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IN THIS ISSUE

Take Action for AmeriCorps

Preservation of Public Lands a Top Priority for Americans

A Hike Through History

Let's Hear it for the Girls

The North Face Explore Fund

National Trails Day

NatureCat Curriculum

Wired to be Outside
CALENDAR AND UPCOMING EVENTS
3/15/17: OAK Policy Action Team Call
3/21/17: OAK Monthly Steering Committee Call
4/15-16/17: Fee-Free Days for National Park Week
4/18-21/17: Children & Nature Network Conference & Summit
4/22-23/17: Fee-Free Days for National Park Week
5/20/17: Kids to Parks Day
6/3/17: National Trails Day
OAK Members, we want to hear from you! Please submit stories, organizational updates, or upcoming events and opportunities to our blog, social media platforms, and this newsletter.
Do you represent a business or non-profit organization committed to getting kids and youth outdoors? Consider becoming a member!
TO THE OUTDOORS ALLIANCE FOR KIDS
Take Action for AmeriCorps
As part of OAK's Environmental Stewardship pillar, OAK supports efforts to engage youth and young adults in career pathway programs that steward and help maintain public lands. Today, one of these critical programs is at risk. The Corporation for National and Community Service - including AmeriCorps - is now on a short list of federal programs the Administration could propose to eliminate. AmeriCorps provides young people with opportunities to serve our country, and helps them find careers in conservation and other public service sectors. Take action to help save service in America by calling your member of Congress today! After making your call, consider sharing on social media. Sample tweet: .@AmeriCorps is on the chopping block. Save service and call your members of Congress today! http://p2a.co/fr2za4s #AmeriCorpsWorks

Preservation of Public Lands a Top Priority for AmericansA new poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association reaffirms America's love for public lands. The majority (82 percent) of Americans polled say it's important to preserve public lands, such as local, state and national parks, illustrating the necessity of making the permanent re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund a priority or lawmakers and the new administration. 

Outdoor Afro Leaders on the Appalachian Trail 
Photo Credit: Brittany Leavitt & Outdoor Afro

A Hike Through History
The Appalachian Trail coincides with another famous path: one of the routes for the Underground Railroad. Appalachian Trail Conservancy chronicled the journey of seven Outdoor Afro hikers as they followed in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman on a four-day backpacking trip, retracing the historical route of the Underground Railroad.  

During Black History Month (and every month) we pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society, and the Underground Railroad is an important part of this history. Here's a list of National Park Service historic sites honoring black history.


Let's Hear It for the Girls
In the past decade, girls in the U.S. have experienced rapid demographic, social, economic, and technological changes. A lead researcher from the Girl Scout Research Institute presented findings on a webinar from their recently released first-of-its-kind report series, The State of Girls. The report series focuses on the health and well-being of the 26 million girls in the U.S., documenting trends in girls' well-being from before the Great Recession to present day.



The North Face Explore Fund grants

The North Face Explore Fund grant cycle is now open! A total of $500,000 is available for nonprofits that provide their participants with outdoor experiences and environmental stewardship opportunities. Organizations are encouraged to find ways to increase diversity and access the outdoors for underrepresented populations. Together, we want to inspire and enable a lifelong love of the outdoors. Applications are open through April 5th. To help track how applicants discover this grant opportunity, please enter this invitation code when you apply: TNFOAK.


National Trails Day
Save the date: National Trails Day is Saturday, June 3rd! Hosted by American Hiking Society and community partners, National Trails Day is a nationally coordinated event to unite all muscle-powered trail activities with the goal of connecting more people to trails, and to promote stewardship and increase public commitment to these treasured places. Sign up to host or find an event at a trail near you to introduce more people to hiking, biking, and other fun trail activities!



NatureCat Nature Curriculum

PBS Kids' Nature Cat has produced free nature curriculum for three-to-seven year olds! The nature activities are designed for a variety of uses including museums, schools and child-care settings, and include both indoor and outdoor activities to accommodate a wide range of settings. 


Wired to be Outside
Science continues to demonstrate what we intuitively know: nature - and water! - make us happy. In her new book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, author Florence Williams reveals what goes on in our brains when we step outdoors, and why we are wired to be outside. Additional studies demonstrate how spending time by the water positively impacts mental health by reducing depression, increasing creativity, and more!

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