Northern Research Station News Releases
- Jane Hodgins651-649-5281
More Kids in the Woods - New York City
New York, NY, May 9, 2008 - The New York City Urban Field Station of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station was granted $35,000 in federal funding to provide an outdoor education program for underserved youth from the Bronx. 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 NYC Urban Field Station is working with local nonprofit Trees New York, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Garden and Greening Program, and the Mosholu Montifiore Community Center to develop a youth environmental education and employment program in the Bronx focused on urban forest stewardship. The project will take place in various NYCHA Developments in the Bronx, and is conducted in partnership with Forest Service Region 9 Urban Connections Program and Black Rock Forest. The project provides hands-on education in tree care, tree identification, tree pit gardening, tree inventory and park land habitat restoration, outdoor recreational activities and two service learning projects. Students will begin learning about trees “in their own backyard” by working on site assessment of NYCHA developments, then they will work in local park forest restoration, followed by trips to Inwood Park in Manhattan and Black Rock Forest, 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Highlands. The students will receive stipends from the NYC Department of Community Development through the Summer Youth Employment Program.
”This pilot project will work intensively for an entire summer with a small, select group of teenagers in the Bronx, teaching them technical skills, restoration practices, and research questions related to urban forestry. The project starts right where the youth live and broadens out to include the neighborhood and the region. By providing paid employment for these teens, an empowerment model is being implemented that can potentially be replicated more broadly by NYCHA or other agencies and nonprofits. As efforts like the Million Trees Campaign and the projects of PlaNYC progress, there is a need to continually explore new models for cultivating urban environmental stewards, particularly amongst our youth,” said Northern Research Station researcher Lindsay Campbell.
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. Campbell’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. Locally, the Forest Service supported the Harlem Link Charter School in 2007 to develop a Nature Fieldwork Partnership as a part of the inaugural More Kids in the Woods funding. 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 www.fs.usda.gov/.
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