21st Century Conservation Service Corps Set to Receive More Than $3 Million to Put Young People to Work on Public Lands

Public-Private Partnership Funds 60 Projects to Engage Youth in Job Opportunities this Summer

Last edited 2/15/2023

Date: May 4, 2016
Contacts: Interior, Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
USDA, Press@oc.usda.gov
Rob Blumenthal, NFWF, rob.blumenthal@nfwf.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the summer outdoor recreation season is about to kick off,  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Executive Director and CEO Jeff Trandahl today partnered to announce  that the   21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), including those in Montana, are being funded through the America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists, a competitive grant matching program launched in December 2011 in conjunction with NFWF. Of the more than $3 million in funding, more than $2 million is from federal sources, and more than $1 million is a result of private fundraising efforts.

“Long-term conservation efforts can only be successful if new generations share our commitment to sustain, restore and enhance our nation’s wildlife and habitats,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Young people growing up today often don’t get the chance to connect with nature, especially when they live in urban areas. Programs such as the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps can bridge that divide and get these young people outside, where they can develop a deep appreciation of the natural world.”

Agencies participating in the NFWF Next Generation program include Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S Geological Survey, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service.

This year’s projects support diverse work experiences and locations, maintaining and improving resources ranging from a national park in South Dakota to a national forest in Alaska, to New York City beaches damaged by Hurricane Sandy, to a California wildlife refuge where volunteers will conduct bird surveys and sample water quality.

Urban projects include building rain gardens at Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve and local schools in New Orleans and designing and implementing archeology curriculum in partnership with the National Park Service and the nonprofit Groundwork Lawrence in Massachusetts.

These grants are the latest in the Obama Administration’s efforts to advance the 21CSC,  working toward the  goal of providing employment opportunities to 100,000 young adults and returning veterans, and engaging more than one million volunteers on public lands by 2017. 

This work is part an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to connect young people who reflect the rich diversity of the country to the outdoors. Other efforts include Interior’s leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative to get millions of young people outside. In March 2015, Secretary Jewell announced this partnership with the American Express Foundation and kicked-off the first cities across the country to be a part of this movement. Twenty-six cities were announced in 2015, and the remaining cities will be announced throughout 2016. For more information about the initiative, visit: http://www.doi.gov/youth

In addition, the “Every Kid in A Park” program to provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year is in full swing. Current third graders can start receiving their Every Kid in a Park pass in September. These efforts complement the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign, celebrating this year’s centennial of the National Park System.

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