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Sally Jewell Aims to Put Young People to Work on Public Lands

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jan 09, 2014 04:55 PM |

The Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, secures the first million towards an initiative aimed at putting 100,000 young people and veterans to work outdoors on conservation and stewardship of public lands.

Last October, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell outlined an initiative that would put 100,000 young people and veterans to work outdoors on conservation and stewardship of public lands, forests, parks and trails. This morning, American Eagle Outfitters pledged a million (out of a total hoped-for 20 million from private sources) toward the effort.

Through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), the funds will directly support non-profit corps programs that provide work and training experience to young people and veterans on Interior’s public lands.

Rallying resources in service of public lands

With federal funding budgets for public lands slashed to record lows, the Department of the Interior's engagement of private-sector funding could boost much-needed resources to the maintenance and stewardship of federal lands. At the very least, the effort may help fund jobs and energize a generation in the service of protecting public lands.

Rallying the next generation of trail stewards

Connecting young people with stewardship jobs is only one component of the youth initiative Jewell outlined in a speech last October, where she emphasized the need to bridge the growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors.

WTA has been a longtime leader for connecting youth to the outdoors on all of Washington's public lands. Last year alone, more than 890 kids and teens volunteered with us on 66 youth work parties, making up 26 percent of our total volunteer crews. We also launched the Outdoor Leadership Training program and gear library to empower teachers and youth workers with the training and resources they need to lead safe and fun outdoor adventures.

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