Rallying community support for bite-sized needs of youth-in-nature nonprofits.


Please help us combat a nature deficit epidemic!

According to Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood:

  • Chickens and inmates get more time outside than our kids do
  • 30% of kids get less than 15 minutes outside per day
  • On average, kids get 7 hours 40 minutes of screen time per day
  • In one generation, obesity is up 300% and Ritalin usage up 3000%, while outdoor time for kids has been cut in half

If these trends bother you, then please click here now and take action to support KOA's youth-in-nature nonprofit members!

What is "bite-sized" support?

  • KOA’s members typically have operationally important unaddressed needs that are relatively easy to support in terms of donor time, effort, and cost
  • Given the limited resources of our members, these needs often don’t receive the attention required to tackle them in a timely manner, if at all
  • KOA is focused on rallying community support for these bite-sized needs

What kinds of bite-sized needs are the current focus of KOA’s support?

  • Awareness: Supporters using their readily available communications (newsletters, social media, etc.) to spread the word about programs as requested by KOA members
  • Recruiting: Supporters spreading the word to help KOA members fulfill specific needs for finding people (volunteers, employees, interns, consultants, board members, etc.)
  • Donations: Supporters making gifts of $50 (always $50, to keep it simple and “bite-sized”) for member-identified needs such as hiking boots, microscopes, or transportation costs

What is KOA's general approach to supporting beneficiary members?

  • KOA's spotlight partners act as a collective communications channel to raise community awareness about regional youth-in-nature nonprofits, and ways that KOA helps them with valuable yet bite-sized support
  • KOA provides web-based tools that make it easy for community supporters to address members' bite-sized needs

How will KOA provide more effective support down the road?

  • NOTE: Active KOA member support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)
  • The KOA team is working with partners on feasibiity/development of a web-based software tool ("Nibble") to radically improve our ability to support our beneficiary members
  • If Nibble deploys, it will make it easier for our members to manage and promote their own bite-sized needs
  • Nibble will also make it easy for donors to quickly find the bite-sized needs they want to support, and to take immediate action
  • Donors will be able to subscribe to notifications about new needs they care about

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These orgs help over 100,000 kids/year connect with nature

Benefits to KOA members

  • NOTE: Active KOA member support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)
  • Resolving bite-sized yet important needs that might otherwise go unaddressed (click here to help now)
  • General increased visibility within the community
  • Targeted increased visibility among people who are particularly interested in helping youth-in-nature nonprofits
  • Expansion of member visibility through the continuous addition of KOA spotlight partners

KOA membership criteria

  • Orgs that are 501(c)(3) nonprofits (or have a fiscal sponsor)
  • Some of their programs help youth (grades K-12) form direct positive connections with the natural outdoors
  • Some of these youth live in King County, WA

KOA members

(listed alphabetically)

Bike Works Youth-in-nature connection: “Bike Works serves youth ages 9-18 in Southeast Seattle and surrounding communities. In our bicycle-centered programs participants explore outdoor environments ranging from local parks to the Kitsap Peninsula and Washington’s islands.” (email)

Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation Youth-in-nature connection: “Our summer camps, elementary school bike riding classes and middle school after-school programs teach kids how to incorporate being outside into their day-to-day life by teaching biking for fun, fitness and transportation.” (email)

Environmental Science Center Youth-in-nature connection: “Environmental Science Center gets young scientists outdoors. Programs serve K-12th grade students of South King County. Our students are primarily from low-income, ethnically diverse families. We connect students to salmon streams and tidepools to promote stewardship.” (email)

Forterra Youth-in-nature connection: “Forterra hosts volunteer restoration events, which include youth participation, throughout the region on properties we own or help to manage. We also have school groups which utilize our preserves to explore and study local flora and fauna.” (email)

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Youth-in-nature connection: “For the past 15 years the Mountains to Sound Greenway has been providing outdoor education programs to 4th - 12th grade students from schools located throughout King County.” (email)

Nature Vision Youth-in-nature connection: “Nature Vision brings place-based, experiential nature education programs directly to schools and green spaces to reach as many students as possible. We work to ensure that all students receive quality nature connections where they need them the most.” (email)

North Cascades Institute Youth-in-nature connection: “North Cascades Institute’s Youth Leadership Adventures program immerses 14-18 year olds from King County on our backcountry courses. Youth spend 8-16 days exploring the spectacular North Cascades, developing leadership skills and a lifelong conservation ethic with a supportive peer group.” (email)

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center Youth-in-nature connection: “We provide dynamic environmental education programming for kids on our 225-acre property in the Snoqualmie Valley. Kids primarily aged 4-12 explore and harvest produce directly from our fields during school field trips and summer camps.” (email)

Rite of Passage Journeys Youth-in-nature connection: “Our experiential learning fosters self-discovery, and connection with the natural world. Participants safely experience the outdoors, including campfires, storytelling, stargazing, and the beauty of the Pacific NW wilderness and beaches.” (email)

Sound Experience Youth-in-nature connection: “Sound Experience delivers programming to K-12 young people throughout the Puget Sound region. Approximately 40-50% of the young people who participate in our day and overnight shipboard programs live in King County.” (email)

Seattle ICO Youth-in-nature connection: “Seattle ICO works in partnership with nine public schools in King County to provide 60+ wilderness outings for 800 youth participants annually.” (email)

Terra-Forma Education Youth-in-nature connection: “Our summer day camp program for 6 to 10-year-olds is outdoors every day to explore wetlands, tide pools, forests, streams and ponds. In our year-long, once per month rite of passage program for tweeners, youth build their own community to engage in restoration projects, snowshoeing, ropes challenge courses, camping, backpacking, or whatever they would like! We also offer specialized youth programs to meet any group or situation.” (email)

The Mountaineers Youth-in-nature connection: “We provide outdoor experiences for youth, grades k-12. 65% of the youth programming is outdoor time. Of the 5587 youth experiences in fiscal 2014, 80% of those programs were in nature.” (email)

Washington Trails Association Youth-in-nature connection: “WTA engages youth ages 10 and up in volunteer trail maintenance projects on public lands. Whether coming out with their parents for a day or on a week-long Youth Vacation in the summer, youth are giving back to hiking trails all across the state.” (email)

Wilderness Awareness School Youth-in-nature connection: “Youth Outdoor Programs in King County: Summer week-long day camps, overnight camps, and expeditions (ages 6-18); Monthly school-year weekend adventures (6-13 and 14-18); Weekly school-year Preschool (4-6) and Homeschools (7-9, 10-13, and 14-18).” (email)

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Spotlight partners reach thousands of potential supporters

Current spotlight partners

What are spotlight partners?

  • Generous supporters of regional youth-in-nature nonprofits (KOA members)
  • Allied organizations that each have communities of thousands of King County, WA residents that the orgs can readily reach via their social media, newsletters, emails, etc.
  • Example spotlight partner org types include: media properties; non-profits; for-profit enterprises; and government agencies
  • Some spotlight partners have their own youth-in-nature programs, and yet they generously step up to help KOA support all of our members...that's genuinely selfless community spirit!!

What is the current spotlight partner scope of assistance?

  • NOTE: Active KOA member support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)
  • Spotlight communication: As described in detail in the members section, spotlight partner team captains work with KOA to ensure that quarterly KOA messages are communicated through the spotlight partner's available community communication channels (e.g. social media, newsletters, blog posts, etc.)
  • Program evolution: Spotlight partner team captains actively consider ways to improve KOA's performance and share these ideas with KOA

Do you know a prospective spotlight partner?

  • When completion of Nibble software is imminent, KOA will resume actively expanding its number of spotlight partners
  • If you'd like to introduce us to a potential spotlight team captain within an org that meets the spotlight partner description above, we'd love to here from you! Please email us

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Campfire Hoopla events are on hold until KOA's Nibble software is inevitable

Click here to see event images (Flickr web).

The 2015 Campfire Hoopla was an evening bash that featured an inspiring recognition ceremony along with trail snacks and light dinner-ish camper fare, hosted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, live instrumental music from Buckshot tuned perfectly for the scene, and of course...roast-your-own s'mores!

2015 Campfire Hoopla basics:

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A group-hug of gratitude for our sponsors!

Jason Karas & Miriam Marcus

2015 operations donation

David & Sophia McShea

2015 operations donation

Jameson & Christine Morrell

2015 operations donation

The Willowmoor Foundation

2015 operations donation

Georgetown Brewing Company

2015 awards event venue & beer donation

Sponsor's Website

Central Co-op

2015 awards event refreshments donation

Sponsor's Website

Theo Chocolate

2015 awards event refreshments donation

Sponsor's Website

Sponsorship of our operational and event costs is critical to the success of this program. Donations are tax-deductible through our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor Sustainable Seattle.

If you are interested in sponsoring the KOA, please email us

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Highlights of KOA’s past, present and future program

KOA is an evolving effort to tackle an ever-increasing number of unaddressed bite-sized - yet important - needs of an ever-increasing number of members.


  • Founding of KOA as an awards program to provide enhanced community visibility for nonprofits that connect local youth with nature
  • Fiscal sponsor partnership with Sustainable Seattle
  • Sign-up of KOA launch advisors and 7 rock star KOA 2015 award judges


  • 15 beneficiary orgs (now referred to as “members”) qualified as finalists for the 2015 KOA awards program
  • Successfully signed up a targeted number and mix of spotlight partners
  • Wildly successful - and fun - 1st annual KOA Campfire Hoopla (event images)
  • Identified an opportunity for KOA to "pivot" to a new approach with greater potential for becoming valuable to our members by focusing on supporting bite-sized needs of all members (versus a member awards program)
  • Concluded that KOA can only be effective in delivering this new approach with the assistance of a new web-based software tool
  • KOA program placed on hold pending appointment of new Executive Director of our fiscal sponsor Sustainable Seattle, and verification of their continued support of KOA


  • Sustainable Seattle appoints new Executive Director, BJ Cummings, who verified continued support for KOA
  • Active KOA member support, partner expansion, and Campfire Hoopla events on hold while KOA and partners explore feasibility/develop a software solution ("Nibble") to more effectively support bite-sized needs of KOA members
  • As an all-volunteer endeavor, Nibble evaluation and deployment timing is currently uncertain


  • Pending deployment of the Nibble software tool...
  • Continued optimization of KOA support for members
  • Continued increase in the number of supported members
  • Continued increase in the number of spotlight partners
  • Begin efforts to expand to additional metro areas

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Thanks for exploring KOA!

Kids Outside Alliance ("KOA") is a WA nonprofit corporation with a simple focus, which is to:

Rally regional community support to help address important bite-sized needs of nonprofit orgs that connect youth with the natural outdoors.

As described in some detail in the "Help!" section of this web site, we're accomplishing this objective by developing and delivering services to assist our beneficiary members with the help of a leadership coalition of organizations that we refer to as spotlight partners.

Our donors, partners, sponsors, volunteers and other community supporters are familiar with - and inspired by - the benefits that accrue to the health of individual participants, of our communities, and of our planet as a result of our the programs delivered by KOA's members.

KOA’s method includes optimizing its support through trial and error in collaboration with members, with spotlight partners, and with other supporters. The roadmap section of this web site describes how KOA support has already evolved.

KOA's focus and approach to supporting the needs of its nonprofit members is unique, and complements the myriad of ways that youth-in-nature nonprofits are being assisted by NGO's such as the Children & Nature Network, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, and The Seattle Foundation.

NOTE: Active KOA member support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section).

Sustainable Seattle, with a mission that is aligned with the objectives of the KOA, has stepped up as our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor and as a spotlight partner.


Gavin Andrews, advisor/Nibble software product mgmnt. lead

John Daly, founder

David Harms, advisor/technology lead

Garrett Kephart, secretary

Michelle Ruiz, advisor/event coordination

Brett Tanis-Likkel, advisor/web & graphic design

Thank you again to our 2015 awards program judges!

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Do you have questions or suggestions?

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