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Bill Kurtis Encourages All To Join In To Support Next Generation Fund

Bill Kurtis with children doing artwork

Bill Kurtis with children doing artwork

This week, Bill Kurtis, Emmy Award winning journalist, documentary producer and host, former network news anchor, television personality and Kansas rancher was at Lily Lake, part of Rocky Mountain National Park to announce his partnership with the Rocky Mountain Nature Association to help them reach their $10 million funding target for their Next Generation Fund by producing an informational video.

RMNA Executive Director Curt Buchholtz, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association in Estes Park, addressed progress on the Next Generation $10 million funding target, as well as other Next Generation initiatives and then introduced Mr. Kurtis.

Bill Kurtis stated he is here to work. His friends from the RMNA invited him to come to Estes Park to help support and promote the Next Generation program which Bill is more than familiar with. He expressed how attendance is down in National Parks nationwide and the parks and outdoor recreational areas we used to drive through as kids, we now fly over. The National Parks, especially Rocky Mountain National Park, are at a pivotal crossroads. If trends continue, the baby boomer generation could be the last generation to value and experience nature’s splendor…up close and personal. Tomorrow’s kids may experience nature and the great outdoors only as something seen on a TV or computer screen. Inspiring kids to care about nature is a real problem and the Next Generation program can be the answer to this dilemma. Kurtis said, “From small acorns, big trees grow and with the great programs RMNA has to offer, we hope to get the interest in nature back in our youth.”

Key Next Generation Fund supported programs in Rocky Mountain National Park include Junior Ranger; American Conservation Corps, which offers college students a chance to spend the summer working on projects in the park; internships and fellowships for students preparing for careers in environmental science; and environmental education field trips for school kids and youth groups visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.
While Kurtis was here, a film was being produced that will be available on YouTube as a promotional piece for the Next Generation Fund and the importance it has on our world.

It’s been proven that kids today experience much less time connecting with nature. Author Richard Louv argues that kids today are so plugged into television, video games, and the internet that they’re losing their connection to the natural world. In The Last Child in the Woods, Louv calls this, “Nature Deficit Disorder.”  The Rocky Mountain Nature Association of Estes Park is dedicated to helping kids connect and reconnect with nature. Our children are at risk of losing a vital connection to nature and the irreplaceable shared family activities and life-changing adventures found within it.

Through the Next Generation Fund, Rocky Mountain Nature Association is setting out to capture the hearts, minds and funding necessary to secure the future of the educational programs at Rocky Mountain National Park. With the Fund’s help we can take advantage of the park’s greatest asset-the ability to inspire life-long appreciation of nature through highly trained educators, rangers and youth programs. Through unmatched learning opportunities, connections to this unique park are forged that will be passed on from generation to generation.

Also in attendance at the event was Kristin Kaczynski, RMNA Fellow. According to Kristin, “There is no better example of the impact of these programs than myself!” Currently working on her PhD at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Ms. Kaczynski attributes her interest in environmental sciences to her participation in the Junior Ranger Program as a youth.

You can make all the difference in the world by supporting the Next Generation Fund-a $10 million endowment fund that will be the lifeline between our children, nature and Rocky Mountain National Park. No longer can we take for granted that every child will know the joy of taking a hike, experience the chill of a sudden mountain shower, or remember the sweet smell of pine. Technology and times are changing fast-let’s make sure that the next generation isn’t the last generation to be molded by the profound experience of spending time in nature and in this Colorado treasure – Rocky Mountain National Park.

Your donation to the Next Generation Fund today will help keep the next generation connected. Let’s all help them raise the $10 million needed to make sure they succeed.

Contact RMNA at (970) 586-0108 or if you have ANY questions or need more information on how you can help!

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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