Sierra Club Joins the Partnership for a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, Supports Secretary Jewell’s Youth Vision
Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell took a major step forward this week in achieving her goal to connect tens of millions of young people with opportunities to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors. At the memorial of Franklin D. Roosevelt, founder of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Jewell announced a $1 million commitment from American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., to support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC). The 21CSC is a national effort to put thousands of America’s youth to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s public and tribal lands and waters.
Sierra Club has been a long-time supporter of the conservation corps experience.
“The Sierra Club commends Secretary Jewell on her commitment to connecting youth to the outdoors,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “In a world where many young people have never had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world, the Corps is a valuable tool for connecting youth to our public lands and opening up a new generation to the value of conservation.”
That’s why we are proud to announce that the Sierra Club has officially joined the national partnership for the 21CSC. Sierra Club supports the 21CSC in its nationwide plan to reach 100,000 new corps members each year by 2018. Through the national partnership, we will help engage a cross-section of America’s youth with service, training and work opportunities outside. Together, we will empower the next generation to connect with special places outdoors, to improve their health and wellbeing, and to develop a sense of stewardship and a conservation ethic for our nation’s public lands. And, we’ll begin to whittle away the backlog of preservation and maintenance projects that are piling up on our public lands.
Along with dozens of our partners through the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK), we just called on the White House to prioritize the 21CSC. The opportunities provided by 21CSC will encourage youth to assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors, while teaching them basic job skills at a time when youth unemployment is near record levels and young people are missing out on critical early job experiences. The cost-effective conservation, restoration and visitor service improvements provided by corps members will help ensure that future generations also have opportunities to experience our public lands.
We know that the future of conservation depends on our ability to ensure that all people, particularly children and youth, have opportunities to experience nature today. Through our new Nearby Nature initiative, Sierra Club is working to ensure that communities across America have green spaces to explore and enjoy close to where they live, work, worship, learn and play. We’re also training mentors and outdoor leaders to connect 14,000 young people with nature every year through our Outdoors program.
Sierra Club stands ready to help Secretary Jewell fulfill her vision to connect young people with the natural world. Programs like the 21CSC and others that make nature more accessible to youth are critical for the health of our communities and the future of our wild America.
-- by Jackie Ostfeld, Outdoors Policy Manager, Sierra Club