Youth gaining insight to conservation
From press release
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had an extraordinary summer providing youth employment at National Wildlife Refuges in the Midwest Region. More than110 students worked at 23 National Wildlife Refuges and one National Fish Hatchery through the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) in 2009. Several of these YCC crews were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Rick Schultz, regional chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, said: “We offer students unique, hands-on field experiences while gaining insight to a career in conservation. YCC crews this summer banded ducks, maintained trails, seeded native prairies and restored wetlands—projects that would have not been completed without their assistance,”
Since the program was created in 1971, the YCC program has been instrumental in introducing young Americans to conservation opportunities on national wildlife refuges as well as on other public lands throughout the country. The program has been instrumental and successful in providing educational and team-building skills for young people. Hundreds of employees working in land management agencies were first introduced to their profession through the YCC.
“I had always admired them from afar, but actually getting a chance to hold one was an amazing experience,” wrote one YCC enrollee about their Canada goose banding experience on Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Wisconsin. Another enrollee stated, “I now know how much damage Spotted Knapweed does to the beaches,” who helped fill 100 garbage bags of this invasive plant from the Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge beach in Ohio.
For many youth, this summer’s YCC experiences provided an experience to last a lifetime. For some, it may also be a career in the making.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov.
From the Jan. 6-12, 2010 issue
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