Make a Difference: 9/11 Day of Outdoor Service

About the Author

Juan Martinez, C&NN's Leadership Development and Natural Leaders Network, Director, is the recipient of numerous national awards and honors. As a leader of C&NN's Natural Leaders Initiative, he inspires young people internationally to become leaders in the children and nature movement. Juan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011.

Every day is filled with a chance to make a difference, today even more so with the ability to communicate in seconds through a virtual world. We can transfer money to a cause, virtually sign a petition, and spread the word to hundreds of people in our personal networks. Yet, at the end of the day, the challenge lies where words meet action. Where people connect to each other in their communities, to their roots, and create one family. Change is but a single combination of letters unless it is founded in action.

September 11th is a deep wound and just like any other wound either physical or within our soul, one of the cures is found in nature. I think about my Mom’s garden and how it provides Aloe Vera for our cuts and burns. So too can we find healing, hope, and joy in joining together to serve our communities on 9/11. The joy of rolling in the grass, fishing, hiking, or gardening should not be taken for granted just as the simple act of rolling up sleeves and digging within our hearts to rebuild America.

Join us in remembering and honoring 9/11 by hosting a service event in your community.

Visit Sierra Club Serve Outdoors for more information.


  1. Keep up the GREAT work, Juan!

  2. We I plan on going out to Whychus Creek outside of Sisters Oregon to do some planting of native species of trees, grasses and shrubs. We usually have about 30 volunteers out there for these plantings, and this weekend will be an extra special time to reflect on renewing our ecosystem in remembrance of this tragic day in history.

  3. what a well written post. Thank you so much for this lovely idea.

  4. And in tribute to change and life…

    A Palette Upon Leaf

    Branch and bough in gentle sway
    The touch of wind this September day
    The green budding leaves of Spring now past
    The blossom of white flowers in memory cast
    Dogwood leaves now in splendor anew
    With tones and many a joyful hue
    Pink, orange, violet and strokes of gold
    A palette upon leaf this hour behold.

    Rose Marie Raccioppi
    APOGEE Poet

  5. Inspirational and nice post! Good points!

  6. Hola hablas español? yo tambien trabajo conectando a los niños con la naturaleza, me gustaría tener contacto contigo. Saludos!

  7. That is a very nice and caring post. I think that, that is a good way to look at things. Everything does heal naturally, rather that takes a long time or not.

  8. Hi Juan,

    Great job you are doing over there. I want to move people outdoors here in Australia. We have the same statistics re youth time outside on the decline, vit. D deficiency etc. What are your plans for the next Natural Leaders conference? I would like ot attend need time for financial planning of said trip 🙂 Cheers Yeshi

  9. Juan,
    Glad to see the wonderful things you are doing for future leaders.


  10. This a great idea! Hopefully we can link up sooner than later concerning this effort!

  11. Hi Juan,

    Just read about your award and all the great work you are doing for connecting people, especially at risk youth to nature. It is such a wonderful healer for the soul and you are such an inspiration.
    Thank you for all your hard work and motivating people like myself to make change happen and not just talk or write about it!


  12. You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the best blogs
    on the net. I will recommend this web site!


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