AORE Association News June 2016 - Page 11

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By Andrea Hassler and Elise Clausen, AORE ESC Co-Chairs

It has been a busy world in the environmental stewardship arm of the AORE this past year! We have been working on several plans to further the capacity of the AORE and its’ member programs to incorporate environmental stewardship as integral to our work in the outdoors. We all work, love and play in the natural world; as such, our adventures have an impact on the places we love as do our daily life choices. Since we depend on the wild and beautiful places for our mind, body and soul, it is important that we work towards keeping those places pristine and put time into taking care of the lands, waters and creatures that these areas host. Doing our part, the ESC has been tackling both internal and external initiatives to promote environmental sustainability within the AORE.

We have been busy planning a service project that will be held during the annual conference. The ESC and conference attendees will be working with the Minnesota National River and Recreation Area to help with a removal effort of invasive European Buckthorn. This plant is commonly used as a privacy hedge and has little competition here, and has become one of the most invasive species in Minnesota. We will be working in Coldwater Spring – an amazing natural space in the heart of Minneapolis. Please plan on attending, this will be a great event and an awesome way to help promote outdoor recreation in the area of the national conference. The service event will be followed by a session on “The Why, The What and The How of Environmental Stewardship” where we will debrief the service event, discuss the myriad of benefits, types and models of stewardship projects and take a test run of pulling off a high impact service event.

In the fall, we are hoping to promote the first ever AORE Annual Day of Service on National Public Lands Day. Modeled after the NIRSA National Day of Service, we will encourage AORE member programs to get out on their local public lands to give back to the places they love! Stay tuned for more info as this initiative unfolds. We are creating a guide to help you address local issues that threaten the public lands and waters that you explore. This guide will help you systematically approach how and what to do to have a positive impact on protecting these critical places.

Regarding our external initiatives, we have submitted a Policy Position Recommendation to the AORE BOD concerning BeWildNY – an initiative to expand the High Peaks Wilderness led by the Adirondack Council. Adoption of this recommendation would allow the AORE to distribute information to our member programs about this initiative. The areas to be added to the High Peaks Wilderness would total about 35,000 acres, resulting in a seamless, expanded wilderness of more than 280,000 acres.

Last, be on the lookout for the application for the 2nd annual Green Program Award. We will distribute a link to the form through the listserve, and it will also be found on the AORE website under Scholarship and Awards. Get ready to boast about what your program is doing to reduce your ecological footprint, promote environmental stewardship and educate your communities about best sustainable practices. We want to hear what you are doing to promote environmental sustainability.

For more information, or to help us in our efforts, you may contact Andrea Hassler (Chair) at andreahassler@icloud.com or Elise Clausen (Chair-Elect) at elisec@uidaho.edu.

The ESC Continues Work Integrating

Environmental Stewardship