Earlier this month, President Trump released his "skinny budget" which broadly recommends to Congress how much money they should send to each agency, and how it should be spent. The White House is asking for a $54 billion increase in defense spending and an equal offset in domestic spending. These massive cuts across the federal government will have an impact on many programs that help OAK achieve it's mission to ensure all children, youth and families have equitable and readily available opportunities to connect with the outdoors. Here's a snapshot of what's on the President's recommended chopping block:
Elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which supports before- and after-school and summer programs for low-income kids, including outdoor programming.
A 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, including the elimination of more than 50 EPA programs. While the budget proposal does not identify the programs by name, reports suggest that the offices of environmental education and environmental justice are slated for elimination. RESOURCE: Learn more about the value of the National Environmental Education Act programs.
Zeroes out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education. The budget specifies elimination of the Sea Grant program. Other environmental education programs like Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) and competitive education grants are at risk.
An 11.7% cut to the Department of the Interior's budget would eliminate funding equal to the budgets of the 12 largest National Park Service units, including Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon; the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas inspection program; the U.S. Geological Survey’s landslide, earthquake and volcano hazard monitoring program; and the budget for every fish hatchery and National Wildlife Refuge visitor center across the country. While the proposal didn’t drill down into specifics related to youth, cuts this deep put all programs connecting children and youth with our parks and public lands in jeopardy.
Ultimately, Congress has the final say on the federal budget. Tell Congress to support AmeriCorps and environmental education programs by calling this number today: 1-855-980-2308.
OAK will be monitoring the budget process closely and advocating to save key programs that support our mission and values. Stay tuned for future alerts and opportunities to get involved.
Letter to Interior Secretary Zinke
Nearly 50 members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids sent a letter to our newly appointed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan K. Zinke. Together, we called on the new Secretary to convene a summit to advance a common vision to expand opportunities for children, youth and families to experience the outdoors, including strategies for addressing park equity and recreation access in local communities. The letter also urged Zinke to expand programs that get kids and youth outdoors; ensure all children have safe access to public parks and open spaces with a half mile of their homes; and protect and increase the resiliency of our parks and public lands.
Welcome Friends of the Assabet River
We're pleased to introduce you to OAK's newest member, the Friends of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts. The non-profit organization of volunteers works to protect and enhance the refuge's flora and fauna. Through stewardship activities, education and outreach programs, Friends work to ensure the refuge is available for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. Besides hosting many youth-centered events on the refuge, Friends believe Fort Assabet will be the model for hundreds of wildlife refuges around the country to permanently connect kids to nature, forever.
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"
On the Calendar: Click for Expanded View
You can help ensure kids have opportunities to get outdoors.
Do you represent an organization committed to OAK's mission?