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Get outside and enjoy the outdoors

When: June

What: America’s natural landscape has shaped its history as a nation, while efforts to protect these lands have played a vital role in global conservation. The U.S. government was the first in the world to set aside land as protected areas and created the world’s first national park. Now, Americans are continuing the effort to respect and value our lands and waterways with clean-ups, enhancement projects, and conservation studies. This June, work to better protect America’s natural spaces for the future during Great Outdoors Month.

Background: Great Outdoors Month was first held in 1998 by presidential proclamation. Since then, it has been held each June and celebrated throughout the country. The month recognizes America’s beautiful outdoor spaces, from local parks to grand waterways, and supports ways to protect, conserve and enjoy these places.

Story Pitch: A variety of companies and organizations that deal with outdoor activities can pitch around Great Outdoors Month. Manufacturers of outdoor gear, including products for camping, hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking, can promote their goods during the month. Products that are green or eco-friendly fit especially well with the month’s conservation goals. Local parks also have a chance to attract visitors by sharing the different outdoor sports and activities permitted, and can bring in newbies by holding special beginner classes. Additionally, businesses relying on local tourism have the chance to connect with outdoor-enthusiast travelers. Local groups dedicated to keeping natural spaces clean and well-protected may want to hold events, like river and trail clean-ups or invasive plant removal, to show the work that goes into preserving outdoor spaces for future generations. Children’s groups and schools have an opportunity to show the wonder of exploring the outdoors, and can educate parents on how activities in nature reinforce learning, provide exercise, and help children with attention problems.

Story Hook: In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, a national project to bring conservation into the 21st century. The initiative calls for scientific, community-based approaches to managing and preserving outdoor spaces including parks, waterways, farms, and forests. How are local communities fulfilling the goals of the initiative? How do conservation approaches differ depending on local needs and issues? Consider the following as you make your pitch:

  • What local areas are suffering from pollution, poor management or urban encroachment? Are there any nearby areas that have come back after revitalization and clean-up efforts?
  • What outdoor sports are popular locally? How can community members get started in a new outdoor hobby?
  • Farms and ranches are recognized as outdoor spaces with American heritage and history, but runoff from fertilizer and animal waste can damage nearby ecosystems. How are agricultural areas working to minimize this environmental impact?
  • What are easy ways to plan a trip to an outdoor destination, such as a major lake, park, or beach? How can visitors find information to help them plan where to visit, stay and travel?

Tips: An active outdoor enthusiast is a good contact to speak on why the outdoors is the perfect sporting arena. Additionally, a park ranger can discuss how to enjoy the outdoors without causing damage to trails, waterways or parks.

Resources:

America’s Great Outdoors
www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education
(810) 299-2782
nationaloffice(at)aore.org
www.aore.org

Outdoor Industry Association
(303) 444-3353
info(at)outdoorindustry.org
www.outdoorindustry.org

Recreation.gov
(877) 444-6777
www.recreation.gov

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events

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