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This year, members of our Lake Region Community will have the opportunity to grow and learn in nature’s classroom, thanks to a Bogs 2% for Outdoor Education Grant. As part of these nationwide grants, the Lakes Environmental Association received 25 pairs of BOGS boots to support work to engage families in getting outside together, and an additional 25 pairs to support school and other public programs. The grant program is funded by Bogs, which makes waterproof footwear, and administered by the Outdoor Foundation, a nationwide nonprofit that inspires future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.
“At Bogs, we live to get outside. And we think every child should have the opportunity to do so, too,” said David Cook, VP of marketing at bogs. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Outdoor Foundation to provide grants to remove financial barriers to getting outdoors, so all kids can grow and learn outside.”
Every year, the Lakes Environmental Association (LEA) educators work with over 1500 students in the Lake Region School District and Harrison Elementary. In speaking with students about spending time outside, they learned that a number of them are not allowed to, and parents are too busy or not comfortable taking them outside either. “I felt some possible barriers for families spending time outside might be the lack of familiarity, coupled with appropriate footwear,” said Alanna Doughty of LEA who applied for the grant. “It crushes me that students are not spending more time outside, it is so vital for their mental and physical development, not to mention building connection to place, and it is really fun!” To try to break down the barriers, LEA is offering boots to students (and adults) who will utilize them in outdoor adventures with family connections, and offers family nature walks to build comfort and familiarity with the outdoors. However, the twice monthly family nature walks in Pondicherry Park, Holt Pond and the Spaulding Memorial Library have attracted few attendees, “and the folks who are joining us are families that are already doing this together, which is great, we want to support them too, but we also aim to attract parents that want to do this but aren’t sure how best to go about it.” This fall, LEA will continue after-school offerings for families in Bridgton and Sebago and in the meantime continue to reach out to nature lovers of all ages who will get the most out of the boots. If you are interested in finding out more about the walks or the boots, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story.
Bogs’ 2% for Outdoor Education funding provided a total of $60,000 to bring nonprofit organizations’ project ideas to life and, with a donation of 500 waterproof boots, keep youth participants’ feet warm and dry while they fall in love with the natural world. Supported projects include a variety of outdoor education programs, from community gardening to paddling.
“The Outdoor Foundation believes in supporting innovative on-the-ground projects that make lasting change,” said Ivan Levin, Deputy Director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Thanks to support from Bogs, we are investing in localized projects that increase outdoor participation and ultimately create healthier, more active communities.”
2018 nonprofit grant recipients include: Abundant Beginnings; Anacostia Watershed Society; Bennett Preschool-YMCA of the Rockies; Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan; Ecology in Classrooms & Outdoors; Friends of Trees; Greenwell Foundation Inc.; Kestrel Education Adventures; Lakes Environmental Association; The Mountaineers; Three Rivers Park District Foundation; Turnbridge Central School; and Washington Outdoor School.
Projects were chosen based on their innovation, likelihood of increasing outdoor participation, number of youth impacted, sustainability and budget factors.
Alanna said, “I have been doing a lot of research on the development of kids who have access to the outdoors and free play in nature and the benefits are truly endless, from an ability to handle conflict to inner eye development! In a time where most kids are spending less and less time outside it is so important to me to advocate and support opportunities to build comfort and confidence in the outdoors and foster a love of this amazing place we are so lucky to call home.”
So amazing, right? Please support Bogs in your outdoor endeavors so they can continue to give back to programs that help to get kids outside and foster a connection and love for nature!