source: Finger Lakes Times
In early March, The Finger Lakes Museum received a grant from the Outdoor Foundation to provide canoeing and kayaking opportunities for local youth and families. The program is free. There will be 20 boats available for use at the Sugar Creek bridge and boat launch in Branchport from 3 to 6 p.m. on 10 consecutive Sunday afternoons beginning April 21. Paddles and life jackets will be available. Participants are also welcome to bring fishing rods (and licenses), nets, and picnic meals. Instruction is available upon request.
Sugar Creek is a pristine tributary of Keuka Lake that showcases wetlands, a bird sanctuary and an array of aquatic wildlife. This 2013 program is part of a new local outreach initiative in Yates County as well as a wider educational campaign for the entire Finger Lakes area. It is being carried out with the assistance of museum volunteers and in collaboration with Doug Reagan’s Canoe and Kayak Livery. Those interested in learning more can contact Museum Education Director Mike Sullivan at 694-6922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This grant opportunity supports pioneering projects like this and initiatives aiming to connect young Americans with their waterways through recreational paddling. The Finger Lakes Museum was one of 25 organizations selected by Outdoor Nation and the Outdoor Industry Association Paddle Advisory Council from a pool of 150 applicants based on its likelihood to increasing paddling participation.
The Paddle Nation Project grants were made possible by support and funding from the Outdoor Industry Association Paddle Advisory Council, a coalition of top paddlesport manufacturers, retailers and stakeholders; a $30,000 contribution from Nielsen Expositions’ Outdoor Retailer, the outdoor industry tradeshow held twice each year; and many individuals, manufacturers and retailers in the paddlesport community.
“Recreational paddling is one of the most accessible and impactful ways to introduce young Americans to the outdoors,” said Lili Colby, sales and marketing director for MTI Adventurewear and chair of the Paddle Council. “Though so many of the applications were inspiring, we believe the winning projects will creatively and effectively involve young people in all types of paddling, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing and rafting.”
“We’re deeply committed to connecting more individuals with the natural world,” says Mike Sullivan, Educator Director at The Finger Lakes Museum and writer of the winning grant. “Here in the Finger Lakes, and specifically right here on Keuka Lake, we’re blessed with stunning beauty in our own backyards as well as incredible opportunities like this to simply be out in it.”
“Small grant programs like this one activate a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that runs Outdoor Nation. “By providing equipment, training, mentoring and educational resources, these projects will make paddlesports accessible to many youth who may not have the opportunity otherwise to get on the water.”
Outdoor Nation is committed to increasing and expanding youth participation in outdoor recreation through education, engagement and action in order to cultivate a healthier, more active generation. In 2012, Outdoor Nation awarded more than $250,000 to young adults for projects that reconnect young people to the outdoors. For more information on Outdoor Nation grants programs, visit outdoornation .org/grants.