Great Outdoors America Week, June 22-26, 2014

Jun 19, 2014
Advocates and enthusiasts come to Washington to launch public-private jobs projects for youth and vets, attend briefings on the outdoors economy, diversity

Great Outdoors America Week draws people to Washington DC to celebrate our natural heritage and advocate for preserving public lands and outdoor experiences for all Americans.  Events this year include a hike along the Anacostia RIverwalk led by Outdoor Afro, nature activities led by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, briefings on Capitol Hill about using nature in healing veterans, engaging Latino youth and the outdoor recreation economy, and a screening of a film about the first African American team to attempt to reach the summit of Denali, North America’s highest peak.  


Sunday, June 22nd

Welcome Hike on the Anacostia Riverwalk with Outdoor Afro (9:00 AM)

Description: The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail serves as a backbone of the Anacostia Waterfront, connecting residents, visitors and communities to the river and most importantly, one another.  It spans both east of the Anacostia through National Park Service’s Anacostia Park, to the west through the newly renovated Navy Yards. 

Once complete, the trail will allow seamless pedestrian and bicycle travel between the Tidal Basin in downtown DC and Bladensburg Marina Park in Maryland.  Outdoor Afro is a national organization with the mission to reconnect African-Americans to nature.

Location: Anacostia Park, meet at the Skating Pavilion

Tuesday, June 24th

Fifty Conservation Projects for the 50th Anniversary (8:30 – 10:00 AM)

Description: Event with Administration officials, conservation corps and The Wilderness Society to launch the 50 for the 50th Project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Society and the Public Lands Service Coalition will honor America’s wilderness and the efforts to protect wild places through 50 conservation service corps projects in 50 wild places across the country in the Fifty for the 50th project. See details at  

Breakfast: 8:30 – 9:00 am

Presentation: 9:00-10:00 am

Location:  The Wilderness Society; 1615 M Street NW, Washington DC; Ansel Adams Gallery;

Farragut North or Farragut West metro stops


  • Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, US Department of Agriculture
  • Michael Carroll, National Partnership Director, The Wilderness Society
  • Mary Ellen Sprenkel, Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC
  • Jono McKinney, Montana Conservation Corp
  • Michael Richter, Montana Conservation Corp
  • Anthony Ciacco, Conservation Legacy
  • Agnes Vianzon, California Conservation Corp
  • Priscilla Flores, California Conservation Corp


BRIEFING: Building the Next Generation of Diverse, Nature-Smart Leaders (12:00 – 1:30 pm)

Description: Join The Natural Leaders Network in partnership with The REI Foundation, The Hispanic Access Foundation, The Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies and the Wilderness Society for an engaging conversation about the role of Latino youth in the future of the conservation and outdoor recreation, including existing legislative, nonprofit and federal agency programs.

Location:  Room SD-562 of the Senate Office Building


  • Moderator: Ray Rivera, Vice President of Elected Leadership for Leadership for Educational Equity. Ray served in President Obama’s Administration at the Obama-Biden Transition, Department of the Interior and at the White House where he directed multi-sector public engagement efforts as a senior executive political appointee
  • Honorable Patty Murray – United States Senator, Washington and
  • Honorable Ben Ray Lujan – United States Representative, New Mexico


  • Juan Martinez – Director, Natural Leaders Network, Board Member, Sierra Club Foundation
  • Maite Arce - Hispanic Access Foundation, President & CEO
  • Marc Berejka – Recreation Equipment Inc, Foundation, President
  • Michael Casaus – The Wilderness Society, New Mexico Director
  • Dr. Brian Smedley – The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Vice President

Refreshments: Lunch will be served


Film Screening of NOLS Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors (Tuesday 5:00 pm–8:15 pm)

Description: In June, 2013, nine remarkable mountaineers sought to make history and build a legacy. Join us for a presentation and screening of the feature-length film about NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) Expedition Denali, the first African American team to attempt to summit North America’s tallest peak. Learn more about the expedition at

Reception: With artisanal pizza and soft drinks: 5:00–6:00 pm

Presentation/Film/Q&A: 6:15–8:15 pm

Location: Jefferson Auditorium, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. , Washington, DC

Contact: RSVP required, Kindly email

Speakers: NOLS Expedition Denali Team Members, representatives of GirlTrek: Take a Walk, Join a Movement and City Kids Wilderness Project, and Distill Productions, LLC.


Wednesday, June 25th

Outdoors Alliance for Kids River and Outdoor Festival (9:00 am – Noon)

Description: Description: Featuring Wilderness Inquiry’s CanoeMobile and outdoor activity stations hosted by OAK member organizations. 100+ local youth will participate in nature-based activities on the water and on land.

Location: Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg, MD 20710

Contact:  Contact:

Press Event – 11:00 am

Speakers (Invited):

  • Honorable Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell
  • Honorable Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy
  • Honorable Mayor Coleman, Minneapolis, MN
  • Honorable Assistant Secretary of the Army, Jo-Ellen Darcy
  • Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society


BRIEFING:  Renewable Energy and Conservation (10:00 – 11:00 AM)

Description: In addition to iconic wild places and world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, our public lands provide wind, solar and geothermal resources that can help our country transition to a clean energy future.  This briefing will cover the status of renewable energy development on public lands and opportunities where we can advance clean energy while investing in conservation and the outdoors, including the public lands Renewable Energy Development Act.

Location: Longworth House Office 1732

Speakers (Invited):

  • Representative Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
  • Juan DeLara – Salton Sea Action Committee
  • Eric Fitzer – Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
  • Kyle Davis – Nevada Clean Energy Project
  • Chase Huntley – The Wilderness Society (Moderator)


BRIEFING: Outdoor Recreation Economy & Public Lands Conservation (Wednesday, 12:30–1:30)

Description: Outdoor recreation contributes $646 billion to the economy each year and supports 6 million jobs. Outdoor industry business leaders will speak about the between conservation and the outdoor recreation economy and why policymakers need to take action now to support of this vital part of the US economy.

Note: Lunch will be provided

Location: Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485

Speakers (invited):

  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (D- NM)
  • John Sterling, Executive Director, Conservation Alliance
  • Marc Berejka, Director – Government and Community Affairs, Recreation Equipment Inc.
  • Jessica Wahl, Recreation Policy Advisor, Outdoor Industry Association
  • Ashley Korenblat, Executive Director, Public Lands Solutions
  • Lucas Herndon, New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce/Friends of Organ Mountains


BRIEFING: Veterans Changing the Paradigm - The effects of nature and the healing of our veterans in the outdoors (1:30–2:30 pm)

Description: Sierra Club, Georgetown University and Outward Bound will announce a new effort to add an outdoor therapy component to the Veterans Administration’s (VA) existing PTSD and TBI based treatment. The project, launching later this year, will develop recommendations for the VA to integrate outdoor therapy into their existing mental health treatment.

Project Partners: Sierra Club Outdoors, Outward Bound, Project Rebirth, University of California Berkeley, Georgetown University

Note: Beverages and Snacks will be served

Location: Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485

Speakers (invited):

  • Mike Quigley, Arizona State Director, The Wilderness Society (Co-Founder Veterans Wilderness Writing Workshop)
  • Joshua Brandon and Stacy Bare, Sierra Club
  • University of California at Berkeley Professor (TBA)
  • Dr. Jennifer Woolard, Georgetown University
  • Helen Rafferty, Executive Director, Project Rebirth


GROUP PHOTO (4:00 – 5:00 PM)

Description: Participants gather at Capitol for group photo memorializing the 4th annual GO America Week.

Location: West steps of the Capitol.



Michael Carroll, The Wilderness Society, 970-946-9043,

Michael Reinemer
202-429-3949 or 703-966-9574