The Next Generation of Conservation Leaders
Outside and Involved
The Department of the Interior is uniquely positioned to help millions of young Americans reconnect with our natural and cultural heritage, put thousands of young people to work in the great outdoors, and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.
We at the Department of the Interior oversee one-fifth of the nation’s land mass, including our country’s most treasured places, from Yellowstone National Park and our national monuments to the 551 wildlife refuges that stretch across every state in the country. As custodians of our nation’s recreational, natural, cultural, and historic resources, and trustees to honor America’s responsibilities to Tribal Nations, we have a duty to protect the places that Americans love, and also to help people of all ages and backgrounds connect with their land and heritage.
The Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative will help us achieve the vital goal of connecting young people with America’s natural and cultural heritage. By expanding youth programs throughout the Department and reaching out to audiences who have never visited their public lands, we will help tackle some of the many challenges facing young people today, from high unemployment rates to declining health. It is startling, from a public health perspective, that a young person spends six hours a day in front of a computer or television and less than 4 minutes playing outdoors. Young people from under-served communities are even less likely to be engaged in outdoor programs and activities.
We can and must change course. With the Department of the Interior’s leadership, the help of our partners, and the Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative, we can reconnect young people from all walks of life with our natural and cultural heritage while building pathways to careers in resource stewardship.
To empower our youth to be the next generation of conservation leaders, we will:
- Employ thousands of youth to protect and restore our environment, and revitalize our communities
We must continue to expand our recruitment of youth to help carry out our mission. The jobs we offer young people provide immediate and tangible benefits to families and communities, but they are also investments in the future. Working with partners under the authorities of the Public Land Corps and Youth Conservation Corps Acts, we will hire thousands of young Americans to help us protect our Nation’s natural and cultural resources, advance our scientific understanding, and restore our environment. This great work will enhance our service to the American people.
- Educate millions of youth about our lands, waters, wildlife, culture, and heritage
In addition to hiring more young people to help fulfill our mission, we will expand our educational programs within our public lands, as well as outside of our boundaries to reach more of America’s youth. In classrooms and at sites throughout the country, we will ensure that these programs provide youth of all ages and backgrounds meaningful educational experiences of the highest quality. Our goal is to inspire young people to rediscover the lands they love and to engage them in their stewardship and protection.
- Engage youth from all backgrounds and all walks of life
The Department of the Interior will connect young Americans from all backgrounds with opportunities to serve our Nation, recreate outdoors, and learn about natural, cultural, and historical heritage. The Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative will place a special emphasis on engaging youth from communities with historically lower participation rates, as well as young women and girls, in our programs and access to our resources. By expanding access to the outdoors for all young people, we will help build the personal experiences that are the foundation of stewardship.