More Than 140 Groups Urge Funding For Interior Department's 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps Proposal

National organizations representing tens of millions of members call on congress to support initiative for our children’s future

06-03-2009 // Patrick Fitzgerald

By proposing a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has made connecting children with nature a priority. More than 140 organizations with tens of millions of members and supporters nationwide have signed a letter urging Congress to fully fund the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps.

Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at the National Wildlife Federation, said: "We applaud Secretary Salazar for his momentous actions to engage youth at the Department of Interior by creating a new Youth Office and proposing a major new investment through the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps."

This initiative, proposed through the fiscal year 2010 budget, will bolster recreation, environmental education, and service programs throughout the Department and emphasizes educating young hunters and anglers. The end result will be to engage many thousands of youth in the outdoors and help prepare the next generation of natural resource professionals.

"We are pleased with the new investment in educating young hunters and anglers. Research shows that children today spend half as much time outdoors as they did just 20 years ago," said Coyle. "This indoor generation needs more opportunities and encouragement to engage with the natural world."

President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget proposal at the Department of Interior contains a historic $50 million in new investments to connect children and families to the great outdoors. The budget targets $30 million for educating young hunters and anglers, as well as doubles from $20 to $40 million the funding for Youth Careers in Nature.

"The Youth Careers in Nature initiative will double the amount of funding for key agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey to develop innovative approaches through environmental education, recreation, and service to engage youth on public lands and peak their interest in careers in public service," continued Coyle.

Secretary Ken Salazar will discuss the budget proposal with the Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The DOI summary of the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps is available at http://www.doi.gov/budget/2010/10Hilites/DH057.pdf.

National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

Contact: Patrick Fitzgerald, NWF Senior Legislative Representative, (202) 870-0824, fitzgeraldp@nwf.org

Related Resources
  • Supporting Document
    HOUSE Letter: 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps (pdf)

    This initiative, dubbed the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps, will bolster environmental education, recreation, and service programs throughout the Department, and engage thousands of youth in the outdoors.

  • Supporting Document
    SENATE Letter: 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps (pdf)

    We are encouraged that this budget explicitly seeks new and innovative ways to connect children with nature at the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey.

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