8/11/10: Children & Nature Network host annual Grassroots Gathering
The Children & Nature Network hosted its annual gathering of grassroots leaders in the movement to connect children with nature. Sponsored in part by the Sierra Club, the forum took place in Princeton, New Jersey, and provided a platform to discuss important themes such as broadening the movement's reach into diverse communities and working with the health sector. The Natural Leaders Network offered guidance on engaging young people in the movement through panel presentations and participation in the sessions. Check out the NLN video.
7/28/10: Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus Established
The inaugural event of the newly formed Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus was held July 28 to raise awareness in the Senate about responsible use and conservation of land, and the ways outdoor recreation can help Americans improve their fitness and strengthen the economy. Hosted by caucus co-founders Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, the overall scope and up-to-date progress of America's Great Outdoors Initiative was delved into by a panel of four speakers. Learn more.
7/18/10: OAK Releases Recommendations for America's Great Outdoors Initiative
The Outdoors Alliance for Kids, of which Sierra Club is a founding member, has released recommendations for the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative. The recommendations encourage greater interagency collaboration, connecting health initiatives with outdoor play and programming, building the next generation of conservationists through outdoor activity, engaging diverse audiences through targeted outreach, and empowering youth and parents to break down the barriers to connecting with the great outdoors.
7/10/10: Let's Move! website gets overhaul
Check out First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! website. The website has undergone new user-friendly improvements and has added some great resources for the Let's Move Outside Initiative. Don't miss the resources under the Let's Explore tab!
6/19/10: Natural Leaders Network toolkit released
Natural Leaders Network (NLN) an initiative of the Children & Nature Network, with the founding support of the Sierra Club and corporate support of The North Face, released its toolkit which is a guide for youth all around the world who want to start Natural Leaders action groups or networks. NLN empowers a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between children and nature.
6/12/10: National Get Outdoors Day
The U.S. Forest Service, American Recreation Coalition and a number of other organizations nationwide rallied behind National Get Outdoors Day, June 12, to turn out first time-visitors to public lands. The focus of the day was to reconnect youth to the great outdoors and counter health threats posed by indoor sedentary lifestyles. BBTO participated in events in New Mexico and Virginia.
6/12/10: Latino Youth Outings Project springs into action
On National Get Outdoors Day, 10 students from Cesar Chavez school in Washington DC participated in the second outing of the Latino Youth Outings project in Meadowood Recreation Area in northern Virginia. Forged from a partnership between the Sierra Club and the Bureau of Land Management, the Latino Youth Outings project provided Latino students with the opportunity to fish, hike, camp, canoe, and garden. Find out more about the Latino Youth Outings Project.
6/1/10: Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) Launched
As First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the Let's Move OUTSIDE initiative today in Las Vegas, expanding her campaign to solve childhood obesity, a broad coalition representing the business and non-profit communities announced a national strategic partnership called the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK). OAK brings together the YMCA of the USA, REI, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, The Outdoor Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association and the Children & Nature Network, collectively representing over 30 million members, to address the growing divide between children and families and the natural world. Read the Sierra Club press release.
5/28/10: President Obama declares June "Great Outdoors Month"
President Obama declared June Great Outdoors Month in his "enduring commitment to protect our natural landscapes, to enjoy them, and to promote active lifestyles for ourselves and our children," in a presidential proclamation. The proclamation follows the launch of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which aims "to foster innovative, community driven strategies to protect our natural spaces, and to reconnect Americans with our great outdoors." The initiative builds upon Let's Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama's "effort to help our children eat more nutritious foods, lead healthier lives, and increase their physical activity."
5/11/10: Childhood Obesity Report Released
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity released its report to President Obama: Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation. The report makes eight recommendations related to increasing outdoor activity for children, including one recommendation that the Federal government support "investments in a wide range of outdoor recreation venues, such as National Parks, Forests, Refuges and other public lands, and expand opportunities for children to enjoy these venues."
5/3/10: National Physical Activity Plan
Sierra Club joined a coalition of experts at the National Press Club to release the US National Physical Activity Plan. The plan envisions a day when all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity. Sierra Club will help lead the Parks, Recreation, Fitness and Sports Strategy to engage more Americans in outdoor physical activities.
4/19/10 Childhood Obesity Conference
First Lady Michelle Obama and the Childhood Obesity Task Force convened a meeting of experts to discuss solutions to solving the childhood obesity crisis in one generation. Sierra Club's Youth Director, Martin LeBlanc was in attendance to encourage the Task Force to consider more time spent outdoors as one piece of the puzzle. Sierra Club also submitted comments to the Task Force in advance of the meeting.
4/16/10: America's Great Outdoors Conference
Sierra Club attended a White House conference on America's Great Outdoors. The conference was hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture and addressed "the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans and American families to the outdoors." President Obama also delivered remarks. Read the Sierra Club release.
3/17/10: Festival del Tinglar: Leatherback Festival
The Puerto Rican Coalition for the Northeast Ecological Corridor held the 5th annual festival celebrating the Leatherback turtle at the Plaza del Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Learn more.
3/3/10: National Natural Leaders Day
Coming together for a national day of action the Natural Leaders Network encouraged all young people to get outside through hiking, writing poems, devising a scavenger hunt, or arranging service projects. The Children & Nature Network launched the Natural Leaders Network in 2008 to encourage young leaders to take decisive action against nature-deficit disorder. With founding support from the Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors, and the corporate support of The North Face, we are ready to take on this challenge.
2/9/10: Childhood Obesity Initiative
First Lady Michelle Obama announced today a new initiative to combat childhood obesity. The main pillars of the initiative include: promoting improvements in school lunches, access to healthy foods, physical activity and nutrition education. Read a letter sent by Sierra Club and partner organizations urging the First Lady to consider an "outdoors in nature" element to her anti-obesity initiative. Read the Sierra Club press release.
2/8/10: Youth in the Great Outdoors
Today, Secretary Salazar announced a new initiative at the Department of the Interior, "Youth in the Great Outdoors." The Secretary called on the Department's bureaus to increase employment opportunities on public lands by 50% in 2010 and 60% in 2011. Read a Sierra Club statement and the DOI press release.
2/3/10: Surgeon General "Call to Action"
Today, Sierra Club joined 215 organizations to urge Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to issue a "Call to Action" on the health benefits of daily outdoor play for children and families. The petition asks Benjamin to recommend that all American children and their families take time every day for unstructured outdoor play and interaction with the natural world. Read the petition.
2/1/10: President' Budget Includes Conservation Jobs and Environmental Literacy
The President's budget, released today, calls for a 50% increase in employment opportunities for youth aged 15-25 in the conservation mission of the Department of the Interior. Engaging youth in jobs on public lands was listed as one of five High-Priority Performance Goals for the Department. Also, for the very first time, environmental literacy was included in the budget for the Department of Education. The budget includes $1 billion for an "Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education Program;" programs which advance environmental literacy would be eligible. Learn more about the President's budget for the Department of the Interior, and read a news story about the environmental literacy victory.
1/20/10: Youth Plugged in for 53 Hours a Week, New Report
A new Kaiser Family Foundation study found that youth aged 8 to 18 are spending more time plugged in to electronic media than previously thought. Kids are "tethered to electronic devices" for 7.5 hours a day or 53 hours a week - much more time than their parents spend at work. All the major media outlets covered the report. View the report and a BBTO response in the New York Times.
12/2/09: White House Youth Clean Energy Forum
Today, the White House opened its doors to youth leaders from across the country to encourage collaboration in solving our climate crisis. Four cabinet secretaries joined youth leaders to share news from their departments and answer questions. In attendance were Secretaries Steven Chu (Department of Energy), Ken Salazar (Department of the Interior), Hilda Solis (Department of Labor), Administrator Lisa Jackson (Environmental Protection Agency), and Chairwoman Nancy Sutley (US Council on Environmental Quality) and about 160 young leaders from the business and non-profit sectors, including Sierra Student Coalition and BBTO. Check out our events page to learn more and find video links to the forum.
11/18/09: Ocean, Coastal and Watershed Education Act Passes Out of Committee
With a vote of 22-13, HR. 3644 the "Ocean, Coastal and Watershed Education Act" cleared a major hurdle in the House of Representatives. The bill, formally called the "Bay/Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Regional Program and National Environmental Literacy Grant Program Act" authorizes and expands existing environmental education programs administered by NOAA. During the Natural Resources Committee markup, reference was made on numerous occasions to a letter of support signed by Sierra Club and well over one-hundred national and regional organizations. Learn more from our friends at the Campaign for Environmental Literacy.
11/11/09: Sierra Club Partners with ServiceNation to Honor Veterans
On Veteran's Day, Sierra Club President Allison Chin shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Alma Powell to celebrate veterans, and the great work of organizations and businesses across the country that are improving the lives of military families. Sierra Club's Military Families Outdoors (MFO) Initiative was recognized for its commitment to connecting veterans, military families and the children of deployed servicemen and women with the healing powers of nature. Learn more.
10/29/09: Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Public Lands Service Corps Act
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests heard expert testimony today on S. 1442, the Public Lands Service Corps Act. Chairman of ENR, and sponsor of the Senate legislation, Senator Jeff Bingaman included in his opening remarks a statement about an organizational sign-on letter circulated by Sierra Club and signed by approximately 50 organizations all expressing support for the Corps. Robert Stanton from the Department of Interior and Joel Holtrop of the US Department of Agriculture shared glowing testimony about the importance of S. 1442 for youth and our public lands. A companion bill was also filed in the House of Representatives this week.
10/26/09: Sierra Club Joins ServiceNation
ServiceNation is a national campaign designed to increase service activities and instill within the American ideal a commitment to service. With over two hundred member groups, ServiceNation intends to reach 100 million Americans and spread a culture of volunteerism across the nation. Sierra Club has joined the coalition to support and encourage service among our members, supporters and partners. Click here to learn more about the campaign.
10/15/09 House Committee Hears Testimony on NOAA EE Bill, H.R. 3644
H.R. 3644, the "Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Regional Program and National Environmental Literacy Grant Program Act" was introduced by Congresswoman Lois Capps on September 24th and was the subject of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife hearing today. The bill would authorize and expand existing environmental education programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The programs focus on youth, grades K-12, and are designed to promote public awareness and appreciation for social, economic and environmental benefits of coastal watersheds through hands-on outdoor learning experiences.
10/12/09: Claudia Corona wins Green Youth Leader Award
Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors program and the North American Association for Environmental Education came together for the second year in a row to present Claudia Corona with the Green Youth Leader Award for her outstanding leadership in the environmental field. Before graduating from High School in Los Angeles, Claudia Corona was the President of her school's environmental club, the Mean Green Team. During her senior year, Claudia led her peers though 500 hours of volunteer service for the environment. Read more.
9/24/09: NOAA Environmental Education Bill Introduced in the House of Representatives
Congresswoman Lois Capps just introduced H.R. 3644, the "Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Regional Program and National Environmental Literacy Grant Program Act." The bill that would authorize environmental education programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The programs focus on youth, grades K-12, and are designed to promote public awareness and appreciation for social, economic and environmental benefits of coastal watersheds.
9/16/09: Climate Change Education
Sierra Club supports comprehensive clean energy legislation that funds education, training and retraining for all sectors of the emerging clean energy economy. We recently signed onto a letter that supports education and training in the clean energy bill.
9/15/09: Bicycling and Walking Trails Rescued in Transportation Bill
An amendment to the FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that would curb federal investments in bicycle and pedestrian paths and other Transportation Enhancement (TE) projects was defeated on the Senate floor. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) issued the amendment, which was rejected by a vote of 59-39. Five Democrats voted with Coburn.
9/2/09: NWF Report: Time Out
Time Out: Using the Outdoors to Enhance Classroom Performance, A School Readiness Guide for Teachers and Parents was released just in time for the new school year by the National Wildlife Federation. The report addresses many of the problems associated with spending too much time indoors and highlights the body of research showing the academic improvements associated with outdoor education. Click here to read the report.
8/15/09: First Family Visits Our National Parks
President Barack Obama took his family on a tour of two of our most treasured National Parks. For four days, the First Family and President Obama's half-sister Maya and her family spent four days visiting Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon, national parks that President Obama and Maya had visited during their childhood. They also spent time together fishing in Montana and sleeping in a mountainside lodge. BBTO praises the President and First Lady for getting their kids outdoors this summer.
7/22/09: Sierra Club joins Congressman Raúl Grijalva to advocate for the Public Lands Service Corps
On July 22, 2009, the next generation of public lands stewards and enthusiasts joined Congressman Raúl Grijalva, Sierra Club, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the Earth Conservation Corps and The Corps Network to clear the trail towards green and service-oriented jobs. Gathered at the House Triangle on the East side of the US Capitol building, Grijalva, SCA and Earth Conservation Corps youth participants, NPCA leaders and youth and young adults from Sierra Club took up tools to advocate for the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009. Read the Sierra Club's press release, see more media coverage on our news page, and read more about the event on our events page.
6/22/09: United We Serve!
President Obama just announced an exciting new summer service initiative. On June 22, First Lady Michelle Obama and Cabinet Secretaries hosted kick-off events for the United We Serve summer. The Club's BBTO program joined Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Shenandoah National Park to remove invasive species on our public lands. Please join the White House and Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors program by committing to serve America this summer! United We Serve will run from June 22 through September 11, 2009. Read Sierra Club's press release about United We Serve.
6/8/2009: Interior Secretary Salazar signs Order to get kids outside
Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his agency will establish a new office dedicated to getting youth outdoors. Salazar, joined by White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and hundreds of children, signed a Secretarial Order to officially establish an Office of Youth at the Department of Interior. The creation of the Office is the first step toward fulfilling Salazar's vision of establishing a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. The new Corps will build a bridge to the outdoors and to green jobs for a new and diverse generation of public lands enthusiasts and employees. It will also educate a young hunters and anglers. The announcement followed a youth fishing event at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall. Click here to read our press release!
5/14/2009: Children and Cheetahs on Capitol Hill
Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) recently joined fifth graders and their four-legged friends to promote the No Child Left Inside Act. The bill would improve opportunities for states to provide environmental education through their K-12 public school systems. The cheetah was such a hit, we could barely hear what our elected officials had to say! Learn more about NCLI.
4/28/2009: New Office of Youth at the Department of Interior
Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar announced in late April the establishment of an Office of Youth to coordinate efforts to engage, educate and employ youth. Secretary Salazar has made a clear commitment to youth and the outdoors. In late February, BBTO's volunteer coordinator, Juan Martinez introduced the Secretary at Power Shift 09, where Salazar first announced the creation of a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. Watch the speech.
4/22/2009: No Child Left Inside Act of 2009 is Reintroduced in Congress
On Earth Day, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative John P. Sarbanes (D-MD) introduced the No Child Left Inside Act of 2009. The bill would encourage States to develop plans to ensure that all high school graduates are environmentally literate. The bill also creates incentives for teacher training in field-based learning and opportunities for research into the academic impacts of outdoor learning.
3/19/2009: Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009 Introduced in the House of Representatives
Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009, H.R. 1612. The bill would protect, preserve and restore our public lands while giving young Americans employment opportunities and the training they need to get green jobs with our public land agencies. Click here to support the Corps!
Featured Partner: Muddy Sneakers
Muddy Sneakers: The Joy of Learning Outside is a unique program that offers children from Western North Carolina an opportunity to learn from nature's classroom. The program helps youth put the science they are learning in the classroom into context, while providing them all the benefits time spent outdoors has to offer for the body and mind. Schools participating in the Muddy Sneakers' Learning Expeditions will take a series of field trips throughout the academic year. The mission of Muddy Sneakers is to awaken in children a deeply felt connection with the natural world, one that inspires curiosity, stimulates learning, and brings new life to classroom performance.
Click here to see an interactive map of BBTO project partners