Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Kathryn Harrington
For Immediate Release: April 16, 2004
(202) 208-3568
Take Pride in America Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

WASHINGTON - Take Pride in America, a partnership program devoted to volunteerism on public lands, today celebrates its one-year anniversary. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced the Take Pride in America program on April 16, 2003. One year later, Take Pride in America has weekly volunteer events around the country and has formed partnerships with 100 charter partners and more than 40 state volunteer coordinators.

"A year ago, we built the foundation of a terrific program. Since then, Take Pride in America has not only grown, but it has truly improved our public lands," Norton said. "Take Pride in America has attracted the interest of countless Americans - volunteers from all over our nation who are making a difference on lands ranging from community gardens to ocean beaches."

Take Pride in America is part of President Bush's USA Freedom Corps and is a successful partnership involving federal, state and local governments, conservation, youth and recreation groups, and top national corporations and organizations.

"When I joined the Take Pride team, I had no idea how much support there would be for this program. One year later, it's obvious," Marti Allbright, Take Pride in America executive director, said yesterday at a meeting of Charter Partners. "The support is tremendous, the interest is growing and there are more opportunities than hours in the day."

The cornerstone of Take Pride in America is the belief that you have to engage individuals to take responsibility for improving their community environment. The program aims to encourage volunteers from every corner of America to keep our nation beautiful, whether it is at a national forest in the West, at a community beach on the Gulf of Mexico or on the sidewalk in front of an urban home.

Take Pride in America Year One Accomplishments

  • From July to December 2003, there were more than 100 Take Pride in America events across the country, involving more than 10,000 people.

  • The governors of 42 states and one territory have joined our bipartisan Governors' Council, led by Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.

  • Bipartisan congressional support continues to grow, with 16 senators and 24 representatives participating in the program.

  • The Take Pride in America City program was launched in January, and already mayors from Miami; Hempstead, N.Y.; Akron, Ohio; Norwalk, Conn.; and Apple Valley, Calif. have designated their communities as Take Pride in America Cities, committing to host two or more Take Pride events in their communities during the coming year.

  • The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management sponsored 90 National Public Lands Day/Take Pride in America events on BLM-managed lands across the country.

  • Take Pride partnered with the National Football League at its season opening kickoff in Washington, D.C., with both the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings leading playground construction in their communities.

  • Take Pride honored 15 outstanding volunteers and citizen stewardship projects from around the country at the National Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., last September.

  • DisneyHand, USA WEEKEND Magazine, the Points of Light Foundation, and AmeriCorps partnered with Take Pride last fall to host more than 300 volunteers along the Anacostia River for Make A Difference Day.

  • A New Year's Pledge Drive in Southern California, in cooperation with the Forest Service, Wonderful Outdoor World, Good Sam Club, San Gorgonio Council of Girl Scouts, Boy Scout Crew 220, the National Forest Recreation Association and others, resulted in volunteer pledges of 400,000 hours for forest-fire restoration efforts and other public lands projects in Southern California.

The Interior Department manages more than one in five acres in the United States. A federal workforce alone cannot protect and enhance the special legacy all Americans share - public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs and wildlife refuges, as well as cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds and recreation areas. Take Pride in America calls on all Americans to be stewards of our land. Learn more by visiting


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