Last Month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Secretary Sally Jewell laid out an agenda to strengthen our economy and ensure that we pass along our nation’s rich conservation legacy to the next generation – a path that includes balanced development and engaging and employing youth on our public lands.
“Protecting the special places that communities care about most and passing sustainable budgets that support our public lands are the kind of commonsense, bipartisan actions that Americans want to see Congress take."
As part of Interior’s efforts to encourage balanced development and ensure landscape-level planning, Secretary Jewell issued her first Secretarial Order last month which calls for a Department-wide mitigation strategy. The Order will ensure consistency and efficiency in the review and permitting of new energy and other infrastructure development projects, while also providing for the conservation, adaptation and restoration of our nation’s valuable natural and cultural resources.
Jewell also underscored the need for Congressional action to support our national parks, refuges, rivers and conservation lands, including mandatory, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 2015.
Following her speech in D.C, Secretary Jewell joined business, health, education, nonprofit and conservation leaders in San Francisco to launch a national campaign to expand opportunities for youth on public lands. The goals of the 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 to create new, systemic opportunities for outdoor play for more than 10 million young people.
- Learn: Provide educational opportunities for at least 10 million of the nation’s K-12 student population annually. In addition to welcoming students into nature’s classroom, DOI is developing and strengthening new online education resources to reach more students.
- Serve: Engage 1 million volunteers annually on public lands, effectively tripling the current numbers. It is clear that many more people are interested in volunteering at national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands, but there are often insufficient staff resources to coordinate. There will be a renewed emphasis on volunteer coordination and management.
- Work: To develop the next generation of lifelong conservation stewards and ensure a skilled and diverse workforce pipeline, Interior will provide 100,000 work and training opportunities to young people within their bureaus and through public-private partnerships. As part of this effort, they will aim to raise an additional $20 million to support the youth work and training opportunities.
“There is a growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors – and it’s a gap that Interior has the power to help bridge,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through public-private partnerships and in conjunction with all levels of government, Interior will expand its efforts to pass on our nation’s rich conservation legacy and to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.”
Click here to watch Secretary Jewell speak about the Department’s plans for the next four years.