In the National Wildlife Life Sciences League’s annual fan appreciation poll last week, Washington fans ranked the District as one of the most fan-friendly cities in the world.
And yet there’s no love for the Washington Wilds in the NHL-less NFL season of ours. For a team with such an ambitious history of outreach to youth, there’s little inside our team hub, our blog or our uniform sleeve honoring our World War II star for the Great Lakes.
That said, the Capitals are still receiving resources like storied front doors to enhance their relationship with the sports-crazed community that, nearly 90 years after their inception, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their team at home on Tuesday, June 12.
The National Wildlife Life Sciences League has provided grant money and support for the first-ever Capital Cup custom-made Caps jerseys worn during last fall’s Stanley Cup playoffs, during the regular season, before and after the playoffs. The ceremonial jerseys, designed by the agency of an A student in a Lincoln’s School of Fashion, are blank for the Caps to create after a drawing last summer.
It was surprising and noteworthy to see Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wearing the jersey upon its inception. He enthusiastically helped present the winning design in April at the National Zoo. This, a few weeks after the name of their new mascots had already been announced.
The Capitals WILDs staff at the WILDs (Washington Capitals Club for Young People’s Recreation) continue to make enhancements. This year, dozens of younger fans and fans of Washington sports got an official lesson in some of the basics of professional sports while in classrooms throughout the district in cooperation with La Plata High School.
It was memorable and exciting.
In addition, the summer of learning continues, and sometimes magical, at places like National Fish Center and Homestead Learning Center. The former has hosted Night at the Washington Wilds, thanks to a Bird Conservancy grant, which has tested the value of a night at the Wilds by hosting youth for a game of Putt-Putt.
The National Wildlife Life Sciences League’s education and outreach program aims to engage youth in environmentally safe programs.
Regional meetings are held throughout the year to discuss approaches to attracting fans, and their efforts in the rest of Washington have certainly brought new life to the WILDs. But for now, their focus will remain on the downtown stadium.
Another priority is responding to a community awareness campaign that encourages volunteers to become an official “Pistol of the Swamp,” recognizing them for helping to open the National Wildlife Refuge, as well as preserving its habitat.
Through an affiliation with the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, the N.W.S.L. also has access to the popular full-field artificial turf facility, called Wakefield of the Mountains.
The Washington Storm are tied up in a small hurdle: getting one of the floating lakes designated as a world site. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) will grant six regional sites the distinction, and the WILDs are among them.
Of the six, Washington and our location are the only ones designated as a World Site. This designation now will enable the city to qualify for money from a program that supports the restoration of endangered coastal lands. The outstanding Washington Storm purchased seven of them, and have just reached a funding milestone, as they request the money.
Members of the Storm have gone the extra mile to benefit the community. In addition to a grassroots event last weekend at which they paid for a city program for a disabled child, several members met with ACE officials to ask for their help in restoring the 32-acre Basin.
Though the weather has been warm, it’s May and the kids would rather stay inside, and I am just tickled that there is still time to take advantage of what is definitely a novelty for youngsters. Now, it’s a wonder to see the native fish come to life, as docents from the Coronado Audubon Club swim in the lake every morning, presenting programs for area families.
Please visit the Washington Wilds at www.washlands.org and sign up to enter to win a free Monster Fuel Fill-Up at the Iota 7 beer tent!