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EPA Commemorates World Environment Day

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*EPA Commemorates World Environment Day

**WASHINGTON--Jine 3, 2011: EPA is proud to join the international community in commemorating World Environment Day on June 5 in conjunction with its partners in the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative: the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. During this first weekend in June, citizens from around the United States can recognize this year's theme of Forests: Nature at Your Service, by spending the weekend enjoying the country's iconic national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, and cultural and historic sites, as well as neighborhoods and city parks, community gardens and school yards.

"Forests are one of our world's greatest treasures, bringing us natural beauty, clean air and a place our cherished wildlife can call home," Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "This World Environment Day, I'm proud to join our international partners in recognizing the work we're doing together to make our communities cleaner and healthier places to live, work, play and learn. Today - and every day - I encourage everyone to take part in our global efforts by taking the time to enjoy our forests and environment, whether by hiking at a national park or getting involved at a local neighborhood garden. When we learn to love our great outdoors, we also feel more compelled to protect them - making our communities healthier and stronger."

"World Environment Day and the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative share the goals of mobilizing citizens to conserve our planet and its wildlife and to encourage people to enjoy them through outdoor recreation," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "People who spend time recreating in the great outdoors come to appreciate the natural world in all its diversity and will work to protect and conserve it for future generations."

"USDA, home to the U.S. Forest Service, has particular interest in improving the stewardship of our National Forests and Grasslands," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We're making important strides in watershed restoration and an all-lands approach to restoring and maintaining our precious natural resources for the benefit of clean water, wildlife, and recreation. For more than a century, the Forest Service has been a leader in conservation education and recreational opportunities, reconnecting Americans with the great outdoors in the spirit of the AGO initiative."

"Ensuring the health and vitality of American communities is a priority for the Obama Administration," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "The President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative helps deliver on this commitment by partnering with communities across the country to protect and restore the outdoor places that are essential to our quality of life and economic prosperity."

President Obama launched the AGO initiative to develop a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda. AGO seeks to empower all Americans - citizens, young people, communities, businesses, and local, state, and tribal governments--to share in the responsibility to conserve, restore, and provide better access to our lands and waters in order to leave a healthy, vibrant outdoor legacy for generations to come. On Wednesday, the President also reminded the country to take the time to get outside to play, exercise, learn, and explore the great outdoors in their communities with his recognition of Great Outdoors Month Great Outdoors Month.

Recreation provides one of the easiest and most natural ways to connect with the outdoors and appreciate the country's public and private lands, which provide not just leisure opportunities but jobs, a vast array of public goods and services, clean water and air, and wildlife habitats. On World Environment Day, EPA recognizes the efforts of our global partners to realize a vision of providing all people, regardless of where they live, with easy access to clean, safe outdoor places near their homes or schools.