Sierra Club Wins Outdoor Ambassador Award

The Outdoor Industry Association announced on January 23 that the Sierra Club is the winner of their 2008 Ambassador Award. The Ambassador Award recognizes a company that has made significant and ongoing achievements toward the growth of participation in outdoor activities.

"The Sierra Club is thrilled to accept this award on behalf of our 1.3 million members and supporters," said Conservation Director Bruce Hamilton. "It’s critical to show the next generation the joys of the great outdoors. Young people today have fewer opportunities to get outside and explore; spending time outdoors improves kids’ test scores and helps fight childhood obesity. Encouraging youth involvement is also the best way to foster the future of environmental stewardship. It’s time to leave no child inside."

The Outdoor Industry Association noted important contributions made by the Sierra Club to help the next generation of environmentalists learn how to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet. The awards committee noted the Sierra Club’s efforts to help youth cultivate a love of nature through Inner City Outings, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, and Sierra Student Coalition programs.

The Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings Program is a volunteer-led program that provides low-income, inner-city youth with trips to wilderness. Today, a dedicated core of leaders located in approximately 50 cities across the United States work with local social service agencies and schools to provide wilderness experiences for young people who otherwise might not have them. Young people learn valuable survival skills and develop the ability to face challenges outside their urban environments. Interpersonal skills and self-esteem grow as a natural result of teamwork and an active relationship with the outdoors.

The Building Bridges to the Outdoors Program engages public officials to provide funding to programs that help get children outside. The Building Bridges program also promotes the positive benefits of outdoor experiences on children's academic achievement, especially science and math. A Sierra Club funded study by the California Department of Education showed a 27% increase in students' science test scores after a week-long outdoor experience.

Another branch of the Club’s efforts to promote outdoor exploration and conservation is the Sierra Student Coalition, a broad network of high school and college students working to protect the environment, tackle global warming and promote social justice. The SSC supports groups at over 300 schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico through award-winning trainings, direct mentorship and resource development that helps students plan and implement winning campaigns to protect people and the planet. Last year, SSC students won over 60 emissions cutting victories on campuses and communities from coast to coast.

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