Department of the Interior, Coca-Cola Partner to Encourage Next Generation of Outdoor Stewards

The Coca-Cola Foundation Commits $1 Million to Youth Initiative at Los Angeles Event to Support Work and Training Opportunities in the Great Outdoors

Last edited 09/29/2021

LOS ANGELES, CA – As part of the Department of the Interior's ambitious youth initiative to inspire millions of young Americans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Coca-Cola North America President Sandy Douglas today announced that the Company's Foundation is joining forces in a public-private partnership to engage the next generation of outdoor stewards.

At Marsh Park in Los Angeles today, The Coca-Cola Foundation announced that it has committed $1 million to support the Obama Administration's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) at Interior. Secretary Jewell also announced $100,000 from the same fund is going directly back into the city through the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to hire and train young stewards for the Los Angeles River and the surrounding region. Jewell and Douglas spent the morning with LA Conservation Corps members and employees from Interior and Coca-Cola participating in a service project removing trash and non-native plants along the river bank. Members of the California, Orange County and Long Beach Conservation Corps were also in attendance.

“It is great to join forces with Coca-Cola as we work to expand and strengthen connections between young people and the great outdoors,” said Secretary Jewell. “Coca-Cola has been a strong leader and long-time supporter of our public lands and their commitment today is helping put young people and returning veterans to work on our public lands and developing the next generation of conservation stewards.”

The 21CSC has grown since its launch by the Obama Administration in 2010 as part of the America's Great Outdoors program. Secretary Jewell announced the Department of the Interior's initiative to expand this youth program through partnerships with the private sector in a National Press Club speech in October 2013. Since then, American Eagle Outfitters, Camelbak, The Campion Foundation, Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund and now The Coca-Cola Foundation have joined the movement.

“As a long-time partner of America's National Parks, we see a tremendous opportunity to get even more people outdoors and involved in conservation efforts by supporting the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps,” said Douglas. “At Coca-Cola we believe that we have the most meaningful impact on communities when business comes together with government and civil society.”

The LA Conservation Corps project is one of 23 projects in 15 states being funded through the new private- sector-donated 21CSC grants in 2014. The grants help nonprofit conservation corps around the nation employ youth and veterans in projects such as trail maintenance, watershed restoration and historic preservation in partnership with Interior agencies.

The full list of 2014 projects can be found here.

On March 20, 2014, Secretary Jewell issued a Secretarial Order formalizing the goals of the youth initiative first outlined at the National Press Club speech. The goals of Interior's youth initiative for the next four years include:

Play: Interior will develop or enhance outdoor recreation partnerships in a total of 50 cities over the next four years, to create new, systemic opportunities for outdoor play for more than 10 million young people.

Learn: In four years, Interior will provide educational opportunities to at least 10 million of the nation's K-12 student population annually. In addition to welcoming students into public lands, Interior will leverage technology, including the recently launched National Park Service teacher portal, to bring our public lands to the classrooms.

Serve: In four years, Interior will attain one million volunteers annually on public lands. Interior will invest in volunteer management and coordination to ensure anyone who has an interest in devoting their time and talents to public lands has an opportunity to serve.

Work: Interior will provide 100,000 work and training opportunities to young people and veterans over four years within our bureaus and through public-private partnerships.

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