Since 2009, the Wildlife Foundation of Florida (WFF) has focused much of its attention on the youth of Florida, developing programs and resources designed to reconnect young people with traditional outdoor activities, while preserving and protecting the state’s natural resources.
One of its greatest and growing challenges is a dramatic increase in the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media. A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found media usage among children ages 8 to 18 increased from 6 hours and 21 minutes in 2005 to 7 hours and 38 minutes in 2009.
“That’s another hour kids could be spending outside, enjoying exciting, healthy activity and building a personal love and appreciation for Florida’s great outdoors,” said Bret Boston, executive director of the WFF. “The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, and new gadgets will likely cause that number to increase, but we’ve got to help this upcoming generation see the importance of balance.”
Among the WFF’s youth initiatives is the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, a bold program jointly sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This statewide network of conservation centers, “Wild Outdoor” centers and “Near Outdoor” partners is designed to encourage and empower kids to participate in traditional outdoor recreation alongside experts who can teach them how to safely enjoy the outdoor heritage conservationists have worked so hard to maintain. The network’s Wild Outdoor Centers provide deep woods experiences and are located within a 45-minute drive of major urban areas, while Near Outdoor partners offer experiences closest to children in their day-to-day settings.
By partnering with schools, communities, youth organizations, volunteers, land owners and donors. To support this cause, the WFF has created the Florida BlueGreen event, an inaugural fundraising event to be held Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 5 to 10 pm in Broward County, Fla. at the private Green Glades ranch of living legend “Alligator Ron” Bergeron. Billed as a “Wild Night for Wildlife,” the foundation’s first-ever statewide conservation fundraising event will be a Florida Cracker-style cowboy gala at Alligator Ron’s Saloon at the Green Glades Ranch in Weston, Fla., complete with live entertainment, music, silent auction and authentic Florida Cracker Cowboy barbecue. Bringing together celebrities, political figures, activists and notable conservationists from around the state for a once-a-year, unified effort, the BlueGreen will benefit the Wildlife Foundation’s FYCCN and several other important youth and conservation initiatives.
“The money raised at the BlueGreen will go directly to funding programs and projects around the state that empower and encourage kids to get out and enjoy fishing, archery, hunting, bird watching, and other outdoor recreation,” said Boston. “We need everyone – government, industry, residents, the private sector – to support this event and help bring up Florida’s next generation of conservationists who see the value in enjoying and protecting our state’s greatest treasures.”
For more information about the BlueGreen event or to purchase tickets. To become a sponsor, email [email protected] or call (850) 922-1066.
_ Source: Wildlife Foundation of Florida_