Press Release

U.S. Forest Service, The Wilderness Society and The Ad Council announce “Discover the Forest’s Get Your Community Outdoors!” GOOD Maker Challenge

$1,500 in prizes will be awarded for the best idea to motivate families to escape into the wild and discover the wonders of nature

Washington, DC, October 16, 2012 – In an effort to inspire more families to get outside and enjoy nature, the U.S. Forest Service, The Wilderness Society and the Ad Council are partnering with GOOD ( and GOOD Maker ( to launch the “Discover the Forest's Get Your Community Outdoors!” challenge. Individuals, groups and nonprofits are encouraged to submit their best ideas for how to motivate people in their communities to discover their wild side and reconnect with nature. The entrant with the most votes will be awarded $500 worth of airfare on Frontier airline to escape to the forest of their choice and $1,000 in grant funding to activate their idea.

Children who play outside have lower stress levels, more active imaginations, are fitter and leaner, and have stronger immune systems than those who don't. They also have higher self-esteem and are more likely to become environmentally conscious as adults. Yet according to a study by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, U.S. kids currently spend fifty percent less time outdoors than they did twenty years ago.

The Discover the Forest challenge asks: How would you inspire your community to escape and enjoy nature? How would you tell or show your friends and neighbors the many benefits of experiencing wilderness together with their families? How would you help get them there?

“We’re hoping communities put their best ideas forward on how to get more kids and families into the woods,” said US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.  “We want people to come out and enjoy America’s playgrounds -- your forests and grasslands.”

Participants are asked to submit their ideas for how to encourage families and communities to escape their stresses and enjoy the great outdoors. The entrants should explain their submissions in at least 3-5 sentences and submit an informal video or photograph(s) to illustrate their ideas. The best idea will be chosen by public vote!

“The Discover the Forest Challenge exemplifies the reason we built GOOD Maker, to motivate people to act,” said Rei Wang, Strategic Partnerships Manager at GOOD. “Although we are an online platform our goal at the end of the day is to inspire offline action.  We can’t wait to see the great ideas that come in through this challenge that inspire people to get up and get out.”

“Experiencing wilderness with your family not only provides a terrific bonding experience, but also creates a lasting connection to nature that nurtures children both physically and mentally,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “Our country has an extraordinary bounty of public lands, and we’re excited to partner with the Ad Council, U.S. Forest Service and GOOD Maker to inspire more Americans to discover their wild sides in our parks and forests.

“Daily life can be stressful, and it can be difficult for families to find the time to reconnect with each other and the outdoors,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “That's why we're excited to partner with GOOD Maker to launch this fun challenge to help encourage Americans to escape and discover the many benefits of nature.”

Those interested in participating in “Discover the Forest's Get Your Community Outdoors!” challenge should go to for contest rules, eligibility guidelines, and submission instructions. Submission Deadline is Noon PST, Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council have partnered since 2009 on the Discover the Forest campaign which encourages families to unplug and reconnect  by getting outdoors and enjoying the wonders of nature. Spanish-language PSAs were released earlier this year to promote the Hispanic-focused Descubre el Bosque campaign.

You can follow Discover the Forest on and on Twitter @Cheecker and connect with the challenge on Twitter using #CommunityEscapeChallenge. 

U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service ( manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American Public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The U.S. Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and The Advertising Council.

The Wilderness Society
The Wilderness Society ( is the leading American public-lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Backed by more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres of wilderness. Since our founding in 1935, TWS has been at the forefront of nearly every major public lands victory and has profoundly improved the way our public lands are managed and enjoyed.

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

GOOD is a global community of, by, and for pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress. ( is the platform for collaboration between members of the GOOD community and the organizations and corporations that work with the GOOD community. For each member of GOOD, the mission is to learn and do what’s good for you and good for all.

GOOD Maker
GOOD Maker is a tool to help you make good things happen. GOOD Maker gives individuals and organizations the ability to tap into the public's creativity and energy to address an issue that's important to them. To learn more, visit

Media Contacts:
U.S. Forest Service, Press Office, 202-205-1134
Abigail Quesinberry, Ad Council, 212-984-1971, [email protected]
Jennifer Stephens, The Wilderness Society, 206-605-2411, [email protected]
Rei Wang, GOOD, 646.664.4254, [email protected]

Help us improve this site!
Take our quick survey.

Ad Council Family of Sites