Herrin to recommend strategies for expanding national service and career opportunities for young people
(WASHINGTON, DC) December 15, 2011- The Student Conservation Association (SCA), the national leader in youth service and stewardship, has announced the appointment of SCA Director of Program Innovation Laura Herrin to a new federal advisory committee that will recommend strategies for expanding national service and career opportunities for young people on America's public lands.
The panel was named by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and includes youth corps officials from the local, state, national and nonprofit sectors. Salazar and Vilsack seek to grow and leverage the efforts of these organizations to create a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps.
The Youth Corps initiative will empower young people - including low-income, underserved and diverse youth and returning veterans - through training and work experience, while accomplishing important conservation and restoration work for America's wilderness, waterways, and cultural sites.
"Engaging youth in hands-on service to our national parks and forests is critical to keeping the ‘public' in ‘public lands,'" states Herrin. "We must nurture connections with nature to ensure future generations understand, appreciate, and protect America's natural heritage."
Under Herrin's leadership, SCA has grown its community conservation programming to annually engage more than 1,200 high school aged youth in over 20 U.S. cities and recently launched a pilot program with the Bureau of Land Management and other partners to train young people for resource management careers.
Herrin notes that tens of thousands of young people, including many SCA members, implored federal officials to increase the number of conservation service and job training programs during the government's America's Great Outdoors national listening tour last year.
"The students who serve with SCA and other corps are passionate about protecting our environment but often hindered by the barriers in their way," says Herrin. "A 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps will strengthen the state of our public lands, provide participants with valuable professional experience, and generate a significant economic boost for the country."
Public lands attract more than 400 million visitors each year, while the outdoor recreation economy accounts for one in 20 U.S. jobs and as much as one trillion dollars in annual economic benefits.
Herrin, who also sits on the board of directors of The Corps Network, is a resident of Claremont, New Hampshire.
The Student Conservation Association is the only national organization that develops tomorrow's conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. More than 4,200 SCA members annually render over two million hours of service to America's public lands. Since 1957, SCA has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA maintains offices in Anchorage, AK, Boise, ID, Charlestown, NH, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Seattle, WA and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit http://www.thesca.org.