League Lines: "Outside Every Day" Challenge

Seven Falls CO_credit Jasmine Nicole Miele

Curtis "Curt" Howard, media out-reach chair for the Harford County Chapter, issued a challenge to Ikes in eastern Maryland to get #OutsideEveryday — and he hopes Ikes across the country will do the same.

Maryland >> A couple of years ago, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral. Through the power of social media, donations to the ALS Society (which helps people diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) increased nine-fold in just a few months. Although this was an extraordinary example of leveraging social media far beyond cat memes, it’s unclear whether awareness of ALS actually increased.

We face similar challenges in raising awareness about conservation issues. To care about conservation, people first need to feel a connection with the outdoors by simply getting outside and spending time in nature. The great thing is that in addition to learning to appreciate nature, there are significant wellness benefits to being outdoors. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer Americans are doing it. So the challenge was born: #OutsideEveryday.

Challenge every person in your chapter and in your community to spend 30 minutes outside every day. Take a hike, ride a bike, paddle a canoe, walk the dog, eat lunch, watch birds — the actual activity doesn’t matter, as long as they spend the time outside. It doesn’t cost anything to connect with nature. You can add a community clean-up element to the challenge by asking folks to pick up trash wherever they see it on their outdoor excursions.

Encourage each person who takes the challenge to encourage others to do the same! One of the things I learned from my father is that a great fisherman isn’t the one who catches the biggest fish or the most fish, it’s the one who tells the best stories — because he is the one that inspires others to fish.

You can join the "Outsiders" Facebook group to find and post inspirational outdoor photos and stories at www.facebook.com/groups/1704373749804856

Curt Howard, Harford County Chapter