At eight locations spread across the country, volunteers organized by the Outdoor Channel and its local cable partners will be mobilized for a “Conservation Tour of Duty,” cleaning up trails, parks and beaches, among other things. Most will take place Saturday, September 25th, which is National Public Lands Day.
The Outdoor Channel launched the Outdoor Channel Corps initiative back in May, with this weekend as the first big target for volunteers to serve specific “Tours of Duty.” And while this is the first year from the initiative, the bigger goal is to have a million volunteers work on outdoor-related projects over the next five years, making it the largest outdoor volunteer program of its kind.
One of the biggest events is taking place Saturday at the William H. Pouch Scout Camp on New York City’s Staten Island, where volunteers will clean trails and open spaces. Time Warner Cable is working with Outdoor Channel on the effort, along with the Committee to Save Pouch Camp.
Denise Conroy-Galley, Sr. VP of Marketing and Research for Outdoor Channel, told RBR-TVBR that the Outdoor Channel Corps initiative has been promoted both on air and in a special section of the channel’s website, which draws over a million unique visitors monthly. The conservation group partners and cable MSOs have also been promoting the effort.
“Pheasants Forever has been really, really active about going out to their big member base, promoting the events, promoting the folks to sign up and volunteer,” Conroy-Galley said, referring to just one of the conservation groups aligned with the effort.
“Our viewers are influencers. These are folks that volunteer in their communities for charities and causes. A lot of them actually serve on town councils, public boards. They are folks that roll up their sleeves and really want to get involved,” Conroy-Galley said of the network’s research that led to development of the Outdoor Channel Corps initiative. “Hunters and anglers feel a real responsibility for conservation, because they know that if they aren’t the ones leading that charge that, from an access perspective, you’ll have less and less access and less and less ability to hunt and to fish and do the things that folks enjoy, even if its hiking or biking or any of those things. That passion, that loyalty to that cause is something that we’ve really tapped into,” she noted.
Outdoor Channel is offering a weekly prize drawing for volunteers. Not only is it building a big database toward that goal of one million volunteers, but the careful recordkeeping of volunteer hours will help some parks qualify for federal grants.
While National Public Lands Day will always be a focus of the initiative, Conroy-Galley says the response from local cable partners has been so enthusiastic that events will take place throughout the year beginning in 2011. Also, Outdoor Channel is in talks with a number of advertisers about participation in the program.
Outdoor Channel Corps volunteers will be turning out for “Tours of Duty” at the following locations:
* Denotes events officially held in conjunction with the National Environmental Education’s (NEEF) National Public Lands Day