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CO Group Fishes for Funding to Fight Childhood Obesity

Photo: ELK programs for kids help educate on science, exercise and nutrition. Courtesy: ELK (c) 2013.
Photo: ELK programs for kids help educate on science, exercise and nutrition. Courtesy: ELK (c) 2013.
June 25, 2013

DENVER - This is Great America Outdoors Week, and in Colorado what it takes to get kids moving could be the state's rivers and streams. Denver-based Environmental Learning for Kids - ELK - works with 20,000 children in the Denver area every year to help expose them to the outdoors in the hope of providing a source of exercise and well-being.

According to CEO Stacie Gilmore, fishing is a great source of exercise and even helps provide better nutrition for the children they serve.

"They're standing up, they're moving around," she said. "They're bending over to get worms to put on their hook. You can eat fish, which is a wonderful source of a healthy protein."

This week ELK is joining 17 national organizations in sending a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama asking her to support funding for more places for recreation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The First Lady has made fighting childhood obesity a priority through her Let's Move campaign.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a major source of funding for parks and outdoor recreation spaces. Gilmore said distributing funding locally will enable the funds to have a very targeted impact.

"I'd like to see those funds trickling down to the state and local levels where we can make sure that we have places to go to get outdoors and to be active."

That fund uses oil-royalty fees rather than taxpayer money to fund parks. Michelle Obama has previously expressed support for the Interior Department's work as critical to children's health and well-being. The letter is also addressed to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO