Join Shelton Johnson and others who hope to inspire urban youth to have an interest in the national parks and experiencing the outdoors, by contributing to the production of a feature-length documentary about the first African-American expedition to tackle North America’s highest peak at Denali National Park. Please click the link at the end of this video to contribute now.
Tag Archive for the 'children and the outdoors' Tag
Zach Brunner, age 7, gave up getting birthday gifts the past two years so that the money that would be spent on them would go instead to help Lassen Volcanic National Park.
For that inspiring act of unselfish philanthropy the Los Altos, Calif. youth has been appointed to the board of directors of the Lassen Park Foundation (LPF). Chairman John Koeberer said the LPF board was touched by Zach’s generosity, but also his “passion for Lassen.”
Koeberer described the appointment as real, with the seven-year-old to be listed on the LPF board, with an open invitation “to attend any board meeting or foundation function that he wishes. We are particularly interested in hearing his thoughts on things we can do to make the park experience better for kids, to better reach at-risk children with our summer youth camping program, and how what we do to help Lassen Volcanic can be improved,” said Koeberer.
With this year’s donation, Brunner wrote, “Dear Lassen Park Rangers, At my birthday party, I raised $255 for the park. I hope you can use it to finish the trail to the top of the volcano. I hope I can visit Lassen, Manzanita Lake and Crags Lake this summer!”
Lassen Volcanic National Park Superintendent Darlene Koontz said, “It is extremely heartwarming to see a child so moved by the national park that he would give up his birthday presents to help with its preservation. It was an extraordinary act, by an extraordinary boy.” Koontz continued, “Lassen Volcanic is in the process of converting its Crags Campground for use by youth groups. We’ll be asking Director Brunner to tell us what he thinks of our plans. I look forward to hearing his wise counsel.”
Lassen Volcanic National Park is located in northeast California, approximately 40 miles east of Redding. Founded in 1916, Lassen Volcanic contains all four of the world’s types of volcanoes, including active Lassen Peak and many geothermal sites. The Lassen Park Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization that supports Lassen Volcanic National Park. More about them is found at www.nps.gov/lavo and www.lassenparkfoundation.org.
Over Thanksgiving dinner, a public television travelog producer was discussing with family members where they planned to take their next vacation. His sister, who has taken her family to many resort destinations in the past, said she was considering a Disney Cruise. He asked if she’d ever taken the kids to a national park. She hadn’t and wasn’t considering visiting the parks. He was surprised and disappointed, and related the following.
His sister didn’t consider national parks as places her family would vacation, based on these factors:
1) Children greatly influence where the family vacations, today. They see advertising on national television programs that depict certain family vacations as filled with enticiing and fun activities for children and the entire family, but they never see commercials about the national parks. So, when parents ask kids where they would you like to go on vacation… the kids respond with places familiar to them or those they’ve seen on TV.
2) Working moms and dads want to relax on vacation. It’s their time to kick back and they’re not sure they can do that on a national park vacation.
3) National parks are a total unknown to today’s parents. Many have never visited the parks or have faint memories of them from visiting in their youth. They don’t know what they’d do on vacation in a national park, where they’re located, how to get there or why they should go. When they are considering where to vacation, they only think of places they can imagine themselves visiting and enjoying.
As my friend in public television cautioned, ocean conservationist Jacques Cousteau said, “People will only preserve that they love.” If today’s Americans have little interest or experience in visiting national parks today, will they fight to preserve them in the future?
The National Park Service and National Park Foundation, with the assistance of GREY are developing a million dollar promotional campaign. It begins with market research to better understand domestic visitation and opportunities to expand it. A $500,000 social media campaign follows, but far more promotion is needed to change family travel patterns. AdAge reports Disney spends “$124 million on measured media for its parks and resorts businesses.” That’s what the national parks are up against for share of voice.
Innovative means of funding a competitive advertising effort must be considered, or we risk failing to connect this millennium’s generation to the parks.
To inspire youth of color—and particularly African American youth—to get outside, get active, and become stewards of our wild places, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will run an expedition with African American participants who will attempt to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America, in June, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of the peak. This journey will involve a group of role models in the African American outdoor community learning and using valuable leadership skills, including expedition behavior, communication, and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, to work together toward achieving a common goal.
As one participant says in the following preview video, “The mountain doesn’t care if you’re Black,” but the example set by these black mountaineers could inspire a new generation to care about the outdoors. See more by playing this video.
What are kids doing in the national parks today? Watch this video to find out…
Under the theme “You can’t do better, until you know better,” The California Parks Company, a park concessioner, organizes trips for urban youth to farms to see from where food comes. FitKid is their program to provide incentives to children for making good choices about what they eat and experiencing the outdoors. Here’s a video of one of those trips.
CLICK HERE to read more about FitKid.
The National Park Service and the National Park Trust will launch the first National Kids to Parks Day on the National Mall, Fri., May 20. After a kick-off ceremony, 500 students will rotate through activity stations that promote physical fitness and environmental conservation.
More than 150 mayors across the country have signed proclamations declaring May 21 as National Kids to Parks Day in their city or town. They are encouraging families to explore a local, state, or national park and spend quality time in America’s great outdoors.
National Kids to Parks Day is endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside initiative, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative, America’s State Parks, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Education Association (NEA), Children’s National Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and the National Environmental Education Foundation.
Friday’s event occurs at the NE/NW Quadrant of the Washington Monument Grounds at 15th and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing to noon.
Of the top 15 places CNN Travel recommends kids see by age 15, eight are national parks.
The list includes:
- Grand Canyon NP, AZ
- Redwood N&SPs, CA
- Monticello, VA
- The Freedom Trail, MA
- Niagara Falls, NY
- National Mall & Memorial Parks, DC
- Colonial Williamsburg, VA
- Walt Disney World, FL
- Independence NHP, PA
- Alcatraz Is., GGNRA, CA
- Ellis Island NM, NY
- Yellowstone NP, WY
- Fenway Park, MA
- Craters of the Moon NM, ID
- San Diego Zoo, CA
CLICK HERE to read the entire story.