Tuesday (June 1) marked the start of a month-long celebration of the value of time in the Great Outdoors.
According to a mailing from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), which is allied with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), numerous activities are planned for this month to boost the public’s awareness and appreciation of the outdoors.
President Obama and nearly every governor have already declared the month Great Outdoors Month.
“The proclamations are substantive and highlight the themes we have been pursuing actively for more than a decade,” said Derrick Crandall, ARC president. “They point out that recreation is a key route to a healthier America, and is especially important as a tool to fight childhood obesity and the costs in quality of life and dollars. The proclamations talk about recreation and the economy, and about our Great Outdoors as means to learn about our heritage and about the importance of conservation.”
And the proclamations are just the start. Here is what the month of June will include:
- The First Lady was in Nevada Tuesday and unveiled Let’s Move Outdoors, a new website and a new part of her campaign to fight childhood obesity.
- Also Tuesday, the first of the town hall meetings under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative was held in Helena, Mont. Announced at a White House conference on April 16, America’s Great Outdoors offers an opportunity to shape a presidential strategy on conservation and recreation by late this year.
- On Friday, June 4, ED OUT will bring nearly 1,000 people to Camp William Snyder in Hayfield, Va., for a day of outdoor learning and fun. This pilot effort, team-led by Prince William County Schools, ARC, the Forest Service and Take Me Fishing, will involve 4th and 7th graders and adjunct faculty drawn from NASA, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Wildlife Federation and more and will launch a national campaign to get public schools to use nearby parks and public places to improve education during the school year and during summer vacations.
- On Saturday, June 5, National Trails Day will attract hundreds of thousands to volunteer projects along trails on public lands – making these trails more fun for millions.
- Also on Saturday is the start of National Fishing and Boating Week, with events across the nation including free fishing opportunities.
- And Saturday is also one of Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar’s fee-free weekends in national parks and other federal recreation sites!
- On Monday, June 7, nearly a thousand youth will fish on the National Mall in Washington at a popular event coordinated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – just a block away from Interior’s headquarters and three blocks from the White House.
- Also on Monday, June 7, is the kickoff event for Great Outdoors Week, held this year at the National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge. The center is the largest science and environmental education center of the Department of the Interior. And while at Patuxent, we’ll award the 2010 Beacon Awards, for use of technology to enhance recreational enjoyment of public lands and to manage recreation use.
- On Tuesday, June 8, all kinds of things will be happening in Washington. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will present the 2010 Recreational Trails Program Awards and release a new database of some 20,000 trail projects aided by this program since its inception in 1991. The National Park Foundation and Unilever will present the Harry Yount Ranger of the Year Award. And leading physicians who believe that “park prescriptions” are a great tool get make America healthier will begin a series of meetings with Administration and Congressional leaders.
- Great Outdoors Week events continue later in the week with the 2010 Great Outdoors Week Recreation Exchange featuring Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, presentation of the 2010 Legends Awards, the Great Mall Walk for Health, the Great Outdoors Week Ice Cream Social on the USDA patio with “celebrity scoopers,” and more.
- Saturday, June 12, at some 80 sites across the nation, National Get Outdoors Day will be celebrated – a team effort to reach out to America’s kids and get them excited about adventures in the outdoors. In Denver, and Salt Lake and Washington and more, thousands of kids will ride bikes and paddle canoes and climb artificial walls and go geocaching and birdwatching – in our cities! And they will be invited out to more traditional recreation sites at EChO events later in the summer.
- A big part of National Get Outdoors Day is National Marina Day. At marinas across the country — and especially at a dozen signature sites — marinas will invite families to try out time on boats and enjoy life on the edge of our rivers, lakes and oceans.
- The RVIA and RV community will be celebrating the centennial of recreation vehicles during the month, and especially in events in Indiana during the week of June 7-11.
- Action continues on June 19-20 at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in Central Park, New York City, as some 500 delegates gather to champion the outdoors and start a youth-driven outdoors movement.
- And lots more will be happening before the month of June winds down, including the National Wildlife Foundation-led Great American Backyard Campout on backyards and community sites nationwide on June 26.
The idea for Great Outdoors Month is just 20 years old — the result of discussions immediately following the 2nd Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award presentation to then-President George H. W. Bush in 1990.