Thursday, March 2, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Statement by Jaime Berman Matyas, president and CEO of the Student Conservation Association, following the US Senate’s confirmation of Rep. Ryan Zinke as the Secretary of the Interior.
The Student Conservation Association looks forward to working with Secretary Zinke to engage the next generation of conservation leaders and build lifelong stewards of our nation’s public lands and waters.
Among his priorities, Secretary Zinke has targeted the billions of dollars of backlogged maintenance in our national parks and, as SCA commemorates sixty years of protecting and restoring public lands across America, our teenaged and young adult volunteers are prepared to implement crucial park improvements swiftly, effectively and eﬃciently.
As a former Navy SEAL and Montana congressman, Secretary Zinke has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to national service. He was also an early co-sponsor of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, and SCA is eager to partner with Mr. Zinke to expand conservation service and career development opportunities for youth and young veterans to benefit both lives and lands.
We are also heartened by Secretary Zinke’s pledge to manage and preserve our parks and refuges in a way that “benefits all Americans for generations to come.” At the same time, we must recognize that today many Americans – particularly young people and people of color – lack the connections to nature enjoyed by previous generations.
SCA knows that youth from all backgrounds are empowered by character-building outdoor service experiences, and we are committed to working with Mr. Zinke on innovating new ways to engage a broad array of young people in protecting and advancing our nation’s natural legacy.