Cloudy days notwithstanding, this October, Tucson Inner City Outings
volunteers took 5th graders from three schools - Flowing Wells
Junior High, Safford Elementary and Los Ninos Elementary - on a series of trips
to the Mount Lemmon Sky Center (affiliated with the University of Arizona)
where they saw many types of cactus, sparkling minerals, and changes in
temperature on a scavenger hunt at several stops on the mountain. Highlights
included hiking along the Meadow Loop trail and fire overlook at the top of the
mountain and delighting in the changing aspens. Although the sky clouded up
early in the evening, limiting the time students could spend operating the
telescope, the ICO students were able to learn about the use of infrared cameras and set up
infrared game cameras to capture videos of deer and rabbits outside the dorms
overnight. The outing made the University of Arizona magazine! Read more about this trip.
movement and practice of connecting America with our public lands and open
spaces had quite a year. We began by changing our name, and integrated several
programs (Building Bridges to the Outdoors, Inner City Outings, Local Outings
and Military Families and Veterans Initiative,) under one glorious umbrella:
Mission Outdoors. We said goodbye to our founding director, and gained a new
one. We are looking forward to 2013 to
building on the success of all of those who work so hard to get people outside
in nature. Here’s
a look back at what we all accomplished this year:
12,000 young people got out in nature through our Inner City Outings programs
all around the country. They visited Christmas tree farms and petting zoos,
played a role in protecting a national treasure in the Midwest – the Hackamatack
- hiked mountains and valleys and camped out for the first time. They led
pledges to bring more bike lanes to communities and traveled to Washington, DC, to meet
their Congressional representative. At a local level, we worked to pass a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights in New Mexico. Thank you to our volunteers and agencies who make up Inner City Outings!
Thousands of military families and veterans enjoyed
all the beauty that our public lands have to offer. From working with
University of Michigan researchers to examine the effects of the outdoors on
mental health to funding ice climbing trips for veterans to measure climate
change at Glacier National Park, our military program was out there all
year. Thousands of children participated in Celebration of the Military Child
Outdoors events all over the country. Hundreds of service members and veterans climbed, rafted, participated in outdoor leadership training and took part listening sessions to tell us about their experiences about the
outdoors. Learn more about our military work.
On the national front, Mission Outdoors had a very busy year. We spent a lot of time at the White House, participating in conferences, celebrating Champions of Change and honoring women in the environment. We walked the halls of Congress during Great Outdoors America week with a delegation of Sierra Club outings volunteers, educating members about our work to connect America with the outdoors. We also worked with our Baltimore ICO Chair to bring a delegation of 75 high school students from Baltimore to meet with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes to discuss the importance of getting youth outdoors, and take an urban hike across Washington, DC. We weighed in on environmental education and environmental justice at national forums. We helped champion efforts to ensure military servicemen and women could visit our National Parks and public lands and we weren't quiet when the Senate GOP blocked passage of the Veterans Jobs Corps Act which would have provided conservation jobs for our nation's heroes. And last but not least, we saw OAK (Outdoors Alliance for Kids) grow to include over 50 national organizations all committed to work together to get kids and families outdoors.
Lastly, hundreds of thousands of people, from all
over the country, including Modern Family’s Nolan Gould, not only got outside
to enjoy nature, but played a major role in protecting and preserving by going
on local outings and participating in service projects. Volunteers with Potomac
Region Outings prepared for months to hike the C&O canal – a one-day 62
mile for some. Outings leaders from North Star Chapter in Minnesota led
outings via public transit (you can do it too!), and volunteers from Manoa,
Hawaii, restored popular trails for the public.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season and coming new year. Please, do us a favor and get outside.
Inner City Outings Makes Lemonade out of Lemmons
Fear Not of the Night Sky
The Cape Fear Group of the Sierra Club, based in
southeastern North Carolina, teamed up with the Cape Fear Astronomical Society
on Friday evening December 14th for a star party. The date was chosen by the astronomy club to
take advantage of the Geminid meteor shower. For the Sierra Clubbers, it was a quiet way to celebrate the holiday
season with spiced cider, hot chocolate, homemade cookies and dark skies. Our
friends from the CFAS proved to be knowledgeable and patient teachers and found
a variety of stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae to introduce to us. Though star charts were available, we found
that Google Sky Maps on smartphones were useful to all!
Our First-Ever Google+ Hangout with Craig. That
Earlier this month, volunteers and the military
and veteran community joined Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune,
craigslist Founder, Craig Newmark, and Mission Outdoors director, Stacy Bare
for our first-ever Google+ hangout.
Several hundred gathered from around the country
to hear about what we can do better serve the mil/vet community. Michael, Craig
and Stacy took questions from the audience. Read more from Stacy Bare on this
great event, and stay tuned for more hangouts!
What's on the Horizon
Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is now accepting nominations for
awards, including the Community Leadership Award, which is given every year to
up to 50 individuals or organizations that provide or enhance opportunities to
engage in physical activities. Nominations are due on February 1, 2013.
April is just around the corner, really. It’s not too
early to check out the Children & Nature Network’s Let’s G.O.! events and
Know anyone between 18 and 24 with an interest in
the outdoors? The Outdoor Educator Institute is taking applications for their
intensive job training program geared toward youth who want to be outdoor
leaders (and get paid for it!).
News You Can Use
Take a bath, a forest bath (read the article to find out what this means. Researchers in Japan show that time spent outdoors
in nature really is good for you.
You’ve got 30 minutes. What’s the best thing you
can do for your heath?
An aspiring Picasso or Jane Austen? Nature
restores the mind and boosts creativity. So, get out there.
MO in the News
Who was naughty? Who was nice? Read Jackie Ostfeld's blog post about 2012.
American lands restore the spirit of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Check out
this video from This American Land.
about Mission Outdoors Director, Stacy Bare in the Portland Phoenix.
Mission Outdoors trip to Glacier National Park with the Climate Reconnaissance Team made the November issue of GI Jobs.
The goal of Sierra Club Mission Outdoors is to get America outdoors. Explore and enjoy! Find out more on our website.
And be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the latest with the Sierra Club Mission Outdoors!