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Omaha makes the cut for federal parks initiative

Posted at 5:28 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-03 18:39:19-04
Omaha is one of 50 cities that made the cut.
 
The federal Department of the Interior is recruiting a million volunteers nationwide to work in public parks.
 
It’s part of First Lady Michelle Obama's let's move outside program aimed at getting kids off the couch and being active outside. 
 
U.S. Secretary of The Interior Sally Jewell says Omaha was chosen among 50 cities to share a $2.5 million grant to strengthen already flourishing parks across the metro.
 
She says the YMCA and AmeriCorps is working with local, regional and federal park management to get more kids interested in outdoor volunteering and recreation.
 
"When you get out with young people, no matter what they're doing on public lands whether it's picking up trash or removing invasive species or building trails, they begin to learn about that place in a way that never leaves them," Jewel said.
 
Workers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service worked with kids from the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club Wednesday morning at Fontenelle Park, planting flowers, collecting trash and installing shelters for birds and bats.
 
Outdoor volunteer and 6th grader Theodore Lueders says his favorite part?
 
Getting dirty. 
 
"Work with the dirt and sometimes you find worms and it doesn't matter if you get dirty or not,” Lueders said.
 
7th grader Shea Alexzander Bartlett planted three pots of flowers and says volunteering makes him feel good.
 
"It makes me feel like a good person and helping others,” Bartlett said. “Whenever somebody is in trouble and I make them happy, it makes me happy."