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Thrive Outside 2022

October-November 2022 is Thrive Outside Month!

We’re helping create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all through the Thrive Outside Initiative


Access to the outdoors is a human right. Spending time in nature has immense social, emotional, physical, and academic benefits. Everyone deserves to have access to meaningful, safe outdoor experiences and the benefits that come along with them. And access to the outdoors is a pathway to a crucial and growing piece of Maine's economy.


It is also true that 84% of people of color live in nature deprived areas in Maine; a state that is 89% forest. We must act in order to address both this significant disparity and the root causes of this inequity.

National Thrive Outside day is a national campaign by the Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative to support inclusive and accessible outdoor experiences for diverse communities across the country. Thrive Outside is helping to cast a light on these disparities and share the diverse ways that people connect with nature. The Nature Based Education Consortium is the leader of the Thrive Outside Maine community.


As a network, the Nature Based Education Consortium is oriented toward systems change as well as action to ensure access to outdoor experience for all Maine youth.


To acknowledge the barrier of cost and the community commitment it takes to overcome it, NBEC is teaming up with The Third Place, Bureau of Parks & Lands, Maine Initiatives, Leonard C. and Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy to distribute free state park passes directly to BIPOC individuals and organizational leaders. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color can enter to receive a pass.


In order to work toward systems change, NBEC is partnering with Maine Initiatives to co-host an Outdoor Equity Fund to make grants to BIPOC-led outdoor organizations through a process of participatory grantmaking.

#MaineThrivesOutside #ThriveOutside

Thank you to our partners in this initiative


The Third Place, Bureau of Parks & Lands, The Nature Conservancy, Leonard C. and Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation, and Maine Initiatives

The Third Place logo
Bureau of Parks & Lands logo.png
The Nature Conservancy in Maine logo.png
MI-NBEC Combined Logo.png
Maine Thrives Outside - Thrive Outside (words on a bright green background)

We’re helping create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all through the Thrive Outside Initiative, a community-led program built with trusted local and national partners. The Thrive Outside Initiative is focused on reversing the declining trend of outdoor engagement by working at the grassroots level, empowering communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all.


The Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to build and strengthen networks focused on providing children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors.

As the backbone of the Thrive Outside Maine Community, NBEC is strengthening our statewide network of nonprofit, philanthropic, and business partners.

Here's what is happening in other Thrive Outside communities across the US:
  • ATLANTA: The Thrive Outside Atlanta Community, led by the West Atlanta Watershed, works to coalescenetwork partners around establishing a recreation and urban ecology hub at the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance Outdoor Activity Center. The hub servesas a centerpiece for engaging children from the YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Atlanta Parks and Recreation in the outdoors. Activities focus on providing youth educational and recreational experiences along the Chattahoochee River watersheds and close to home. 

  • BOULDER/DENVER: Boulder/Denver Thrive, led by Nature Kids/Jovenes De La Naturaleza, is on a mission to provide equity centered, pre-k to high school, backyard to backcountry, family integrated environmental education and outdoor programs.

  • CHICAGO: The Thrive Outside Chicago Community, led by The Nature Conservancy and in partnership with People of the Global Majority in Outdoors, Nature, and Environment, is strengthening existing grassroots efforts to create pathways for equitable access to the outdoors for BIPOC communities across the city.

  • DETROIT:Thrive Outside Detroit, led by YMCA of Metro Detroit and Detroit Outdoors, connects youth and families with the wonderful world of nature by working with regional organizations and agencies to share resources and skills so that the outdoors is truly a place for all.

  • GRAND RAPIDS: Thrive Outside Grand Rapids, led by the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, works to equitably empower youth, families, and youth serving organizations through their free outdoor gear library and instructional programs.

  • OKLAHOMA CITY: Led by the RIVERSPORT Foundation, the Thrive Outside OKC works to advance the infusion of an active outdoor culture into Central Oklahoma through a coordinated effort that leverages existing world class outdoor adventure and recreational resources with established strategic alliances.

  • PHILADELPHIA: The Thrive Outside Greater Philadelphia Community, led by the National Wildlife Federation, is bringing together existing regional coalitions, community-based organizations, and stakeholders to co-create pathways for equitable outdoor access.

  • SAN DIEGO: The vision for Thrive Outside San Diego, led by the San Diego Foundation,is to build regional capacity through collective impact by bringing together multi-sector stakeholders for greater coordination across education, advocacy, and programming. We are committed to Outdoors for All, Outdoors for Health,and Outdoors Forever.

  • SEATTLE: Led by King County Play Equity Coalition, Thrive Outside Seattle seeks to transform King County into a region where all youth -particularly youth from historically underserved groups and those furthest from play equity -experience the physical, social, and emotional benefits of play, sports, outdoor recreation and physical activity.

  • ST. LOUIS: Thrive Outside St. Louis, led by River City outdoors, exists to remove barriers for people seeking access outdoor recreation.

  • TWIN CITIES: The Thrive Outside Twin Cities Community, led by Wilderness Inquiry,is using community organizing techniques to coalesce a new and diverse group of partners to help families connect with the outdoors on the Mississippi River and other local waters.

  • WASHINGTON, DC: Led by Friends of Anacostia Park, Washington DC Thrive Outside’s goal is to empower a network of social and environmental partners to activate parks and green spaces as hubs for vital outdoor engagement that considers the mental, physical, and social wellness of youth and families in Washington DC.

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