- May 10, 2016
- Posted by MCC
“I’d like to think one day the work I do on Montana’s public lands will lead someone else to realize, like I did, that all good things are wild and free. “ –Melanie Hobgood, MCC Field Crew Leader
On a beautiful, sunny, and all around perfect Montana day, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Senator Jon Tester gathered along with many of our fellow MCCers at Devil’s Elbow Recreation Area to show their support for Montana Conservation Corps and the 21st Century Conservation Corps (21CSC), an initiative to engage more youth in service on public lands. Secretary Jewell and Senator Tester highlighted the importance of investing in public lands to support Montana’s outdoor recreation economy, urged Congress to permanently reauthorize key funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and announced the $3 million investment by the Department of Interior and Forest Service in the 21CSC.
“Providing youth and veterans opportunities to engage in hands-on service to public lands and waters across the nation provides valuable workforce skills while fostering life-long connections to nature,” Secretary Jewell remarked of the power of the 21CSC. The work that our MCCers accomplish – from trail repair, to invasive species removal, to historic preservation – cultivates a strong conservation ethic and sense of environmental stewardship within our participants, while enriching their lives and moreover the lives of the communities they serve. Just as Secretary Jewell noted, our youth walk away from our program with more than some highly marketable skills and serious bragging rights – they walk away with a strong connection to the land.
Developing tomorrow’s conservationists is a crucial task because, as Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, explains, “Long-term conservation efforts can only be successful if new generations share our commitment to sustain, restore and enhance our nation’s wildlife and habitats.” By connecting the passion and skills of our youth to our nation’s natural resources, we can build a better tomorrow.
Interior Secretary Jewell and Senator Jon Tester answer reporters’ questions in this short video, courtesy of the Independent Record.
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