June 2015 Newsletter


This newsletter is available in PDF format

In this issue:

Governors Lead Efforts to Connect Youth and the Great Outdoors
June Is Great Outdoors Month™
Great Outdoors Month™ Events Get Thousands of People Outdoors
Partners Outdoors 2015 Brings Recreation Community Together in Washington, D.C.
Partners Outdoors Explores Digital Strategies for the Great Outdoors
Outreach & Promotion, 21st Century Style Are Focus of Partners Outdoors 2015 Day Two
Recreation Community Focuses on Getting Youth Outdoors
2015 Beacon and Legends Award Winners Honored at Partners Outdoors


Governors in 13 states across the country are joining forces with park agencies and other partners to introduce kids and families in their states to outdoor recreation through Capital Campouts during Great Outdoors Month™ – a national celebration of the benefits of outdoor recreation throughout the month of June.

Governors John Hickenlooper (CO), Jack Markell (DE), Mike Pence (IN), Terry Branstad (IA), Sam Brownback (KS), Charlie Baker (MA), Jay Nixon (MO), Steve Bullock (MT), Maggie Hassan (NH), Gina Raimondo (RI), Terry McAuliffe (VA), Jay Inslee (WA), and Matt Mead (WY) are each hosting events in or near their capital cities – a remarkably bipartisan group of national leaders.

America’s youth now average more than seven hours a day of screen time – reflecting more sedentary lifestyles with serious health risks. For years, leading physicians have touted healthy, active fun outdoors as a remedy to this trend. Through the Campouts and the media attention generated, the Governors are serving as champions of fun outdoors, helping national youth organizations and public lands and waters managers highlight the year-round opportunities available close to home.

Several Capital Campouts have already taken place, drawing several thousand participants. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead hosted the first-ever bilingual Campout May 16 – participants even learned how to cook fajitas over a campfire! On May 30, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Bass Pro Shops hosted the first Outdoor Days at the Capitol and Governor’s Campout attended by more than 5,000 people. Governors Terry Branstad (IA) and Charlie Baker (MA) hosted their first campouts as well June 5. For the latest details on Capitol Campouts, including information on just-held Campouts in Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, click here

Campouts are made possible by a wide range of agencies and partners led by the state park agencies and Great Outdoors Month™ Founding Sponsor The Coleman Company, Inc., which is donating camping supplies, gear and funding to engage youth with an outdoor recreation experience. Other partners are also enthusiastically participating in the Campouts, including Delaware North Companies, Whole Foods, Albertsons, the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, Revolution Foods and many more.

Many of the Capital Campouts will focus on 4th graders – a prime age for introducing outdoor activities and efforts to turn those activities into lifelong pursuits. Capital Campouts support the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, which will strive to get four million 4th graders to national and state parks for a day of fun and learning each year, beginning this September, and will continue for many years. Under the new federal initiative, 4th graders and their families will get free access to national parks and recreation sites for a year.

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The nation’s top elected officials often disagree on many issues – but they completely agree that Americans need to spend more time in the nation’s parks, forests, refuges and other public spaces. Proclaimed by the President (see the attachment) and each Governor, Great Outdoors Month™ is a bipartisan celebration of America=s diverse and treasured outdoor recreation places and the passion Americans have for conservation and volunteerism.

“During Great Outdoors Month™, Governors, communities, business leaders, and organizations will host thousands of events across the country to celebrate our unparalleled outdoors. I encourage Americans to participate in these activities and to take the time to experience the natural grandeur of our Nation. As we enjoy these magnificent places, let us rededicate ourselves to doing our part to preserve them for all future explorers, adventurers, and environmental stewards.” President Barack Obama.

Events across the country celebrate Great Outdoors Month™ and help Americans respond to calls by the President and the Governors to hike, bike, fish, camp, boat and otherwise enjoy the outdoors. The events include: free fishing opportunities and more during National Fishing and Boating Week (June 6-14); thousands of work and fun events on American Hiking Society's National Trails Day (June 6); National Marina Day and National Get Outdoors Day, both offering easy introductions to outdoor fun (June 13); National Wildlife Federation=s Great American Campout (June 27) and more. See information on Great Outdoors Month™ events at greatoutdoorsmonth.org.

National partners including The Coleman Company, OFF! and hundreds of federal, state, corporate and nonprofit organizations support Great Outdoors Month's™ goal to connect all Americans with our Great Outdoors B even reaching those who rarely get outdoors for healthy, active fun. Most enjoyment of the Great Outdoors comes through visits to public lands and waters covering one-third of the nation, including state and national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges and federally-managed lakes. Yet many younger and urban Americans have trouble identifying fun outdoors things to do and where to go. With little marketing and promotion and easily overlooked signage, public recreation sites are near-invisible. The Month’s partners are using social media and websites like recreation.gov and americasstateparks.org to change that.

Great Outdoors Month™ partners include America's State Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, American Recreation Coalition, American Hiking Society, the National Wildlife Federation and many others. To read the proclamations of Great Outdoors Month, go to greatoutdoorsmonth.org.

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Great Outdoors Month™ kicked off early in 2015 with the National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day. Almost 600,000 children, families, teachers and more participated in this year’s Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide day of outdoor play organized by the National Park Trust in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators. This year’s Kids to Parks Day was held on Saturday, May 16, the week before the official start of summer.

June 6 was American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, the country’s largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events took place in every state across the country and included hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more. For more information, visit americanhiking.org.

The first weekend in June also marked the beginning of National Fishing and Boating Week, coordinated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. National Fishing and Boating Week celebrates the importance of recreational boating and fishing in enhancing people's quality of life and preserving our country's natural beauty. Most states offer free fishing days during National Fishing and Boating Week, which are perfect opportunities for beginners to try out fishing for the first time. For more information, visit greatoutdoorsmonth.org.

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Partners Outdoors 2015 was conducted in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of the Interior, with keynoters like former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer and White House CIO Tony Scott joined by top-notch general session panelists addressing digital strategies for the Great Outdoors, 21st Century outreach and promotion, and new ways to connect America’s youth with their great outdoors.

Major portions of the program were livestreamed, watched by more than 1,200+ across the nation, and can be seen here. Partners Outdoors participants joined other recreation-community leaders on the rooftop of the Interior Department for the Great Outdoors Month™ Ice Cream Social, again sponsored by Unilever Ice Cream.

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Day One of Partners Outdoors 2015 began with a welcome by U.S. Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner. Former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer followed, discussing the use of technology to get youth and families outdoors, use of mobile and geospatial technology to better understand the environment, and ways participants can journal their experiences with new apps.

The group was then joined by White House Digital Services playbook crafter Charles Worthington and Presidential Innovation Fellow Christopher Goranson to explain lessons learned from the U.S. Digital Services and the myAmerica Developer Summit. Jon Christensen and Dan Rademacher from Stamen Design, and Ryan Branciforte and Jereme Monteau, Trailhead Labs, also joined Partners Outdoors on Crowd Sourcing Data for Trails.

White House CIO Tony Scott dropped by to close out Day One’s first session with a discussion of government for the Digital Age.

Session Two focused on ideas for promoting our public lands and waters through contemporary social media with presentations by USFS’ Susan Alden, Vail Resorts VP Beth Ganz and National Forest Foundation Executive VP Ray Foote on the It's All Yours Campaign featuring PSAs and more. Vail Resorts’ VP Beth Ganz described Vail’s EpicMix pass, which allows skiers to track their progress around the mountain. Yonder Director of Partnerships Emily Boyd explained its #ExperiencetheOutdoors campaign.

Day One was livestreamed. Session One can be viewed here and Session Two can be viewed here.

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Partners Outdoors Day Two began with an opening presentation by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Moore, who showed the video “Have You Ever Seen a Black Hiker” to jumpstart a conversation on breaking down stereotypes in the Great Outdoors.

Scott Williams, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, The Newseum, kicked off the next panel; Trends in 21st Century Communication. Scott noted that the Newseum, which charges an entrance fee, successfully competes with free DC venues including Smithsonian museums. Meghan Moran, Vice President, Adfero; and Travis Seward, Vice President, USA Today Travel Media Group, rounded out the panel, outlining Facebook, Google and other strategies.

This panel was followed by a powerful two-hour interactive session by Terrence McNally of The Goodman Center on the importance of storytelling and narrative in bringing your message to consumers.

The afternoon session began with a report on initial results of the Find Your Park campaign by National Park Service Centennial Coordinator Alexa Viets and National Park Foundation VP of Marketing Angie Hearn. The session also featured presentations by Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation President and CEO Frank Peterson and Latino Outdoors Founder José González, both on connecting the Latino audience with their Great Outdoors.

Day Two was livestreamed. Session One can be viewed here, and Session Two can be viewed here.

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon opened Day Three’s session on Youth and the Outdoors with a video message welcoming participants to the day’s Partners Outdoors activities, and Missouri State Parks Director Bill Bryan joined Partners Outdoors to report on Missouri’s first Governor’s Campout and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Days at the Capitol.

Stories from the field followed, featuring: Joneen Cockman, Lead Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, and Hailey Buell and Shawn Nelson, Interns, BLM-EAS STEM Partnership, on the Gila River Restoration; Jennifer Brown, Human Resources Director, and Dorell Boyd, Youth Representative, on the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia; and Tracy Hajduk, Acting National Education Coordinator, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA, and Victor Cabrera, Alumnus, on Ocean for Life.

Cartoonist Jim Toomey, author of Sherman’s Lagoon, delivered a keynote presentation Drawing Inspiration from the Sea, which included live drawing of his character, Sherman.

Jim Toomey’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion on private-sector perspectives on youth engagement featuring: Rachel Gauza, Education Outreach Coordinator, Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Christine Fanning, Executive Director, Outdoor Foundation; and Lynda Breault, Vice President, Arizona’s Salt River Tubing; and Amy Best, Vice President of Government Affairs, American Express.

Partners Outdoors ended on a high note with a report on the launch of the Agents of Discovery game earlier that day on the National Mall. Mary Clark – Agents of Discovery President – and representatives from Microsoft were joined by numerous children who shared their perspectives on the new game, designed to get children engaged – and active – in the great outdoors.

Day Three was livestreamed and can be viewed here.

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Partners Outdoors 2015 featured the presentation of the annual Beacon Awards for use of technology to aid recreation and recreation program management on Day One of the conference. Kol Peterson (U.S. Forest Service), Michael Liang (National Park Service), Lisa Cox (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) and Ryan Braaten (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) were all recognized for their creative use of technology to connect with the public and improve visitor experiences. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service and Agents of Nature were recognized for their imaginative use of gaming to engage young people.

ARC’s Legends Award winners were also honored on Day One -- federal agency staffers who have done remarkable things to connect Americans to the Great Outdoors. The Legends were honored in the Department of the Interior’s South Penthouse. Recipients were: Trish Kicklighter (National Park Service), Chuck Frayer (U.S. Forest Service), Rocky Rockwell (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), David Baker (Bureau of Land Management), Ryan Alcorn (Bureau of Reclamation), Walt Tegge (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) and Sandy Zimmer (Federal Highway Administration). Legends Awards winners inspired us with their commitment and energy to connecting us to the outdoors.

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