sierra Club and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids also put together a congressional briefing about the benefits of getting military children, families and veterans outdoors. Moderated by the Sierra Club’s Stacy Bare, the panel featured the Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army (Civil Works); Captain Michael Odle, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Air National Guard; Theresa Buchanan of National Military Family Association; Sheri Robey Lapan of Blue Star Families; Katie Adamson of YMCA of the USA and Major Gary Burnett of the Maryland Park Service. The panel delved into the importance of the outdoors for military kids by offering some insights into what the public, the administration and partners can do to provide more opportunities for children and their families to experience the benefits of nature.
Jacksonville Mayor Leads the People to the Parks.Alvin Brown, the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, announced a new program designed to get Jacksonville folks more active and involved in their local green spaces. The People + Parks Connection initiative includes new and improved signage on nearly 45 miles of trail at seven parks, new designated kayak/canoe launch sites and two weeks of swim lessons at every outdoor pool to prevent drowning.
The mayor (see photo right) also announced a partnership with the Sierra Club Northeast Florida Group, which will lead outings on city trails and parks.
"I'm delighted we're kicking off this collaboration for '2nd Saturday Outings' in City of Jacksonville Parks and Preserves," said Tom Larson, treasurer of Sierra Club Florida. "Getting people into our outdoors and helping them appreciate what we have and where we are is a main part of our mission: Explore, Enjoy, Protect."
Watch the video featuring Sierra Club volunteer Tom Larson here.
Cleveland ICO Takes Nepalese Refugees on Outings.Cleveland's Inner City Outings group held its April outing at the North Chagrin Reservation in the Metroparks. Despite the day’s on-again, off-again rain, the group of 15 refugees from Nepal ranging in ages from 7 to 16 set out for the park’s most famous landmark- Squaw Rock. This massive sandstone rock was carved in 1885 with images reflecting Native American life.
The kids hiked along a ridge overlooking the Chagrin River, and then wound down some switchbacks and stairs built into the hillside. Did these hills remind the kids of (very) miniature versions of the hillsides and mountains of their home country? After passing some small waterfalls streaming down the hillside, the group landed at the banks of the river near Squaw Rock, where they tossed pebbles into the water and viewed the carvings on the rock. The kids then hiked back and played soccer, Frisbee, baseball, and hopscotch.
Welcome, Amanda and Jared!Mission Outdoors has a new intern AND a new apprentice! Intern Amanda Wheelock joins us from Dartmouth College, where she’s a rising senior. When she's not enjoying the outdoors, she helps Mission Outdoors with her tech savvy and general savoir-faire. Read about her first impressions of the program. Amanda will spend the summer with Mission Outdoors, keeping cool and scheming of ways to get outside!
Jared Robinson, the new Mission Outdoors apprentice hails from Sonoma, CA, and is a recent graduate of UC Davis. Jared will spend six months with Sierra Club Mission Outdoors learning the ins and outs of getting America outside exploring and enjoying. He has yet to tell us his favorite place, but informs us regularly that he loves getting out. Learn more about him.