Department of Interior

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Office of the Secretary

Contact: Mark Pfeifle or
Joan Moody

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2003

Idaho's Kempthorne, Arizona's Napolitano
Lead Take Pride in America's Council of Governors

- Leaders rally grassroots volunteer conservation -

(WASHINGTON, DC) - Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton announced today that Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will serve as co-chairs of the Take Pride in America Council of Governors.

"Governors Kempthorne and Napolitano will lead a bipartisan coalition of state governors as co-chairs of Take Pride's Council of Governors in the nationwide effort to increase volunteer conservation on public lands," Norton said in unveiling the program. "Their leadership will be invaluable in inspiring and rallying grassroots citizen stewards to help heal and improve our local, state and federal recreation areas."

The Take Pride program, which Norton launched today, is a partnership initiative aimed at empowering volunteers from across the nation to restore and improve public parks, refuges, recreation areas, and cultural and historical sites. The program works with governors and other partners to launch volunteer service projects.

"Maintaining and preserving our parks and historic sites is critical for the health of our land as well as our state economy," noted Gov. Napolitano. "This volunteer initiative can play a substantial role in helping our towns, cities and counties meet this challenge."

"The best way to ensure preservation and stewardship of public lands is at the state and local level," Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said. "For too long, federal land management has been driven by Washington, D.C. instead of on-the-ground experts who know how to best manage the resource. This new effort, spearheaded by Secretary Norton, will help develop local partnerships and ensure proper recognition for their hard work."

The Council of Governors is made up of state governors who have signed formal agreements with the Take Pride program. Formal partnerships with state governments allow federal and state land managers to identify volunteer opportunities and to enlist public service commitments from citizens.

Outstanding state volunteer efforts will be rewarded with presidential recognition, as part of an innovative public communication campaign. Each state will forward its best Take Pride efforts for four annual national awards. Ten volunteers received awards at the National Press Club kickoff.

"In addition to the Council of Governors, Take Pride has gained tremendous momentum by enlisting more than 100 charter partners, including major corporations, conservation groups, service organizations, and trade associations," Norton said in her address at the National Press Club. Take Pride is part of the president's USA Freedom Corps, which is dedicated to fostering a culture of service to others.


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