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The National Forest Foundation and USDA Forest Service Launch Nature Connects Us Campaign

USDA Forest Service News Release

Missoula, MT, -

The National Forest Foundation (NFF), the congressionally-chartered nonprofit working to improve and restore the health of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, and USDA Forest Service announced today the “Nature Connects Us” outreach campaign which sparks awakening and strengthening of all peoples’ connection to national forests and grasslands.

This campaign is grounded in honoring ancestral tribal homelands through respectful and mindful visitor experiences and was born out of the need to grow and understand the respect that public lands require on a deeper level. The NFF and Forest Service personnel worked with multiple external Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging consultants, organizations, the public, and the Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations to cultivate an outreach campaign designed to help all peoples and communities experience the physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and economic benefits provided by the National Forest System whilst feeling safe and welcome.

“We recognize how important it is to encourage a connection to stunning public lands to the greater public, especially in a way that feels all-encompassing, which is ultimately why the Nature Connects Us campaign came to life,” said Mary Mitsos, President and CEO of the NFF. “Through holding space for respectful, inclusive, and responsive conversations, we aim to welcome all peoples to enjoy the outdoors in a manner that amplifies who they are as an individual and members of a larger community.

Through listening, learning, and taking action, the NFF has collaborated with the Forest Service to enhance the truth behind the phrase “Nature Connects Us,” to bring this campaign to life.

“The Forest Service has an important responsibility for managing millions of acres of lands and waters that are the ancestral homelands of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “This campaign is an opportunity to honor these tribes and their connection to these landscapes, and to help all peoples and communities realize the benefits provided by national forests and grasslands.”

“Mitákuye Oyás'iŋ is a Lakota concept meaning “we are all related.” This lifeway lies at the core of the values of the Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations: Compassion; Courage; Gratitude; Honesty; Humility; Wisdom; Respect. Nature and people are not different, but one in the same and equal, living in a relationship of reciprocity,” said Reed Robinson, director of the Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations. “By realizing deep gratitude for everything nature does for us, respecting our living and non-living relatives, asking how we can care for nature, and honoring national forests and grasslands as tribal homelands, can we begin to understand that nature connects us.”

This outreach campaign is the largest and most comprehensive outreach campaign that the Forest Service has collaborated on with the NFF throughout their partnership over the past several decades.

To learn more about the Nature Connects Us campaign, visit https://natureconnectsus.org, and explore the diverse ways in which nature can be experienced.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/newsroom/releases/national-forest-foundation-and-usda-forest-service-launch-nature