IslandWood helping to turn soldiers into nature lovers

Photo: Sierra Club

IslandWood and the Sierra Club are teaming up to get more military service members and veterans into rock climbing, snow shoeing, bird watching and mountain biking.

About a dozen current and former soldiers and an equal number of Sierra Club volunteers are expected to gather for a retreat at the Bainbridge environmental education center this weekend. The topic: How does a decidedly liberal environmental organization make itself and its outdoor programs more welcoming to conservative-leaning military families?

The retreat is organized through the Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiative.

Heading up the initiative is Stacy Bare, an Iraq War veteran who credits rock climbing for helping him overcome severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We went to war to support our country and to support democracy, and there’s no greater expression of that than our public lands,” he said at a conference last year. “One of the things we’re very interested in is connecting military veterans and military families back to those lands that they defended. And the benefits are tremendous – opportunity to connect, opportunity to regain trust, and to allow your mind to wander in the natural beauty that is our country. Though that connection, we think we can re-integrate our American fighting forces back into our society.”

The retreat begins Friday evening and ends on Saturday at noon.

For more information, head over here.

One thought on “IslandWood helping to turn soldiers into nature lovers

  1. Fabulous idea – what fun!
    In addition, Olympic College has an outstanding Mountaineering Course every spring quarter.

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