OLYMPIA – July 20, 2023 – The outdoors is one our most powerful teachers and now more children will have access to its lessons.
The No Child Left Inside (NCLI) grant program, awarded by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks), will provide more than $6.7 million for 92 projects dedicated to expanding outdoor recreation and education opportunities for underserved youth in Washington. NCLI also will leverage more than $6.8 million in matching resources from grant recipients, increasing the investment in youth education and wellbeing.
“The world comes to Washington to experience our natural wonders, but some who live and grow here face barriers to accessing these local treasures not far from home,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “The No Child Left Inside grant program is once again providing opportunities to under-served youth to have more young Washingtonians experience the outdoors, learn about the world around them and apply this understanding to improve themselves and their communities.”
These grants will support more than 47,000 kids, aged 5 to 18 and provide 1.8 million hours of vital time in nature. Of the children and teens who will benefit from this grant cycle:
- 83 percent are eligible for free-and-reduced-priced school meals,
- 69 percent are youth of color,
- 25 percent are youth with a disability, and
- 18 percent are English-language learners.
“This program provides an invaluable resource to young people – access to nature,” Parks Director Diana Dupuis said. “We’re thrilled to be able to support formative outdoor experiences for more kids and in all corners of our state.”
NCLI continues to expand as more of Washington’s youth benefit from their experiences outside. This cycle, NCLI received the most grant applications in the program’s history, reviewing 174 submissions and $12.3 million in requests. This is the highest amount of funding requested in the program’s history and the highest amount of funding awarded. In the previous two biennia, the program received $4.5 million and $1.5 million, respectively.
“The NCLI grants are the most impactful education and recreation investments that the state makes,” Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said. “They help increase access to adventure and learning for thousands of children every year, creating memories, skills, and knowledge that the kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
NCLI funding comes from the state general fund and was one of a dozen recommendations of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation in 2014. The task force was charged with finding ways to increase participation in outdoor recreation, which has significant social and economic benefits.
Many of the successful applicants already have begun their projects. Projects will wrap up in June 2025, with the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office likely accepting new applications in August 2024.
Projects and more information:
News media contacts:
Susan Zemek, RCO Communications Manager, email@example.com
Sarah Fronk, Parks Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
About Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office administers grants to cities, counties, tribes, nonprofits and state and federal agencies to build and improve parks, trails, boating facilities, water access sites and firearm and archery shooting ranges. The agency also awards grants to preserve working farms and forests and to conserve fish and other wildlife habitat.