In a formal ceremony on Capitol Hill this week, Ojai Valley School freshman Tigran Nahabedian was presented with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) Acorn Award for his work connecting young people with public parks and lands.
Tigran was among eight people — including lawmakers and park service officials — honored by OAK in Washington, D.C., for their contributions in advancing opportunities for children, youth and families to learn, get active and serve in the outdoors.
Tigran accepted the award with gratitude, saying afterward that he is extremely grateful to know that his work is making change. He added that he is even more determined than ever to continue connecting youths with the world outside their homes and classrooms.
“It was a great honor to receive the OAK Award,” said Tigran, who was joined by his parents at the Washington ceremony. “I am glad to be able to help give kids a passion for the outdoors and make a difference in national policy.”
The Outdoor Alliance for Kids is a national partnership that has brought together more than 60 million individuals and 100 businesses to advance the common goal of connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The National Trust Fund is one of the many organizations involved with OAK, and it nominated Tigran for the OAK Acorn award based on his outstanding stewardship of public parks and lands.
Specifically, Tigran was recognized for displaying exemplary youth leadership as a junior ranger with the National Park Service and as a board member and youth director of the Channel Islands Park Foundation, where he has helped promote the importance of Every Kids Outdoors, a federal program that provides fourth graders across the country with free access to public lands and waters.
The nomination also noted that Tigran had been selected as the National Park Trust’s inaugural Buddy Bison Student Ambassador, and that he now serves as a mentor to 17 other ambassadors who are charged with engaging the next generation of park lovers and stewards.
In its nomination, the National Park Trust characterized Tigran as the very embodiment of youth stewardship in the nation’s parks and public lands. OAK recognizes leaders in this area at several levels, including decision makers at the national level, longtime OAK members and young people such as Tigran, who have passionately advocated for the benefits that come with connecting kids with the outdoors.
“Tigran once shared with OAK his hopes for becoming the director of the National Park Service one day. As an advocate for connecting young people with our parks, he is well on his way,” said Jackie Ostfeld, OAK’s founder and chair. “The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is working to ensure all children and youth have access and opportunities to experience the natural world, and we need more young people like Tigran leading the way as ambassadors for our parks and champions for getting every kid outdoors.”Share