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More Kids in the Woods - Delaware, OH

Delaware, OH, May 9, 2008 - The Forestry Sciences Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station was granted $22,940 in federal funding to provide an outdoor education program for youths from Delaware City and Columbus Public Schools. In combination with matching funds from partners, the project will get more kids outside, up close and personal with nature so they can have fun, get dirty, get healthy, and learn! 

The local Forest Service group is partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Central Ohio, Columbus City Schools (Dana Elementary), Delaware City Schools (Willis Intermediate), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ohio Division of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, and Wayne National Forest to send 580 students to Camp Oty’Okwa. The camp, operated by BBBS, gives kids outdoor education experiences and structured camping programs to increase their awareness and understanding of the natural world and benefits of forest ecosystems.  The trips will occur in autumn 2008.

“I am thrilled to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio to provide Columbus and Delaware City Schools students the chance to experience the great outdoors by attending sessions at Camp Oty'Okwa in Hocking Hills,” said Joanne Rebbeck, a Forest Service scientist who spearheaded the local grant request process. “This funding will provide these youths the opportunity to explore the natural world up close with class trips and weekend overnights. We are working in partnership with energetic and enthusiastic scientists, botanists, foresters and youth program coordinators who will assist in the outdoor programs. Our primary goal is for the students to get connected to nature and to enjoy and appreciate its wonders".

Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell, announced the awards totaling a half-million dollars on April 24, to support More Kids in the Woods projects throughout the country. Rebbeck’s proposal was one of 16 to receive Forest Service matching funds. The projects will help urban and rural children connect to the land in a hands-on way.

“I want kids to understand the natural world and to know how important wildlands are to their quality of life.  By getting outdoors, kids will learn that forests and rangelands provide clean air, clean water and a multitude of goods and services for their benefit and for the benefit of future generations, and that the conservation of these lands is important.  I want kids to experience the great outdoors, whether it is a remote mountain wilderness or a spot of nature in the heart of a city,” said Chief Kimbell. 

The Forest Service has a long history of working with teachers, youth groups, and others educating children about the natural environment.   This year’s funding for More Kids in the Woods continues that tradition by helping children be better prepared to care for the land as they cope with climate change, demographic changes, and increasing demands for clean air, clean water and other benefits from nature.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit


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Last modified: May 9, 2008