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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

USFS Wants More Kids in the Woods

girl reading interpretive sign
photo from USFS
a news release of The USDA Forest Service

The loss of connection between children and nature is an issue that incites passion and shared commitment among Forest Service employees. Establishing and renewing a child’s affinity to nature is a shared responsibility that transcends all agency functional areas. In 2007, we initiated a funding opportunity “More Kids in the Woods” for cost share projects to emphasize our continuing commitment to children. The positive results from this effort underscore our leading role in reconnecting children to nature. By continuing to work with our partners, we can expand our potential for even greater success.

The US Forest Service is pleased to issue a call for proposals for Fiscal Year 2009 with $500,000 to be awarded. The program requires partnering with a Forest Service unit to submit an application. The primary objective of the More Kids in the Woods cost-share funding is to effectively engage children in meaningful and sustained outdoor experiences, thereby increasing awareness and understanding of the natural world and the benefits of forest and grassland ecosystems. This funding opportunity leverages our efforts, builds upon our existing partnerships, and will help build relationships with new partners. The requested Forest Service More Kids in the Woods funds must be matched by non-Forest Service contributions, cash or in-kind, in a ratio of at least 1:1. The maximum amount available for a single project is $50,000 while the minimum is $5,000. Reports on activities and project results will be required for funded projects.

Proposals should be prepared in close collaboration with partners and be submitted by Forest Service units. Please follow instructions in the attachment for preparing your proposals. An electronic form for submitting proposals is also provided. A receipt of confirmation will be returned. Integrated Region/Station/Area teams will review and rank the proposals submitted in each geographic area. An official memorandum with the R/S/A’s top rankings will be sent to the Washington Office. The Washington Office will use the top rankings to make the final selections.

We already have many well recognized programs and activities that align with the goal of connecting children to nature. Whether you submit a proposal for a cost share project or not, I encourage you to work toward ensuring that every child in America, along with their parents, has an opportunity to intimately explore the natural world. Thank you for your efforts in this meaningful endeavor.

For more information, contact Kristen Nelson, Interpretive Services Program Manager, at 202-205-1406, or Drew Burnett, Assistant Director, Conservation Education Program, at 202-205-1781.

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