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Press Release



Secretary of the Interior Salazar Kicks Off President Obama’s “United We Serve” at Shenandoah National Park



06/22/2009


Contact: Joan Moody (202) 208-6416


SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VA—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign. The Secretary helped the groups remove nonnative plants that have invaded the natural ecosystem adjacent to Big Meadows Swamp.

“Shenandoah National Park is the perfect place to help kick off President Obama’s “United We Serve” campaign because the young people and volunteers here are proof positive that public service can make a lasting impact in our communities and on our treasured landscapes,” the Secretary said. Groups participating with him at the cleanup near Skyline Drive included Volunteers-in-the-Parks, the Shenandoah National Park Association, Student Conservation Association, Youth Conservation Corps, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and Shenandoah National Park Trust.


President Obama announced “United We Serve” on June 17 as a nationwide summer volunteer service initiative that will help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn. Administration officials led kickoff events today across the country. More information is available on Serve.gov.


“In some ways the students here today are following in the footsteps of the 10,000 young people who worked in Shenandoah during the 1930s as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps,” Salazar noted. “President Obama and I believe that in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that we invest in opportunities for young people and expand our national youth service initiatives.”

Between 1933 and 1942, FDR’s CCC employed more than 3 million young men nationwide. Salazar said the 21st Century program will build on the CCC, expanding opportunities to young people of all walks of life, including young women, young men, tribal communities, traditionally underserved populations, and individuals who have had little opportunity to experience the outdoors.


“When President Obama called us to this Day of Service, he asked Americans of all ages and backgrounds to embrace the spirit of service in our daily lives and to help lay a new foundation for America, one community at a time,” Salazar said. “For the Department of the Interior, that spirit will be felt in our treasured landscapes and historical areas, one park at a time, as well as in the creation of a renewable energy future for America.”

On Thursday, June 25, the Interior Department will highlight its own “United We Serve” initiatives with a day of service at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco coinciding with a national volunteering conference. Interior service initiatives focus on public lands stewardship and mentoring youth in the outdoors.