Contacts for
more information

Bradley Smith, Ph.D., Chair
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504-3200
(360) 902-2267

Joe Stohr, Deputy Director
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
PO Box 43200
Olympia, WA 98504-3200
(360) 902-2650


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  Youth Outdoors Initiative

Many young people increasingly live in a ‘virtual world’ of high-tech gadgets and artificial light. They don’t often unplug and step outside. For many reasons, they simply don’t engage in the challenges or enjoy the pleasures of outdoor activity.

Too many youth are inside, inactive, screen-bound and hold negative attitudes about outdoor recreation.

Evidence abounds to document the costs of inactivity in poor health, obesity, and alarming rates of disease among young people who should be our healthiest and fittest citizens.

Where do you think
young people should
spend their time --
in nature, indoors,
or between screens?

Photo courtesy of Take Me Fishing

What may be worse is the growing disconnection between our student-age citizens and the values and benefits of conservation and outdoor recreation.

That’s why the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the citizen members of our state Fish and Wildlife Commission have begun the Youth Outdoors Initiative, an effort to lead the nation in involving youth in the outdoors.

We’ve made a great start
In October 2013, we assembled a group of bright, energetic, young outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen to share their thoughts on how to reach their peers with our message

We identified these youth leaders through our extensive network of contacts among the state’s fishing, hunting, public service and conservation organizations. In all, we reached out to 75 regional and statewide youth-focused organizations.

To our delight, our youth leaders showed unabashed enthusiasm for this concept. They urged us to create a permanent youth advisory group, and they suggested specific strategies for recruiting more of their peers into outdoor activities.

Encouraged by the outcome of this initial work, we are ready to make a longer-term commitment to this effort. We plan to initiate a permanent youth advisory council, and with the members’ help we will develop robust strategies for youth oriented activities.

The first priorities of the council will include establishing systems and exploring ideas the young people have already generated for better connecting youth with conservation efforts and outdoor activities throughout Washington. We plan to promote communication and outreach, citizen science efforts, and environmental education to get more young people involved in outdoor activities.

Play a part, get involved
Whether developing independent and capable personalities, increasing young people’s health, building Washington’s outdoor economy, or encouraging a more involved citizenry required to support our state’s wildlife protection, rehabilitation or conservation efforts, your support for this youth council is a commitment to the future.

Three ways to help:

  1. Take a young person outside –Barriers to youth participation in the outdoors include lack of transportation, lack of exposure, lack of knowledge and lack of someone like you to come along.

  2. Support our effort with contributions – State law permits WDFW to accept funds on behalf of this project to support our conservation mission. Building a firm foundation for this effort requires support from people like you. For more information, see the supporting documentation.

  3. Make a donation online via – It’s easy to make a donation via credit or debit card online at any time, or when you are purchasing your fishing or hunting license or Discover Pass at the WDFW License Sales Website.
The registration required by Washington’s Charitable Solicitation Act is on file with the Secretary of State’s Office. Additional financial and other information is available by contacting (360) 902-2650, the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-332-4483 or by visiting