The Obamas have also jumped on board: President Obama announced his America’s Great Outdoors program last year, and First Lady Michelle Obama has thrown herself into her Let’s Move initiative. America’s Great Outdoors seeks to engage the public to work together to conserve and restore our lands and to connect to the outdoors. Let’s Move! focuses on solving the problem of childhood obesity, a segment of which aims to improve physical and mental health through outdoor activities.
And Now A New Initiative!
Doing his part to promote these goals, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on March 2 announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) commitment to get kids outdoors through $1 million in cost-share funding from the U.S. Forest Service to enhance children’s programs in 18 states.
Vilsack made his announcement at the Interior Department during a White House conference, Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy, which emphasized the link between conservation and strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy lands, waters and wildlife.
Today’s Children Are Tomorrow’s Stewards Of The Land
“These programs provide an essential connection to our great outdoors, which we hope can be a key part of growing up for children from all walks of life,” said Vilsack. “We need kids to experience the wonders of the great outdoors and take ownership of the future of natural resources. Today’s children are tomorrow’s stewards of the land.”
It’s great to hear a federal official pronounce these words, and even better to see him put some funds behind his words.
The money will be distributed to the agency’s More Kids in the Woods and Children’s Forests programs.
“These grants strengthen our bonds with communities with a bottom line goal of getting kids to explore and appreciate America’s great outdoors,” said US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “There are few things more gratifying for me than seeing our youth gain an appreciation for the amazing landscapes we have in this country.”
Photo Credit: TogetherGreen
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