– Today marked the first day of the second annual Anacostia Paddle. The weeklong event is designed to encourage a total of 750 students, from 12 different schools to get outdoors and become physically active by paddling across the Anacostia River in 24 foot, hand-made Voyageur-style canoes.
The seven day adventure will consist of 10 half-day trips that will run from October 24-30, 2011 and will provide youth in urban communities with the opportunity to learn about the Anacostia River and how to best protect and preserve this important natural resource, as well as help students discover a new way to experience and exercise in the city they live in.
The public is invited to experience the Paddle during free, 30-45 minute trips this Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 1 pm-4 pm and Sunday, October 30, 2011 between 1 pm and 5 pm. No experience is necessary and registration and equipment will be provided on-site.
Wilderness Inquiry and the National Park Service selected DC as the premiere site in a nationwide rollout of the successful Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure (UWCA) which began in 2008 in Minneapolis, MN. UWCA intends to demonstrate how the program can reach thousands of urban youth and facilitate interagency discussions on their vision of connecting 200,000 urban youth across the country to the outdoors every year.
With its emphasis on physical activity and connection to the environment, the Paddle advances the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside campaign.
The Paddle is a collaboration between a number of local and federal partners, including the National Park Service (National Capital Parks East), Wilderness Inquiry, DC Department of Health, DC Department of Parks and Recreation, District of Columbia Government, National Parks Trust, US Army Corps of Engineers, the Anacostia Watershed Society, and Washington Parks & People.
Additional support for the program was also provided by the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, White House Council on Environment Quality, National Park Foundation, President’s Council on Physical Fitness, and American Recreation Coalition.
Community members are invited and encouraged to join the Paddle. More information on how to join, and a full list of events for the week can be found at http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/get_involved/upcomingevents.php.