National Park Service and Outdoor Foundation Select Center for Human-Earth Restoration as 2016 Challenge Cost Share Program Recipient

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Date: May 4, 2016
Contact: B.G. Horvat, 252-728-2250, ext. 3014

More than $360,000 awarded to 17 projects that promote urban outreach, youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors.

HARKERS ISLAND, NCOn May 2, 2016, the National Park Service and the Outdoor Foundation announced recipients of the 2016 Challenge Cost Share Program, which supports projects that promote urban outreach, youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors. The partners selected 17 projects from 62 applications, and more than $360,000 will be matched by an estimated $760,000 in direct and in-kind contributions from recipients. More than 10,000 youth are expected to be engaged through the program. Many of the selected projects join in the celebration of the National Park Services Centennial.

Center for Human-Earth Restoration (CHER) received $25,000 to support its work to engage underserved youth from urban areas of Raleigh, NC in a partnership with NC State University, the City of Raleigh, North Carolina Department of Environmental & Natural Resources, and Cape Lookout National Seashore. CHER will work hand in hand with our partners to use the funds to provide the very best outdoor experiences for our students, some who have never seen the ocean or walked in the mountains. We will use the funds to provide transportation, food, accommodations, staff, supplies and equipment that are necessary to have students, in the words of Aldo Leopold, "see the land, understand what they see, and enjoy what they understand." Our ultimate goal is to help the student become an eco-literate citizen who is actively involved in working to make their community healthier, happier and safer.

"In the Neighborhood Ecology Corps, students are exploring the piedmont bioregion and its impact on their urban communities. With the help of the Outdoor Foundation our students will be given the experiences that will help expand their consciousness about the deeper human connections with the Natural World through expeditions to the North Carolina Mountains and the Cape Lookout National Seashore," explains Randolph J. Senzig, the President and Executive Director of The Center for Human-Earth Restoration.

Cape Lookout National Seashore Superintendent Pat Kenney adds, "The park is proud to work with our partners and have this opportunity to provide a natural classroom where the kids of Raleigh are able to experience the outdoors on a first-hand basis that will give them the knowledge to become stewards of the natural world, potentially inspiring them to Find Their Park."

The Challenge Cost Share Program supports National Park Service parks, National Trails and Wild and Scenic Rivers that are aligned with partners that promote urban outreach, youth engagement and/or connecting people to the outdoors. The initiative requires a 1:1 match by the local recipient —resulting in greater financial leverage and impact. In addition, the Outdoor Foundation is actively seeking additional support for the selected projects. Program priorities include: 

  • Urban Outreach: Projects to promote active healthy living, restore or conserve community natural and cultural assets, or promote close-to-home access to recreation within an urban setting. 
  • Youth Engagement: Projects to engage youth participants to play, learn, serve and work associated with National Park Service sites and programs.
  • Connecting People to the Outdoors: Projects to enhance tangible and/or intangible access to the outdoors that provide increased outdoor recreation opportunities.

"The Outdoor Foundation is thrilled to partner with the National Park Service to reconnect Americans to their national parks and engage a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards," said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. "The Challenge Cost Share program is one of the most effective initiatives that leverages public and private funds and invests in local partnerships that deliver results."

Last updated: May 4, 2016

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