SHIFT for the Planet

Liz Storer (L), Executive Director of the George B. Storer Foundation, with 1% for the Planet CEO Kate Williams and Jess Saba, Center for Jackson Hole board member, during the SHIFT for the Planet celebration. Behind them may be seen Cailin O’Brien Feeney, Oregon’s Director of Office of Outdoor Recreation; Jon Jarvis; Dr. Michael Suk; and Kleen Kanteen’s Caroleigh Pierce

Designed in partnership with 1% for the Planet, Silicon Couloir, and The George B. Storer Foundation, SHIFT for the Planet invites a pre-vetted selection of the country’s most impactful, innovative work to share it via five-minute presentations that feature the work’s focus, its impact, and a central challenge facing its ongoing success.

On Tuesday, October 16, SHIFT for the Planet marked Day 1 of the 2018 SHIFT Festival with a showcase of some of the most innovative, impactful and replicable examples of outdoor recreation and conservation work in the country.

The work was evaluated by both the audience and a jury, who decided the recipients of two $2500 prizes—a People’s Choice and a Jury’s Choice awards. The prizes went to the presentations deemed to be most impactful, innovative and replicable.

2018 SHIFT for the Planet presenters and award winners were as follows.

2018 People’s Choice Award

OrganizationSoul River Inc.
InitiativeSoul River Runs Deep
LocationPortland, OR
Founded2003
LeadershipChad Brown, Founder/President
Faith Briggs, Tactical Operation Producer
ContactChad Brown, chad@soulriverrunsdeep.com 

Initiative Overview

Founded by U.S. Navy veteran Chad Brown, Soul River creates mission-driven environmental educational experiences, deployments, that combine veterans and inner-city youth connecting to the outdoors. Veterans serve as mentors, teaching the youth life skills, conservation education, leadership development in threatened wild spaces. Engaging U.S veterans as mentors for youth, rich, powerful opportunities for healing authentically two demographics as new emerging environmental leaders.

Chad Brown (R) with his coach, Sandy Hessler, following his presentation during SHIFT for the Planet. Hessler works with Silicon Couloir, a Jackson Hole entrepreneurial incubator. Hessler and other Silicon Couloir members help SHIFT with the Planet presenters prepare their “pitches”.

Impact

Soul River’s conservation goal is to engage disadvantaged youth and US veterans as champions for some of the most environmentally threatened habitats in the world. We do this through mobilizing educational deployments into these landscapes, combined with mission driven build projects, social media, documentary films, art, and direct meetings with public officials.

Since SRI’s uses fly fishing as a vehicle to help support social change and environmental justice. We are frequently confronted by racism and difficult racial dynamics, which we must navigate. Soul River serves men,boys, women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ community, we also work with issues of gender equality and sexual orientation. Constant learning and growth in this area is part of our everyday work as an organization strives to grow our next environmental leaders. Our Initiative dismantles health by connecting disadvantage youth and veterans to our public lands, wild rivers and beyond builds genuine community, regenerate mental health and physical health ands ultimately establish and inspire a new generation of outdoor leaders to advocate for conservation spaces.

SRI Participants are in college, internships from the impact of serving in deployment. Success is largely measured anecdotally. Deployments gives deep insight into the impacts of the environment, economic, social and culture that our participants couldn’t get any other way. They see first hand, as our youth returning from deployments want to take action.

Impact by the numbers

  • Serves US Veterans and disadvantaged youth
    Youth are drawn mostly from Portland
    Demographics from our Celebration of Wild Steelhead event are characteristic of the youth we serve: 56% African American, 17% Latino, 19% Native American, 3% White and 5% other

Innovation

We merge a vastly underutilized generation of leaders: our US Veterans. Veterans are an ideal source of inspiration and mentoring for underserved youth. Veterans and youth benefits from each other in nature, forming bonds on mission driven projects. Veterans and youth finds a purpose together thru channeling their natural leadership.

Replicability

The program is scalable and can be created into chapters across the region with the right infrastructure put in place.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

We see the impact in that youth returning from our deployments want to take action. (Unfortunately, SRI does not have the capacity at this time to support their efforts). These efforts are centered around supportive bridges that leads to internships, advocacy development with our partners.

2018 Jury’s Choice Award

OrganizationPark Rx America
InitiativePark Prescription Formulary
LocationWashington, D.C.
Founded2017
LeadershipRobert Zarr, MD, Founder & Medical Director
John Henderson, Executive Director
Matthew Scribner, Chief Technology Officer
ContactDr. Robert Zarr, DocZarr@parkrxamerica.org

Initiative Overview

Americans are suffering and dying prematurely because of chronic disease that in turn results from poor diet, inactivity, and chronic stress. Despite 300 scientific studies linking improved health outcomes to time in Nature, most doctors are unaware of the relevance and accessibility of the park prescription. Doctors can and should prescribe parks. Brief interventions by doctors change patients’ behavior. Parks Rx American (“PRA”) has developed the first scalable doctor-friendly park prescription intervention by developing a unique digital platform for doctors to FIND green space, PRESCRIBE activity outside, and DOCUMENT the park prescription in any electronic health record.

Dr. Robert Zarr makes a point during SHIFT

Impact

PRA improves a community’s health by educating and equipping doctors with the tools to reconnect patients to Nature and renormalize being outdoors. Access to green space is a social determinant of health. Unequal access to green space is a social injustice. PRA plays a vital role in leveling the playing field among communities by reconnecting all persons to their accessible green space, regardless of a person’s color or income.

Impact by the numbers

  • Number of prescribers: 105
  • Prescriptions issued: 707
  • Prescriptions filled: 20%
  • Total park visits recorded: 323 
  • Parks in database: 4,200
  • States represented: 23

Innovation

Patients are more likely to go outside when their doctor actually prescribes it. PRA has developed a unique electronic interface that allows the doctor and patient to agree on which park to visit, but on the patient’s terms. This allows the doctor, real-time, to amplify the patient’s health promoting behavior.

Replicability

PRA has a proven record of expanding in geographically and demographically diverse areas, both rural and urban. We partner with local, regional, state, and federal land management agencies and all sizes of health provider organizations.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

The biggest obstacle is changing culture–societal norms of sedentary behavior, reliance on fast food, over-scheduling and checklists, and medicine’s myopic focus on medical technology. PRA is well-positioned to effect a paradigm shift in the way doctors understand and treat chronic disease and create healthier communities.

OrganizationCasting For Recovery 
InitiativeAuthentic Outdoor Programs for Women with Breast Cancer
LocationBozeman, MT
Founded1996
LeadershipWhitney Milhoan, Executive Director
Lise Lozelle, Marketing Director
Susan Gaetz, Program Director
ContactLise Lozelle, lise.lozelle@castingforrecovery.org 

Initiative Overview

The problem: Research confirms that many women with breast cancer experience enough significant symptoms to be diagnosed with PTSD. Support groups specifically targeting women facing survivorship and addressing quality of life issues are lacking, and many women continue to live with the isolation, fear, social stigma, and disempowerment that breast cancer often generates.

Whitney Milhoan, Executive Director of Casting for Recovery

The solution: CfR hosts free programs for women with breast cancer, providing medical, psychosocial, and emotional support to address quality of life issues. Recognizing the health benefits of the outdoors, CfR introduces ecotherapy and the therapeutic sport of fly fishing, integrating nature into personal growth and healing.

Impact

Environmental: CfR encourages women to become stewards for the environment, emphasizing healthy fisheries and local conservation efforts. Programs are single-use plastic free.

Community: Faster/more effective recovery benefits the woman, her family, the workplace, greater community. (could be shown as infographic)

Success to date:

  • 6 month post-retreat evaluations:
  • 97.8% felt CfR connected them to a community of women to help with quality of life issues.
  • 98.9% continued to spend time outdoors and/or participated in outdoor activities suited to their physical/medical needs.
  • 100% continued to feel a healing connection with nature and/or positive feelings toward outdoor experiences.

Impact  by the numbers

  • 60+ programs serving 850 women each year
  • 9,000 women served to date
  • Serving women in all 50 states
  • 1,800 volunteers nationwide including medical & psychosocial professionals
  • 85% of each dollar spent on program services
  • 100% recommended by participants

Innovation

CfR makes the outdoors accessible, meeting each participant at their own level as they experience the healing powers of nature. The program has been adapted to better serve the diverse breast cancer community including young women, women with Stage IV disease, low-income women, military women, and women of color.

Replicability

CfR has a 22-year proven model and comprehensive policy and procedure manual allowing us to replicate our programs in any region, for any population of women with breast cancer regardless of cultural differences, socioeconomic status, physical ability or access to outside resources. CfR has garnered endorsements worldwide, inspiring international efforts.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

The biggest obstacle is a multi-faceted communications problem:
Limited awareness from the medical community legitimizing nature-based survivorship programs. 
Reaching women in need within the crowded breast cancer space.
Engaging marginalized groups: under/uninsured, low-income, rural, LGBTQ.

OrganizationForce Blue
LocationMontauk, NY
Founded2016
LeadershipJim Ritterhoff, Executive Director
Keith Sahm, Program Director
Nicole Rosga, Operations Director
Angelo Fiore, Training Director
ContactJim Ritterhoff, jim@forceblueteam.org

Initiative Overview

FORCE BLUE addresses two seemingly unrelated problems: the rapidly declining health of our planet’s marine resources and the difficulty returning combat veterans have in adjusting to civilian life. By uniting the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine science and conservation in one, mission-focused program, FORCE BLUE has created a model of caring, cooperation and positive change with the power to restore lives and restore the planet.

Force Blue Executive Director and Co-Founder Jim Ritterhoff and Operations Director Nicole Rosga

Impact

Environmental: Because FORCE BLUE team members are all military-trained combat divers, they possess a skill set, level of training and operational tempo that allows them to do more in the water—and to do it faster and better—than most scientific divers.  This makes FORCE BLUE a unique asset on any environmental or conservation mission in which it deploys.

Community: Unlike some veteran therapy programs that deliver two or three days of bonding experiences before sending participants back to their lives, FORCE BLUE is designed to onboard its veterans within a team structure and to keep them engaged on long-term and multi-mission deployments.  Team divers continue to train and to assist in the training of new recruits.  They participate in ongoing PTSD counseling, lead the organization’s community outreach efforts and are asked to advocate on behalf of marine conservation and veterans’ issues.

Economic: The marine resources FORCE BLUE works to preserve and restore have unquestioned economic value to the communities who depend on them—not only for jobs and income, but for the protection they provide.  Similarly, by giving veterans who may be struggling with assimilation back into civilian life a positive outlet that continues to pay them for their service, FORCE BLUE is providing an alternative to costly, often inefficient, VA-sponsored therapy and treatment programs.

Success to Date: Force Blue has taken part in three separate, hurricane-related coral restoration missions (Florida and Puerto Rico) and made numerous trips to Capitol Hill to meet with key legislators to advocate on behalf of our oceans and coral reefs.  FORCE BLUE has now trained a second six-man team (TEAM TWO) and launched PROJECT PROTECT, a 3-year, $9M plan to move all operations to South Florida to assist the state in its ongoing efforts to rescue, preserve and restore the critically-threatened Florida Coral Reef Tract.

Impact by the numbers

  • More than 3,000 pieces of coral rescued and restored to date
  • Reached tens of thousands of military members with a positive message of continued service
  • Generated more than 50 feature news stories (TV, radio, print, online) about its mission to preserve and restore

Innovation

FORCE BLUE is the only nonprofit organization in the world that provides long-term, mission-based therapy for former combat divers by retraining, retooling and redeploying them on missions of conservation, preservation and restoration.

Replicability

With over 30,000 military-trained combat dive veterans in the U.S. alone, there’s really no limit to the scale or international potential FORCE BLUE can achieve. Yet it is the idea upon which FORCE BLUE was founded—that  community can be created when you unite constituencies from opposite sides of the political spectrum by appealing to what they both already support— that makes it so eminently replicable.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Coalition building. Inspiring those individuals, companies and organizations that have traditionally supported one of the camps FORCE BLUE serves (veterans/ environmental) to understand the exponential value of supporting both.

OrganizationFree Forest School
LocationMinneapolis, MN
Founded2015
LeadershipAnna Sharratt, Founder and Executive Director
Irene Dooling, Operations
Atiya Wells, Partnerships
ContactAnna Sharratt, anna.sharratt@freeforestschool.org

Initiative Overview

Nature play is critical to healthy child development, fostering creativity, confidence, problem-solving ability, academic achievement, social skills, and physical well-being. Simply put, children who play in nature are healthier, happier, and better equipped for school and life. 

Free Forest School Founder Anna Sharrat presents during SHIFT for the Planet

Yet nature play is at an all-time low. On a daily basis, the average child spends just 4 to 7 minutes playing in nature and 5 to 8 hours viewing screens.

Getting young kids into nature starts with mobilizing adults in their lives. Free Forest School educates and empowers parents, teachers, and caregivers to make nature play a central part of childhood.

Impact

Every week, 2500 children across North America are gathering in nature to PLAY! Finding bugs, mucking around at the water’s edge, climbing trees, building forts… FFS gives children access to high-quality early learning experiences that promote healthy development. Families are building community in nature, fostering respect for life big and small and nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards. To maximize impact, our model empowers the adults in kids lives rather than creating resource-intensive programming.

Impact by the numbers

  • 2017 Budget: $10,700
  • Local chapters in 100+ communities worldwide
  • Approximately 150,000 kid/days in nature in 2017
  • 35,000+ online followers

Innovation

FFS focuses on influencing the adults who shape kids’ lives through training and mentorship. Illuminating the value of public land and the ease and benefits of unstructured outdoor play, FFS catalyzes a fundamental paradigm shift in which nature play is once again seen as vital to healthy childhood development.

Replicability

FFS’s parent/child model has been successfully replicated in 100+ communities, and growing. The model has wide applicability among caregivers in cultures where nature play has become obsolete. Our work with teachers has been piloted in five public schools; a replicable model, the Elementary Phenology Project, is in development.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Our mission is to achieve equitable access to nature play, yet our existing model serves only kids whose parents can participate.  We are struggling to meet the demand for our parent/child model while also advancing new equity-driven initiatives. High demand for our services has outpaced our volunteer team’s capacity.

OrganizationOne Common Unity
InitiativeFly By Light
LocationWashington, D.C.
Founded2000
LeadershipHawah Kasat, Co-Founder/Executive Director
Aaron Shneyer, Managing Director
Shaden Dowiatt, Program Director
ContactHawah Kasat, hawah@onecommonunity.org

Initiative Overview

Our Fly By Light program immerses D.C. youth (ages 11-18) in the great outdoors through field trips and nature retreats to public lands and national parks, including the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, the Frederick Douglass House, and Catoctin Mountain Park. Youth deepen their sense of responsibility for the environment—creating campaigns to protect open spaces, promote healthy, locally-produced food, and minimize pollution. 

Hawah Kasat, Co-Founder and Executive Director of One Common Unity

The problem is that spending less time in nature causes a wide range of socio-psychological issues, including anxiety and depression, among urban youth. The solution? We empower youth to become the environmental stewards of our future.

Impact

The Fly By Light program immerses disadvantaged D.C. youth in nature for the first time in their lives. Participants also achieve long-term academic and professional success, including higher than average rates of high school graduation, college enrollment, and long-term employment. 

In the 2017-2018 school year, we engaged over 5,000 students across 14 D.C. public schools and reached thousands more through school- and city-wide social and environmental justice campaigns. In the past 17 years, we have worked in 32 schools and trained over 9,800 teachers in our innovative arts driven social-emotional learning pedagogy. 

Impact by the numbers

  • Over 22,500 youth and families directly engaged to date 
  • Programs active in 16 D.C. public schools
  • 95% of youth increase their knowledge of public lands
  • 75%-85% achieve high school graduation, college enrollment and/or long-term employment

Innovation

Our youth nature retreats include indigenous “Rite of Passage” ceremonies. Under the guidance of a shaman, youth have powerful life-changing experiences further preparing them for the journey from teenager to adulthood.

Replicability

In the upcoming year, we hope to scale the Fly By Light program to serve over 20 middle and high schools in Washington, D.C. We also hope to build partnerships with schools in other cities facing similar challenges, such as Baltimore, Richmond, and Philadelphia. 

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

We estimate that there are thousands more youth in D.C. who could benefit from our programs. The biggest challenge is innovating and scaling the program to meet this tremendous need.

OrganizationWings Of America
LocationSanta Fe, NM
Founded1987
LeadershipDustin Martin, Executive Director
William E. Channing,  Co-Chair and Co-Founder
Andrew R. Hixon,  Co-Founder 
ContactDustin Martin, dustin@wingsofamerica.org

Initiative Overview

Wings of America Executive Director Dustin Martin

For 30 years, Wings has created opportunities for the next generation of Native role models and leaders by creating opportunities for devoted young runners. These young people have gone on to become coaches, teachers and health care providers for newer generations and walking proof that it is possible to defy the stereotypes and statistics.

Technically, they more often connect our participants to lands that are held in trust by the federal government for the Tribes rather than “public lands”. But yes, through running they connect participants of all ages to the land. Wings summer Running & Fitness Camp facilitators perhaps create the strongest connections to “public lands” of any of our constituents. Equipped with job assignments, vehicles and a group of able bodied peers, these young leaders criss cross “the rez” each summer delivering fitness programming to youth ages 6-18. Apart from visiting the incredible landscapes that many camps are hosted nearby, facilitators are encourage to visit monuments and parks nearby their workplaces. These experiences create unforgettable summers that morph their young runners into conservationists with in-depth knowledge of their ancestral homelands.