Get Outdoors! Alaska collaborative brings together similar groups from around the state

The Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition isn’t the only group in Alaska trying to find ways to get more people, especially kids and families, outdoors for recreation.

The Children in Nature Collaborative of Alaska, which has the Get Outdoors! Alaska website, is a collaborative group of projects from around the state trying to do the same thing we are. The collaborative has local groups from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau and Kotzebue.

Since many of them are doing the same work we are, it might be good to check out some of their activities to see if we can use them as models. Here are some brief descriptions of the group members, as provided by Kristen Romanoff of the Juneau Children Outdoors Community Coalition.

  • Juneau — The Juneau Children Outdoors Community Coalition was formed following a May 2009 community forum. The coalition has put the following ideas into action: a communications network with outdoor opportunities posted on a Google group site and in the Community Calendar; a seminar series for parents and childcare providers: Science and Nature Throughout the Day, and collaborative events such as the Children’s Outdoor Clothing Exchange, Walk to School Days, the Spring Equinox Jamboree and Southeast Alaska’s First Annual BioBlitz. To subscribe to the Juneau Children Outdoors Community Coalition’s listserve and learn about upcoming outdoor opportunities for families, please sign up at http://groups.google.com/group/Juneau-children-outdoors or contact Kristen Romanoff at 465-4292.
  • Homer — The Nature Rocks Homer (NRH) community coalition first gathered in October 2008 and is currently made up of over 60 Homer area residents. In May 2010, members hosted the event, Mud Games at The Wallow, with development of a permanent local mud wallow for family fun. Contact NRH chairperson Carmen Field at 226-4659 to subscribe to the Homer coalition’s listserve and learn about coalition activities and upcoming outdoor opportunities for families at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=143156071365&ref=mf .
  • Fairbanks — The Fairbanks group started informally in 2009 with interested partners gathering to discuss the Get Outdoors USA and No Child Left Inside movements. The group felt as though there are many places to get out and explore around Fairbanks and that there were also many opportunities for children and adults in the Fairbanks area. Given that, the group’s efforts were directed towards bringing awareness about the value of Children and Nature and helping to develop a website (Note, no Fairbanks link found) that could act as a centralized clearinghouse of opportunities and locations that get people outside.
  • AnchorageStakeholders began to meet the spring of 2008, culminating in the “Get Outdoors Anchorage! Working Summit” that brought together more than 100 participants to learn from experts in this field and to begin development of a strategic plan for the Anchorage area. During the winter of 2009 the group met to further develop and implement a plan. In the fall of 2009, Anchorage hosted Martin LeBlanc at a community event. The following December an outdoor event was hosted at Russian Jack Park for the Boys and Girls Club. The Anchorage coalition has grown and now has over twenty partners.
  • Kotzebue — Residents in Kotzebue formed the Arctic Family Outdoor Coalition to provide opportunities for families and children in Northwest Alaska to engage in healthy outdoors activity (note, Google group page requires membership to view).

Kristen also forwarded a presentation she gave at Juneau’s first community forum, a copy of some project/outreach efforts by her group, and a copy of the community action guide from the Children and Nature Network which she said provided a lot of help in her planning. We can discuss this more when the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition meets at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

• Juneau Community Forum presentation (opens as PDF file)

• Juneau Children Outdoors Community Coalition project ideas (PDF file)

• Community action guide from the Children and Nature Network (PDF file)

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