[Video] Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Discusses 21st Century Conservation Service Corps in His Final Webchat

Earlier this week, outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recorded his final webchat. Among all that was discussed, he answered a question about how he hopes the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will be viewed 10 years from now. The conversation occurs at the 28:30 mark of the webchat, which we have cued up below. Check it out!

We thank Secretary Salazar for being such a great supporter of Corps over his years and have enjoyed honoring him as a federal champion this year, and as the inaugural awardee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Service and Conservation Corps Leadership Award.


Statement on Sally Jewell’s Nomination as Secretary of the Interior

For Immediate Release                                                                                            
February 6, 2013

The America's Great Outdoor Initiative: from Conversation to Action


Leaders from Federal Land Management agencies discuss their plans for increasing youth involvement as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. From left to right: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Youth Office Director at the U.S. Department of the Interior; Will Shafroth, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Interior; Meryl Harrell, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Harris Sherman, Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Monday, leaders from U.S. federal land management agencies made the Forum one of their key venues for announcing their next steps of action in response to findings from a nationwide listening tour. As part of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the tour helped assess what Americans perceive to be obstacles to getting outside and enjoying America’s public lands both in cities and in rural areas.

A major component of the listening tour and initiative is getting young people further involved as stewards of America’s public lands. According to the speakers at the session, across the nation, over 2,000 young people provided feedback in 21 different listening sessions. Several common themes emerged. One was that government websites are not engaging and user-friendly. The government must use social media and modern technology to better appeal to youth and encourage them to get outside. Another theme concerns how it is challenging for many young people to find and win federal jobs with land management agencies — making it less likely that they will consider outdoor careers.

To begin addressing these problems, one solution that speakers talked about is a new website called youthgo.gov that is hoped to help make finding federal job opportunities easier for young people. Another is the creation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps, modeled on the Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The Corps Network will be a major partner in providing ready-to-go positions for individuals who will join the 21st Century Conservation Corps. It will essentially represent an effort to bring conservation corps to scale on a greater national level. 

A highlight of the day’s activities was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s keynote address. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Corps Network that will allow members of the network to fast-track cooperative work agreements with federal land management agencies.

The Corps Network’s Service and Conservation Corpsmembers of the Year look on as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signs a Memorandum of understanding with Sally Prouty, President of The Corps Network.

21st Century Conservation Service Corps Federal Advisory Committee Submits Final Report to Secretary Salazar

On September 5, 2012, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) Federal Advisory Committee submitted their report to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The Mission of the 21CSC is stated as follows:  The 21CSC is a bold national effort to put young Americans and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America's great outdoors. While based on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps and other federal and non-federal conservation corps efforts that followed, it has been recommended that the 21CSC be operated primarily by non-federal partners. (Which means you!)  

The Corps Network and many of your fellow member Corps Directors have been involved in this process. We are excited by this development in the Corps movement and will be working to make sure that all Corps that complete projects that fit within this initiative are made aware of any and all opportunities that develop from it. We are particularly interested in the recommendation regarding quality and accreditation (those of you who have participated in the ECO peer and self-assessment program will find it familiar).
 Please see the full report by clicking here. 

Salazar Establishes Enduring America's Great Outdoors Program at Department of Interior

From the Department of the Interior

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed a Secretarial Order establishing the America’s Great Outdoors program in the Department of the Interior, formalizing the department’s support for President Obama’s landmark initiative to create a 21st century conservation and recreation ethic to reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the natural world.

“From conserving working landscapes from Montana to Florida, to creating a new generation of dynamic and accessible urban parks from New York to Los Angeles, to establishing a network of national water trails and blueways, we have worked closely for the last three years with states, local communities and other partners to preserve America’s natural heritage and open up more opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Salazar said. “By formally establishing the America’s Great Outdoors program, we are ensuring that these efforts have high standing and visibility within the department and continue to be a high priority for years to come.”

President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors initiative in 2010, focusing on making the federal government a better partner with states, tribes and local communities to support community-driven conservation and outdoor recreation efforts.

The Secretarial Order identifies projects in all 50 states that the department will help leverage its resources to get over the finish line, including conserving working landscapes; restoring rivers; and helping to create a new generation of urban parks.

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