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Mission Outdoors


Earth Day Morning in Washington, DC

by Jacqueline Ostfeld, National Youth Representative

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day was a jam-packed day for youth across Washington, DC and for BBTO. From the Early Show to the Buddy Bison Show, kids got outside and celebrated the importance of Earth Day.

The morning started just before dawn with a 6am visit to the Anacostia River, where Sierra Club, BBTO partner Earth Conservation Corps and the Anacostia Watershed Society were preparing for their live debut on CBS’s Early Show. The Earth Conservation Corps is a nonprofit youth development and community service organization located in Southeast Washington, DC, one of our nations most disadvantaged communities. Sierra Club Representative from the Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program, Irv Sheffey has been working with the Corps and other groups in Washington, DC to protect and restore the heavily polluted Anacostia River. Towards the end of 2009, BBTO entered into a partnership with Earth Conservation Corps to help ensure that more youth in our Nation’s capital had opportunities to get outdoors, learn about and protect their environments, and get their lives back on track. This Earth Day, the Anacostia River and the organizations working to restore it got the attention they deserve. Watch the CBS Early Show clip about the river and hear Sierra Club President Allison Chin discuss the importance of connecting kids with the outdoors during her interview with Dave Price.

From there, BBTO headed to the National Mall where we partnered with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Trust to host 650 children form Washington, DC for a day of nature games and exploration. The event opened up with a few songs by Ranger Jeff and Buddy Bison. National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar made brief opening remarks and then called the kids onto the stage for a sing and dance number called “Humps, Hooves and Horns” about bison. Following the songs and speeches, the kids had an opportunity to hike around the Mall with Park Rangers and visit a variety of stations where they participated in games and activities about the natural world. At the BBTO station, we played a variation of the game “bat and moth” with first and second graders, where students learned how bats find their prey. Two local BBTO partners also had stations, Earth Conservation Corps and the Alice Ferguson Foundation.


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