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Organizations unite to combat Nature Deficit Disorder

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avatar Organizations unite to combat Nature Deficit Disorder
June 24, 2009 03:10PM
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region
1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592

Contact: Public Affairs, 707-562-9004
Organizations unite to combat Nature Deficit Disorder
Announcement on June 25 in Debs Park

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jun. 24, 2009—Renowned Canadian artist and naturalist Robert Bateman wants California’s youth to get to know the flora and fauna in their local neighborhoods. Alarmed by recent surveys, studies, and anecdotes clearly demonstrating that urban youth are now spending little or no time outside, Bateman launched the Robert Bateman Get to Know Program based on his belief that “caring for this planet begins with getting to know our neighbors of other species.”

On June 25 at 9:30 am, four national organizations — the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Children & Nature Network — will announce their partnership with the Get to Know Program in the Audubon Center at Debs Park (4700 North Griffin Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90031). Working in partnership with additional California-based partners, these five organizations are inviting youth to get outdoors and then share their experience with others by submitting photography, art, or writing to the Get to Know Contest.

The contest will launch this fall on National Public Lands Day (September 26) and will accept entries through November 30. Winners will receive prizes, including the chance to see their entry published in the state-wide 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Calendar.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has welcomed the program, saying, “California is home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world ... I applaud your commitment to a healthy lifestyle and your efforts to encourage others to spend more time enjoying nature.”

Likewise, on June 1, President Obama issued a press release affirming that his administration “is working to connect America's youth with our treasured landscapes, which should be viewed as classrooms for environmental education and gateways to careers in natural resources.” Obama declared June 2009 as Great Outdoors Month and encouraged “all Americans to spend more time outside and to participate in the nationwide events marking this occasion.”

U.S. Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell said: “Sadly, so many of today’s children ... are growing up disconnected from nature, missing opportunities to develop a personal connection with the resources that sustain us all. The negative effects it has on the physical and mental health of our children is a serious and pervasive problem ... the Get to Know Program is exceptional in its vision and scope, and in its potential to bring kids to nature and nature to kids. ... The Forest Service is honored to be a partner in this important program.”
The Robert Bateman Get to Know Program

Since 2000, the Robert Bateman “Get to Know” Program has run a series of initiatives that inspire Canadian youth to “get to know” their wild neighbors. Now, after 10 years of success in Canada, Bateman is launching his program in California.

Braden MacDonald, Program Coordinator
(619) 696 - 1570
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