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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 17 March 2009

The Sierra Club, Passages Northwest, and the YMCA of Greater Seattle are coming together to deliver an important message:  youth today are sedentary and not getting enough time outdoors. The statistics are worse for youth in minority populations. 
The public is invited to hear more on this critical issue on March 18, when national experts will come to Seattle to "Celebrate Diversity in the Outdoors."
The event, featuring Winona LaDuke and Subhankar Banerjee, is Wednesday, March 18, 7-9 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center at Rainier Beach High School.
The two also speak as part of The Bush School's third annual Diversity Speaker Series Thursday, March 19 from 7-9 p.m. in The Bush School's New Gym, in a free event.
In her presentation, LaDuke will tackle a wide range of topics including climate change and sustainable energy, genetic food modification, freedom of religion for Native Americans, and the role of women in politics.
For more information about The Bush School's Diversity Speaker Series, please visit www.bush.edu/diversity. For reservations or if you have any questions, please call Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., Director of Diversity, at 206-326-7731 or eddie.moorejr@bush.edu.
Throughout the week, LaDuke and Banerjee will also be touring local high schools.
Not only does time in the outdoors encourage physical activity for youth, but studies also show:
Outdoor environmental programming helps students achieve academically
Outdoor education improves conflict resolution and problem solving skills in youth
Green outdoor activities significantly reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorders
"Today's youth are spending less time outdoors than their parents did just a generation before and this trend is even more evident among minority populations," says Martin LeBlanc, Sierra Club's National Youth Director. "Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors project is committed to improving access to the outdoors for youth from low-income and minority communities in Washington and throughout the nation."
Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors Project, YMCA of Greater Seattle and Passages Northwest are co-sponsoring a "Celebrate Diversity in the Outdoors" school tour and public event to reach a diverse community with inspiration to get outside.
"Winona LaDuke is such a wonderful role model for young women," says Katie Hultquist, Executive Director of Passages Northwest. "Here at Passages Northwest, we approach outdoor education with a multicultural focus by bringing together girls from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds to learn from and with each other."
LaDuke, a former vice presidential candidate, is the founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project and co-chair of the Women's Indigenous Network.
Throughout the week, LaDuke and Banerjee are visiting high schools to spread inspiration to Seattle's youth to get outside and learn about the environment. On tour, LaDuke and Banerjee visited Shorewood, Franklin and West Seattle high schools. Following each presentation, scholarship opportunities to get outside this coming summer were made available to students.
The school tour continues next week. For more information about the tour, please contact: Andrew Jay. For more information about the partner organizations hosting the tour, please visit their websites:
www.sierraclub.org/youth; www.passagesnw.org; www.ymcaboys.org

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