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$1 Million Commitment By Feds To Get Kids Outdoors

$1 Million Commitment By Feds To Get Kids Outdoors
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Reconnecting children with the Great Outdoors has become an important goal for educators and nature lovers alike.

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

From USDA:

“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.

From USDA:

“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.”

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Photo Credit: TogetherGreen

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83 comments

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5:49AM PDT on May 2, 2012

We have a nature center park right in the middle of our city. It is also connected to a picnic area, some baseball diamonds, a playground, and a swimming pool. It gets a lot of use by young and old.

10:00AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

Why do we need the government to use money in order for kids to be outdoors? Why not have 2 PE periods during the school day. Extend the day for 2 hours to give enough time for these PE periods. I spent my entire childhood out doors. No TV allowed at all during daylight hours.

9:11AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

Eu também queria a minha Europa em grandes aventuras como envolver as crianças e o público da Europa em trabalhar e restaurar as nossas terras e conservar a natureza para podermos estar conectado ao ar livre

7:42AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

Wow, the new budget is planning to spend more than we'll take in in taxes. And now they want to spend money to promote kids going outside to play??!! Really?? The govt doesn't HAVE the money for this. People need to grow up and become responsible for their own children. We don't need yet another govt. program for something this basic.

7:18AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

A million dollars??? Seriously??? Wow! How generous....best do it now kids while there is something left....Vilsack is busy allowing mining, ATV's, logging, driling, fracking and the list goes on. Not to mention the serious intent of so many states to get ready of wolves and other endangered species. And, Evan M, you are wrong...hunting does take place on federal lands....wild horses and the relentless attack to rid the entire US of the wolf population....hunting, you "betcha" from planes, blinds, poisoning dens, killing females so their young starve and the latest...using other "live" bait to bring wolves out..so now we not only have the life of the wolf on our bloody hands, but the "bait" as well. Don't you just love the outdoors? If kids got to see the "real" outdoors, maybe they, too, would be appalled at how it is managed.

10:26PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Great initiatives.

2:26PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Getting kids involved in the outdoors is lately code by hunting interests, whose numbers are falling, for getting kids indoctrinated into killing animals for fun. Be Aware.

1:16PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

It's a shame that our society has lost its important connection to nature and the great outdoors.

12:43PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

thanks

10:32AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

When i was growing up on a family dairy farm me and my brothers would stay out of doors playing practically all day on nice days. Now they would rather play with their Ipods.

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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