A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar, Vilsack Announce Important Step in Establishing 21st Century Conservation Service Corps
Office of the Secretary
Advisory committee will help build foundation for next generation of conservationists
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced an important step in the creation of a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), an organization called for in President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Report. Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack named members of a newly-established federal advisory committee that will provide recommendations on how to build on the important ongoing work of local, state, federal and non-profit youth conservation corps that engage young Americans in hands-on service and job training experiences on public lands and open spaces.
21CSC will empower young people – including low-income, underserved and diverse youth and returning veterans – with valuable training and work experience, while accomplishing important conservation and restoration work for America's great outdoors, waterways and cultural heritage sites.
“The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will be a way for our nation's young people to work on conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives that drive America's economy and to find new ways to connect to their communities and build their careers,” Salazar said. “The conservation-service movement is steeped in rich history dating back to the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. I am confident that this committee of dedicated individuals with vast experience in conservation, outdoor recreation and youth employment will create a system to train and employ the next generation of conservationists.”
The committee – composed of representatives of the nation's conservation, service and workforce development groups along with representatives from federal agencies – will provide Salazar and Vilsack advice on a framework for the Conservation Service Corps' organizational structure; certification criteria for Corps providers and members; strategies to overcome existing barriers to successful program implementation; partnership opportunities with outside organizations and pathways for Corps participants to pursue future conservation, community engagement and natural resource careers.
“We heard from people across the country about the importance and urgency of connecting our young people with America's Great Outdoors,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Providing meaningful work opportunities on our public lands will help youth gain important skills, develop our next generation of conservation stewards, and accomplish needed work related to our natural and cultural resources. This committee will help the Federal Government to work more effectively and efficiently with our partners to accomplish these goals.”
Today's announcement builds on the promise made to the American public during the America's Great Outdoors listening sessions to take their recommendations and move them forward, as well as Secretary Salazar's initiative to establish youth employment and education as a priority for Interior by creating the Office of Youth in the Great Outdoors. Interior is the only federal agency to have a Secretarial-level office dedicated to providing Department-wide leadership, coordination, direction and oversight of youth employment and education programs.
Public lands managed by Interior draw more than 400 million visits a year. According to some recent non-governmental estimates, outdoor recreation, conservation and heritage initiatives support as many as 8.4 million jobs and provide as much as $1 trillion in annual economic benefits. Additionally, one in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.
The Secretaries announced the appointment of the following individuals – whose terms begin immediately – to serve on the council.
Mary Ellen Ardouny (The Corps Network)
Henry Bruell (Southwest Conservation Corps)
Michael Collins (REI)
Dr. Quenton Dokken (Gulf of Mexico Foundation)
Laura Herrin (The Student Conservation Association)
Destry Jarvis (Private Consultant)
Na'Taki Osborne Jelks (The National Wildlife Federation)
David Muraki (California Conservation Corps)
Glenn Odenbrett (Great Lakes Education Network)
Daniella Pereira (City of New York Parks and Recreation)
Lee Ramsayer (Monster Worldwide)
Jerrad Schendel (Green Development Coalition)
Dana Valdez (Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks)
Charles Van Genderen (Montana Wildlife and Parks)
Carol Ann Wren (Cook Inlet Tribal Council)
Myra Blakely (Environmental Protection Agency)
Michael Ensch (Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Meryl Harrell (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Justin Johnson (Office of Personnel Management)
Melissa Koenigsberg (U.S. Department of the Interior)
Asim Mishra (Corporation for National and Community Service)
Brian Pawlak (Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
The official Charter for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Advisory Committee can be found on the 21CSC AC website: www.doi.gov/21CSC