Leadership Corner

Celebrate the great outdoors

June 16th, 2017 at 11:45AM

Photo: head shot of woman in Forest Service uniform. Behind her are the American and Forest Service flags.
Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief, National Forest System

June, Great Outdoors Month, is packed with great celebrations of nature and the love of outdoor pursuits. To celebrate, local Forest Service units and partners host a multitude of events to introduce our young ones as well as people of all ages to the delights of outdoor activities. Great Outdoors Month includes National Fishing and Boating Week, the Great American Backyard Campout, National Marina Days, the National Get Outdoors Day of Service — and all of these events share the same goal — connecting people to nature through great times.   

One of the many celebrations during Great Outdoors Month is National Pollinator Week. During National Pollinator Week (June 19–25), the Forest Service will join with partners across the country to put on community events celebrating the important role of pollinators in keeping us fed and keeping our grasslands and forests healthy and productive.

A few examples of the great work that has showcased our public lands this month include:

On June 3, the Forest Service, National Park Service and fishing partners, including Urban America Outdoors, co-hosted The Urban Kids Fishing Derby on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This event attracted more than 300 D.C. area children and their families for their first fishing experiences, where they caught little sunfish and smallmouth bass. Our employees baited lots of hooks and helped new anglers enjoy an activity while learning about fish and water.

On June 10, Gifford Pinchot National Forest helped host one of the largest GO Day events in the country. Deputy Forest Supervisor Angie Elam summed up the event perfectly, saying, “The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is excited to be a partner in hosting Get Outdoors Day, joining over 40 local partners — including adjacent national forests; national, state, county and local parks; nonprofit groups and outdoor clubs, health providers and community resources. It’s a wonderful event, helping introduce kids and their families to a variety of outdoor activities. Kids that are exposed to outdoor adventures become better learners, are more self-reliant, confident and physically fit. Outdoor activities also provide a great opportunity for family bonding. Through GO Day we are able to connect with hundreds of people and encourage them to explore, appreciate and steward all public lands.”

That’s why Great Outdoors Month is so important. And why more people come to experience the Forest Service through outdoor experiences than any other way. A special THANK YOU to all of the dedicated Forest Service employees who work with our partners to provide these great outdoor experiences. Thanks for teaching hundreds of kids to fish, canoe, ride, and camp…all while growing conservation stewards for the future. Many happy returns!

Photo: young boy holds fishing rod.
Peter Chesterton participates in the 2017 Urban Kids Fishing Derby, Constitution Gardens, Washington, D.C. Forest Service photo by Stephen Chesterton.

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