With funding from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, program engages kids with outdoors
√ Program registration open for school groups & community organizations
The Natural Heritage Trust and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently announced the “Ladders to the Outdoors” program is underway, and free recreational programs are available for booking at state parks throughout Niagara and Erie counties.
Funded with a grant to the Natural Heritage Trust from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, “Ladders to the Outdoors” seeks to increase access to outdoor recreational spaces, equipment, transportation, and skills development in underserved communities near state parks in Western New York. The $860,000 grant funds a three-year program to support the development of and community outreach for participation in free youth recreational programs and instructional classes at state parks, including guided hikes, fishing, biking, kayaking, swimming and sports activities. The grant will also fund recreational equipment including bikes, kayaks, fishing gear and sports equipment for community use, the rehabilitation of athletic fields and the addition of accessible play equipment at several state park playgrounds. Transportation to parks will be offered through a partnership with the New York state “Connect Kids to Parks” program.
“Engaging youth in parks and recreation will help to develop a lifelong love of the outdoors. I am so thankful to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for recognizing the importance of this and helping us outreach to the most in need communities,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said.
Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, said, “Outdoor recreation not only has a positive impact on health, but also creates a future generation of park and trail users and stewards. By removing access barriers to these amenities, we can continue to support healthy and active lifestyles for the youth and families of Western New York. “
Community organizations, school groups and others serving youth of all ages in the region can contact the “Ladders to the Outdoors” coordinator at [email protected] to learn more about program opportunities and scheduling events.
The Natural Heritage Trust is a nonprofit, public-benefit corporation with the mission to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the state of New York. The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds and through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State. For more information, visit www.naturalheritagetrust.org.