New Media Effort Amplifies National Get Outdoors Day on June 8th, 2013
While more than 245 million Americans live within 100 miles of a national forest or grassland, research shows that a majority of children in some segments of the population are not spending active time outdoors. Research shows that only 37% of African American children ages 6-12 participate in outdoor recreation, compared to 67% of Caucasian children in the same age range. In an effort to motivate African American families to get outside more often and reconnect with nature, the Ad Council and the U.S. Forest Service have launched a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) in advance of the 6th annual National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 8th, 2013.
“This new campaign seeks to get kids and families out to enjoy the wonders of our forests,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “The physical, mental and spiritual benefits our great outdoors provide are more important now than ever.”
Research has shown that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and have greater respect for themselves and for others. Currently, most of the time that U.S. children today spend outdoors is spent participating in activities such as biking, walking, listening to music, or using electronic devices. Nature-based activities, such as bird watching, hiking, camping, and fishing are not as common.
“Many families are unaware of the benefits that nature provides children, including improving their physical and mental health and emotional well-being,” said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. “Through these PSAs we’re thrilled to continue our work with the US Forest Service to show families how close they are to a forest, park or grassland and encourage them to spend active time outdoors.”
Created pro bono by Burrell, the new PSAs are an extension of the Discover the Forest campaign first launched by the US Forest Service and Ad Council in 2009. This year’s PSAs target parents and guardians of African American tweens (children ages 8 -12) and show parents that visiting the forest is a unique experience that offers benefits of discovery and imagination for children. The PSAs have been developed for TV, radio, outdoor and digital media. Discover the Forest aims to engender a love for nature in kids and families by fostering a connection with urban and national forests, ultimately creating a lifelong interest and a legacy of stewardship through first-hand experience.
The campaign is launched in advance of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) on June 8th, which will include a series of events offering traditional and nontraditional outdoor activities across the nation. The events include special guests like Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, and offer free admissions to our national forests so families can experience traditional outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding and archery.
“Parents will tell you that there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing their children’s eyes light up when they discover something new.” said Lewis Williams, Burrell Chief Creative Officer. “The forest is one of those amazing places where kids can flex their imagination muscles through exploration and discovery.”
These efforts will be supported through the campaign website, www.discovertheforest.org, which includes interactive games, a list of activity ideas and a convenient forest locator, powered by NatureFind and GoogleMaps, which allows users to find the closest forest or park to them, as well as corresponding Facebook www.facebook.com/discovertheforest and Twitter www.twitter.com/cheecker.