Bronze Star Recipient Stacy Bare New Mission Outdoors Director
On July 16, former U.S. Army Captain and Bronze Star recipient Stacy Bare was named director of the Sierra Club's Mission Outdoors program. Formerly a representative for the Club's Military Families & Veterans Initiative, Bare served in Bosnia and Iraq and spent time as a civilian explosive ordnance disposal technician in Angola and the Republic of Georgia.
That's Bare in the blue parka atop 14,411-foor Mt. Rainier—highest peak in the Cascade Range—the week before he officially took the reins of Mission Outdoors. From left to right: Luis Benitez, Bare, Nick Watson, and Chad Butrick. (Watson and Butrick are fellow veterans.) Last fall, Bare helped train eight veterans in mountaineering and accompanied them on a September 11 ascent of the Grand Teton in Wyoming to commemorate 9/11.
After receiving the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Baghdad during the Iraq War, Bare returned to the States and completed his Masters in City Planning and Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
It was during this time that he first began to struggle with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To combat the affliction, he turned to rock-climbing and the outdoors, which he credits with allowing him to rebuild his life.
"Life experience has left me believing in the healing power of time spent in nature," he says. "Access to our nation's outdoors spaces and wild places—around the corner and across the country—ought not to be exclusive. I look forward to leading Mission Outdoors and ensuring that access to nature is available to anyone who wants and needs it."
Mission Outdoors is comprised of four Sierra Club programs: Building Bridges to the Outdoors; Inner City Outings; Local Outings; and the Military Families & Veterans Initiative. "Taken together, these programs embody the heritage and spirit of John Muir's vision to connect America to the great outdoors," Bare says.
Bare intends to more fully integrate Mission Outdoors into the Club's conservation work and ensure that all factions of the Club know about the tools and experience that outings and inner city outings leaders and volunteers bring to the table.
In late June, Bare was in Washington, D.C., for Great Outdoors America Week, which was organized by Mission Outdoors staff. That's Bare at center below, with his tie flapping in the breeze.
Volunteer activists met with their elected leaders and members of the Obama administration to talk about protecting our public lands, providing more opportunities for Americans to connect with the great outdoors, and adequately supporting the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Mission Outdoors also hosted sixty youth organized by Baltimore Inner City Outings Chair Nicole Veltre and another dozen youth from Outdoor Nation to present Great Outdoors America Champion awards to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, above, and Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland, below, for their leadership connecting America with the outdoors.
"The week was a big success," Bare says, "bringing together Mission Outdoors, the Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats program, and dozens of other conservation groups to share a unified message to our national leaders about the importance of wild spaces and the outdoors. Our issue—getting America outside—is non-partisan, it has support on both sides of the aisle, and it is essential in providing a healthy, secure, and joyful future for our nation."
Read more about Great Outdoors America Week here, here, and here. And listen to a radio interview with Bare about GO America Week.