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Posts tagged: More Kids in the Woods

Forest Service Reaches Latinos through Legacy Program

More than 1,500 inner-city youth from Houston Independent School District gather over a week-long period at Jones State Forest – Children’s Forest each year to participate in the annual Exploring Houston’s Backyard. The Bosque Móvil-Forest Mobile is one tool the U.S. Forest Service’s Latino Legacy program uses to provide learning experience around Texas.

More than 1,500 inner-city youth from Houston Independent School District gather over a week-long period at Jones State Forest – Children’s Forest each year to participate in the annual Exploring Houston’s Backyard. The Bosque Móvil-Forest Mobile is one tool the U.S. Forest Service’s Latino Legacy program uses to provide learning experience around Texas.

Roughly a decade ago, Tamberly Conway impulsively agreed to leave Key West, Fla., with a friend to serve as crew members on a 47-foot sailboat with a captain they barely knew. But somewhere between Key West and Guatemala, she began reevaluating her decision.

They got off the boat in Guatemala and spent the next year absorbing the Latino culture and Spanish language. She turned that unexpected experience into helping the U.S. Forest Service reach out to the Latino community. Along with her multiple degrees in natural resources, Conway connects Latinos to the natural world around them through such programs as Latino Legacy. Read more »

US Forest Service Celebrates National Get Outdoors Day June 8

National Get Outdoors Day, created in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, will include a wide variety of opportunities to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun, from a rousing day of festivities in City Park in Denver to quieter observations on some national forest and grasslands.

Go Day, as it is often called, was launched June 14, 2008, through a partnership between the Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition. Built on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other efforts, Go Day connects Americans – especially children – with nature and active lifestyles. Read more »

Slice of Albuquerque Will be Turned into the Children’s Bosque: More Kids in the Woods Projects and Children’s Forests Nationwide Receive $1 Million Funding

Urban children in Albuquerque, N.M., will soon be able to descend on 20 acres of forestland along the Rio Grande River, where they will have the freedom to climb onto an elevated fort, hike on a trail through the cottonwood forest to learn about the different plants and animals and do what all children are supposed to do: play outside.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children’s Bosque – Spanish for forest – is one of eight Children’s Forests and 23 More Kids in the Woods projects in 18 states awarded a total of $1 million in cost-share grants from the U.S. Forest Service. Each of the winning projects has the backing of partners and local communities, and winning proposals either expand current projects or create new ones. Read more »

500 Florida School Kids Adopt New Skills Learned in the Great Outdoors

Natural Resource Manager Carl Petrick of the National Forests in Florida looks on as a high school student sets his sights on the archery range. Nearly 500 students from area schools attended the recent More Kids in the Woods event. (Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests of Florida)

Natural Resource Manager Carl Petrick of the National Forests in Florida looks on as a high school student sets his sights on the archery range. Nearly 500 students from area schools attended the recent More Kids in the Woods event. (Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests of Florida)

What makes 500 middle and high school kids from area schools near Tallahassee, Fla., happy?  Getting outside and embracing the great outdoors during a week-long U.S. Forest Service event known as ‘More Kids in the Woods.’

During the five-day outdoor event , the kids developed new skills related to archery and using BB gun ranges, discovered wild turkey hunting, and immersed themselves in wildlife interpretive and forestry information, including a demonstration of a prescribed burn to learn more about the role fire plays in managing ecosystems. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Announces Local Projects to Help Kids Get Outdoors

Connor Stack, a youth volunteer for the National Children's Forest in California, teaches other children about coyotes. Stack and other children help to operate the National Children's Forest, a collaboration between the San Bernardino National Forest and the National Forest Association. It is the oldest among four Children's Forests associated with the Forest Service. On April 4, the agency and the USDA announced plans to add nine Children's Forests to create a national network.

Connor Stack, a youth volunteer for the National Children's Forest in California, teaches other children about coyotes. Stack and other children help to operate the National Children's Forest, a collaboration between the San Bernardino National Forest and the National Forest Association. It is the oldest among four Children's Forests associated with the Forest Service. On April 4, the agency and the USDA announced plans to add nine Children's Forests to create a national network.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday the infusion of $1 million from the current U.S. Forest Service budget toward projects and programs that get kids outside to experience the great outdoors, connect with nature and help nurture future land stewards.

The two programs receiving funding through this announcement will reach tens of thousands of young people this year, and support the goals of both President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

Read more »

USDA Forest Service Challenge Cost-Share Program Supports Goals of Numerous Childhood Initiatives

By Deidra McGee, US Forest Service Public Affairs Specialist

The announcement of the More Kids in the Woods (MKIW) challenge cost-share program highlights  the multiple outcomes of many USDA Forest Service programs not only within the Agency, but across the Department and reaching to White House initiatives.

The Forest Service selected 21 MKIW projects from field units across the country that foster environmental awareness and stewardship among young people. The projects such as summer camps, outdoor labs, nature caching, wilderness expeditions and more will help kids make the connection between healthy forests, healthy communities and their own healthy lifestyles; while encouraging them to seek careers in conservation and resource management.

The initiative to engage and involve MKIW has numerous partners, cooperators, and an equal number of overlapping features and benefits to other initiatives across the country. The MKIW goals are echoed in efforts from the White House to the forests of Alabama. There the state has initialed Youth Taking Action, or YTA, aimed at curbing childhood obesity.

“Blending physical activity with conservation and environmental ideas will be a great venue for students to not only enjoy the great outdoors, but develop an ownership in the environment for future generations of people, plants, and critters!” Sallie Chastain; Coordinator, Community Education for Talladega (Alabama) County Schools.

This effort, mirroring First Lady Michelle Obama’s own focus, capitalizes not only on MKIW projects, but incorporates other resources like lessons and teacher materials from the Project Learning Tree curriculum (PLT). Local state officials agree that these benefits multiply the effectiveness of related programs.

“The Project Learning Tree mission is to use the forest as a “window” on the world to increase students’ understanding of our environment; stimulate students’ critical and creative thinking; develop students’ ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues; and instill in students the commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.” Chris Erwin; Director of Education and Outreach, Alabama Forestry Association

This is the fourth year the Forest Service has matched funds and in-kind contributions from partners for “More Kids in the Woods”.  Partners include local, state, and federal agencies and American Indian tribes. Project activities include summer camps, after-school programs, and wilderness expeditions. The challenge-cost share will serve more than 15,000 children throughout the nation, including under-served and urban youth.

For more information on this year’s 21 MKIW projects, go to http://tinyurl.com/2vgkq3u.