Celebrate Camping During the Month of June

June is Great Outdoors Month® as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Great American Campout, a summer-long celebration of camping as a way to connect to nature and wildlife. Mind, body and spirit benefits from outdoor play are well-documented, according to NWF. Great Outdoors Month® during the month of June highlights outdoor activities to strengthen bonds with nature.  A cornerstone of the month is Great American Campout Day on June 22. People nationwide are encouraged to camp—whether in a State or National Park, or in their backyard. NWF.org


Oregon State University-Cascades Instructor Receives Academy of American Poets Award

Poet TC Tolbert, a faculty instructor at Oregon State University-Cascades (OSU-Cascades) and poet laureate of Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Academy of American Poets. Tolbert was one of only 13 poets recognized across the United States for their work of literary merit and for their plans to implement civic projects within the coming year. An off-site instructor for the MFA program in creative writing at OSU-Cascades, Tolbert is a published author whose teaching and research specialties include trans and genderqueer poetry and poetics. “Poets make immeasurable contributions,” says Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. “Their poems spark conversation and can help us learn about one another’s lives and unique experiences, which promotes greater understanding.” OSUCascades.edu



The Giving Plate Awarded Grant to Support Backpacks for Bend

The Giving Plate received a $30,000 grant from Central Oregon Health Council to help cover food and program costs for its emergency weekend food-relief program Backpacks for Bend. In 2018/19, the program supported 450 K-12 students in 28 Bend-La Pine schools with weekend food sacks, ensuring that no child had to face a weekend of hunger.  The grant funding will help provide 6,300 weekend food bags for children and help cover some of the expenses for the 2019-2020 school year. “We are incredibly grateful for Central Oregon Health Council’s partnership in the fight against childhood hunger,” says The Giving Plate Co-Director Ranae Staley. Central Oregon Health Council is dedicated to improving the health of the region and providing oversight of the Medicaid population and Coordinated Care Organization. “We are blessed to work in a community that cares so much about each other.  It is with gratitude that we are able to be part of feeding our youth and fighting food insecurity,” says Central Oregon Health Council executive director Donna Mills. COHealthCouncil.org, TheGivingPlate.org