Hundreds of young people around the U.S. are preparing for Get Outside Day! 2010. On April 3rd and throughout the week, these Natural Leaders will engage in a variety of events to have fun, get out in nature, and encourage others to put down their electronic media and do the same.
C&NN’s Natural Leaders Network is part of a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between children and nature. A wide range of people are involved, from different locations and geographic settings, as well as diverse economic and ethnic groups. The network is particularly focused on peer-to-peer communication, diversity in nature, and outdoor green jobs.
A few of the many events scheduled to celebrate Get Outside Day! include:
• Meadowood Recreation Area, VA- Natural Leaders in the Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will partner with a local community organization serving diverse youth, to complete a trail restoration project and learn about the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.
• Yosemite National Park- Crenshaw and Dorsey High School Eco Club students from South Los Angeles will join a WildLink expedition for a five day backcountry hiking trip.
• Bronx, New York- Natural Leaders, together with Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors program, will celebrate Get Outside Day! by participating in a nature hike through Bronx Park Forest.
• Brecksville, Ohio- Youth will join rangers at Cuyahoga Valley National Park to witness “sky dancing” birds up to 300 feet in the air.
• Luquillo, Puerto Rico- Children and their families will celebrate the arrival of endangered leatherback turtles to the beaches of the Northeast Ecological Corridor, a treasured wild space that currently faces the threat of development.
See the C&NN Natural Leaders Event Map for more details about these, or to find an event near you.
“Get Outside Day is about celebrating your own personal connection with nature,” said Juan Martinez, coordinator of the Natural Leader’s Network and a young leader himself. “This Network connects those with different perspectives to ensure that such opportunities are available for all young people, everywhere.”
Martin LeBlanc, Sierra Club’s National Youth and Special Projects Director, agreed. “We believe that the energy and dynamism of young people fuels the Natural Leaders Network, developing it into a significant force for connecting all communities with the outdoors,” he said. “It’s time to get out there and enjoy our world! Playing outside, getting muddy, seeing these stars; the power of these experiences inspire long-term connections to nature.”
Richard Louv, C&NN chair, also praised the Natural Leaders’ efforts. “These young people are the most effective leaders in the Children and Nature Movement. They serve their communities every day as they work to guarantee safe places for children to play in the natural world.”
The Natural Leaders Network began in 2008, as a partnership between C&NN, the Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors program, and The North Face. For more information, visit C&NN’s Natural Leaders page or Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors. There is also a Natural Leaders Network group on C&NN’s NING network (the web forum), where leaders can find discussion and connection.