US Forest Service Awards Splore Funding to Establish Local Kids' Outdoor Leadership Program

Salt Lake City, UT, March 13, 2012 --( The U.S. Forest Service today awarded more than $17,000 to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest for the EVOLVE Project created by Splore, a local outdoor adventure organization.

The purpose of the EVOLVE Project is to develop an outdoor-based career-oriented youth leadership course for at-risk and minority teens.

“These programs provide an essential connection to our great outdoors,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We need kids to experience the wonders of the great outdoors and take ownership of the future of natural resources. Today’s children are tomorrow’s stewards of the land.”

The goals of the EVOLVE Project are to increase participation in outdoor recreation among at risk and minority teens, foster awareness among underserved families and provide access to outdoor-oriented career opportunities. The grant will provide three semester-long outdoor leadership courses for 45 teens. Participants will also engage in job-coaching, leadership training, and environmental stewardship classes. An essential element of the EVOLVE Project is job skills training and internship placement.

“Fewer than 30% of outdoor participants are ethnic minorities,” said Janine Donald, Associate Director of Splore. “Additionally, these populations report lack of gear as a primary inhibitor to outdoor recreation participation. As a fully-supported outdoor experience, the EVOLVE Project removes these barriers to recreation while fostering a connection to the outdoors and providing career opportunities in the outdoor industry.”

Splore is partnering with a variety of organizations/companies on the EVOLVE Project, including: US Forest Service; University Neighborhood Partners; Cottonwood Canyons Foundation; and REI.

Kimberly Schmit, Community Capacity Building Partnership Manager for University Neighborhood Partners said, “Splore has been critical in University Neighborhood Partners efforts to build programs that support teens who are of first generation immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Because of Splore, barriers to the outdoors have disappeared, relationships have been built and we are all engaged in creating a more equitable society. I can’t say enough.”

The Forest Service has been a leader in conservation education and recreation opportunities for more than a century. The agency’s conservation education programs build on the principles of education, stewardship and skill development that result in career pathways for future stewardship leaders.

Splore’s mission is to promote empowering experiences in an active friendly world through affordable, customized, and inclusive recreation and education programs for people of all abilities.


If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Janine Donald, please call Lindsay Malone at 801-484-4128 or email Lindsay at
Lindsay Malone