Trek Women
November 12, 2008

Lost connections...

 Last week, I was invited to a meeting hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to brainstorm how to connect people with nature. It always takes me a minute to adjust my perspective because I can’t even imagine my life that doesn’t include the great outdoors. And I don’t even mean huge-ordeal, equipment-required outside. Case in point, yesterday, I just felt like going for a walk. So I put on my sneakers and went down to the Washington Memorial and back. No big deal.


Anyway, the Service had invited to the meeting some unusual suspects – about 12 total. I was there on behalf of state fish and wildlife agencies, there was a woman from the National Wildlife Federation, a guy from the American Recreation Coalition, a woman from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as well as several USFWS communications and education experts.


We had our job cut out for us to think of how to get people to care about nature and I’m afraid, the problem is deep and widespread – and I must admit, kind of depressing. But we tried our best to come up with some solutions. (Go outside people!!!)


Two interesting things came up during the meeting. #1 – when we went around the room and introduced ourselves, everyone had to name their favorite outdoor activities and all 12 of us included bike riding on that list, ranging from the hardcore enthusiast (me) to the take-a-spin-with-the kids-round-the-block.


#2 – as I was chatting with the woman from the President’s Council, I mentioned writing this blog for Trek and she said, “I know all about Trek WSD because John Burke (Trek’s Pres) is the Chairman of the President’s Council.” How about that! I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I thought that Ah-nold Schwarzenegger was still the head dude on it. But, thanks John Burke for your leadership in helping people get more active every day.


I’ll give the President’s Council a plug because it does more than that President’s Challenge you had to do in school – I remember something to do with an eraser shuffle, sit-ups and that stupid arm-hang, which I never lasted more than a second. Today, the President’s Challenge includes programs for all ages including adults and seniors. Trek is also the sponsor of the Presidential Bicycling Challenge.  


So, let me open up the floor to you all – got any ideas on how we, as a nation, can help connect more people with nature? What connects you?


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