The Obama administration announced today that as a part of the Department of Interior’s ambitious youth initiative, $6.7 million was set aside to hire young people to work on public lands across the nation.
The secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement while at an event at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal national wildlife refuge outside of Denver on Thursday she was joined in the announcement by the US Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Arthur Blazer, Vice President for Government Relations of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Greg Knadle, and refuge manager David Lucas.
“We have a shared responsibility to protect and promote public lands that belong to all Americans so our children and their children can enjoy them for generations to come. The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is built through strong public-private partnerships that not only provide employment opportunities to young adults but also provide powerful connections to nature that will last a lifetime,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Through our partnership with Groundwork Denver and other organizations in communities across the country, we can leverage our federal investments with private support to help young adults learn new skills and gain great job experience while giving back to the community.”
“The partnerships associated with developing the next generation of conservationists offer an opportunity to connect our young people to the great outdoors,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This program engages young people from diverse backgrounds, including underserved populations, and equips them with the knowledge and critical job skills they need to pursue careers in conservation and land management.”
Of the 43 projects announced today, two of those projects will take place in the state of Alaska. $33,000 was allocated to the Youth on the Land: Alaska Summer Interns to hire 10 local young adults ages 16 to 25. Those youths will complete a minimum of 80 hours during the summer working on projects to help enhance and maintain the Campbell Tract for users and wildlife. The BLM will partner with the Student Conservation Association and the Friends of the Campbell Creek Science Center in that project.
$37,202 was also allocated to the Ibeck Creek/Eyak River Watershed Stewardship Project in Southeast Alaska. In that project the Southeast Alaska Guidance Association will recruit a crew of seven AmeriCorps members aged 17 to 25, who will work for four weeks on projects that include mitigating human use impacts along a major coal spawning stream by reducing trails and stream crossings, Reeve agitating stream banks, and planting willows and alters. That group will also work redeveloping a historic recreational trail by installing boardwalk sections and removing invasive reed canary grass in order to re-establish native plants and improve soil conditions.