SHIFT for the Planet Presenters Announced

What does an organization that enhances the quality of life for women with breast cancer, a non-profit that builds healthy Native communities using youth running initiatives, and an initiative that unites the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of coral reef conservation have in common?

They’re all part of this year’s SHIFT for the Planet.

On Tuesday, October 16, following a keynote address by Dr. Michael Suk, SHIFT for the Planet will mark 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.

Designed in partnership with 1% for the PlanetSilicon Couloir, and George B. Storer Foundation,  SHIFT for the Planet spotlights eight SHIFT Award finalists who are 1% for the Planet non-profit partners in a series of five-minute presentations that feature the work’s focus, its impact, and a central challenge facing its ongoing success.

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

For funders who seek to protect our public lands by supporting the country’s best conservation work, SHIFT for the Planet also offers a unique opportunity to expand their knowledge of and relationships with organizations at the front lines of the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership, and to gather privately to discuss strategies to increase the impact of their work.

On October 17 and 18, following SHIFT for the Planet, New Network Leader Founder Jane Wei-Skillern will lead two invite-only working lunches for funders to explore ways to align and enhance the impact of their funding strategies.

The 2018 SHIFT for the Planet presenters are as follows.

Casting for Recovery

Location: Bozeman, MT

Description: The mission of Casting for Recovery (CfR) is to provide empowerment and healing to women with breast cancer through authentic outdoor experiences. CfR believes that the natural world is a healing force. By introducing a new skill – catch and release fly fishing –  CfR invites women facing breast cancer to experience the outdoors in a meaningful way, bringing inspiration and balance to their lives. CfR serves women of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants.


Location: Montauk, NY

Description: FORCE BLUE’s mission is to unite the community of Special Operations combat veterans with the world of marine science and marine resource preservation for the betterment of both.

FORCE BLUE recruits the most highly skilled, highly trained individuals within the veteran Spec Ops community — individuals in whom governments have invested millions of dollars to create the best possible underwater operators — then retools and retrains them under the tutelage of the best marine scientists and conservationists to redeploy on conservation missions across the globe.

FORCE BLUE is actively involved with NOAA and its Marine Sanctuaries Program.  Plans are in place for our team(s) to take part in underwater preservation and restoration missions inside many of the existing 13 National Marine Sanctuaries and to assist in the survey and mapping of a potential 14th in 2019.

Park Rx America

Location: Washington, DC

Description: Park Rx America (formally DC Park Rx) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship, by virtue of prescribing Nature during the routine delivery of healthcare.

The Park Rx America model facilitates entering and tracking information about the park prescription within the patient electronic medical record (EMR). Outside the EMR information is collected on the numbers of prescriptions written by each doctor, the number and percent of those prescriptions “filled” by their patients, and the park locations visited. Patients are identified by codes to protect privacy and medical information. The doctor is notified by text message what the patent completes the prescription. This model tracks the effectiveness of prescribing to get people outdoors; however, it does not track health outcomes. We determine health outcomes via testimonials from doctors and patients and thorough controlled studies conducted by independent researchers.

Dr. Hanaa Hamdi, National Public Land Director, Trust for Public Land

Location: New York, NY

Description: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has completed more than 4,250 park and conservation projects in communities nationwide, protecting more than 3 million acres.

Dr. Hanaa Hamdi, TPL’s National Public Land Director, addresses how TPL assesses health outcomes through their projects. She brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge within the field of public health to her thought leadership, and is leading The Trust for Public Land staff in pilot cities across the country to refine their expertise in this arena.

Soul River Runs Deep

Location: Portland, OR

Description: Soul River Runs Deep uplifts and strengthens communities by connecting inner city youth and veterans to the outdoors. harnessing incredible opportunities and powerful experiences that forges strong connections between youth and veterans, their communities, and the natural world. Spending time embraced in currents of river water, trekking majestic forested trails, and witnessing a bald eagle or elk in its habitat is healing. Connecting with nature is a powerful outlet to reduce stress, find focus, sharpen self-awareness, embrace spirituality, and develop positive values beneficial to both the individual and community. Soul River unites youth and veterans on challenging yet rewarding adventures at zero cost where they become part of something bigger than themselves, developing into strong leaders in the outdoors and their communities.

Free Forest School

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Description: Free Forest School (FFS) ignites children’s innate capacity to learn through unstructured play in nature, fostering healthy development and nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers, collaborative leaders and environmental stewards.

A central component of FFS is adult education — bringing awareness of the value of nature play for healthy development to the adults who shape young children’s lives. Their core offerings focus on reaching parents and caregivers of children birth to 6, and their new Elementary Phenology Project addresses educators and administrators to communicate the value of nature play for whole child development for elementary school students. Specifically, they emphasize physical health benefits (physical fitness, motor development, research showing nature play can reduce obesity rates, etc.), mental health benefits (reduced stress, social/emotional development, increased focus and reduction of ADHD, particular benefits for children with ASD, etc.), and the cognitive benefits that support academic success (critical thinking, creativity, executive function, etc.). The adults who are engaged in their programming witness health improvements in their children, and report a reduction of stress and improvement in well-being in themselves as a result of engagement with FFS.

One Common Unity, Fly By Light: Discover Your True Nature

Location: Washington, DC

Description: One Common Unity (OCU) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that breaks cycles of violence and builds compassionate, healthy communities through the transformative power of art and music, peace education, and nature immersion. Their distinctive, holistic approach to youth engagement provides a strong foundation for low-income youth in Washington, D.C. to succeed academically and professionally, reach their personal goals, and live healthy, productive lives.

The Fly By Light: Discover Your True Nature program advances the following goals: 1) increasing public land use and awareness 2) promoting environmental stewardship through public engagement. FBL focuses specifically on the needs of disadvantaged youth who face issues with conduct disorder, chronic depression, substance abuse, previous incarceration, foster care, domestic violence, or discrimination. They serve the most vulnerable youth because they have the least access to the services they so desperately need to support their health and well-being and achieve their long-term academic and professional goals.

Wings of America

Location: Santa Fe, NM

Description: 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.

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