Friday, October 16, 2009

"More Kids in the Woods" Grant Opportunity

In these tough economic times, alternative funding routes can be very beneficial for many conservation-focused groups and organizations. As DOFAW outreach staff is made aware of these types of opportunities, we will continue to post them here. Good luck!

(The following grant is CLOSED for the 2009-2010 cycle)
The More Kids in the Woods Grant is given by the US Forest Service each year. In the past, the Forest Service sought proposals that focused on underserved and urban youth; provided hands-on recreation and conservation education; engaged in solid and broad-based partnerships; and incorporated innovative techniques.

To see a list of the national recipients for last year, along with grant amounts and descriptions of the projects that were funded, click here.

WASHINGTON D.C., May 22, -- The U.S. Forest Service today awarded a half million dollars in matching challenge cost-share funds to improve children's health and make a closer, active connection between America's youth and the outdoors.

           In a noon ceremony, at the USDA Whitten Building, officials presented awards to 24 Forest Service applicants and their partners from around the country. The awards, matched dollar for dollar by agency partners, will top $1.5 million. The projects will help improve children’s health, combat obesity, and connect kids to the land in a hands-on way.  "This opportunity is important to us for a lot of reasons," said Gail Kimbell, Chief of the Forest Service. "We can help address troubling declines we see in the mental and physical health of our children. At the same time, we can inspire future conservation leaders, who can perpetuate the critical role nature and forests play in the quality of life for Americans."

          Studies show a growing chasm between children and nature, which has led to drops in physical and outdoor recreation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. about two-thirds of young people, grades 9-12, do not engage in recommended levels of physical activity.  More than 250 groups vied for the awards. The Forest Service sought proposals focused on underserved and urban youth; recreation and conservation education; solid, broad-based partnerships; and innovative techniques. Most of the projects, resulting from the awards, will take place on national forests, which offer a myriad of outdoor recreation and educational opportunities across the country.

          Keynote speaker, author Richard Louv, whose scientific research supports the Forest Service program and led to the book — Last Child in Woods — drew attention to the distance between kids and nature. Nature, he said, is as essential to children's health as nutrition and adequate sleep.

From the Forest Service website: "The Forest Service has been a leader in conservation education and recreational opportunities for more than a century. In addition, national forests provide opportunities to urban and rural kids; therefore they are an ideal location for most of the projects funded by this program.

Beyond that, government, with its influence over parks, open spaces, education and health care, has a crucial role to play in helping our nation realize the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits of the great outdoors. The rise in childhood diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease is a growing national crisis. All of us have a role to play to ensure the health and well-being of our nation's children. Outdoor experiences in early childhood can help get our children on the pathway to a healthy and active lifestyle."

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