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The Outdoor Foundation today applauded the creation of a new Office of Youth by Secretary of Interior Salazar. The new office will coordinate a department-wide youth program to introduce young Americans from all backgrounds to the beauty, values and importance of our national parks and monuments, refuges, public and tribal lands and to promote an ethic of and appreciation for volunteerism and conservation among young people. This new initiative will serve as an important step toward the critical need to connect youth with the outdoors.
Today’s youth spend less time outdoors than any previous generation. Consider that an average young person spends 6 hours a day in front of a computer or TV and less than 4 minutes playing outdoors. This â€œnature deficit disorderâ€ is a serious new condition unique to the current generation and linked to serious psychological and physical health issues including an epidemic in child obesity, increasing cases of depression and attention disorders as well as rising rates of environmental illiteracy.
â€œThe Outdoor Foundation applauds the leadership and vision of Secretary Salazar,â€ said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of The Outdoor Foundation. â€œWe look forward to working with the Secretary and his talented team to explore public-private partnership ideas that will connect youth with the outdoors and inspire the next generation of environmental enthusiasts and stewards.â€
For many years, Secretary Salazar has been a strong advocate for youth â€“ supporting such successful initiatives as the groundbreaking Youth in Natural Resources program in Colorado. “The purpose of the office will be to build our programs, to expand opportunities for young people, teach them to hunt and fish, and coordinate our efforts across the bureaus,” Salazar said. “We can and we must do more to use our great landscapes as classrooms and pathways for opportunity for America’s children of all backgrounds.”
About The Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, The Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. For more information visit www.outdoorfoundation.org.