The Department of the Interior's 21ST Century Youth Conservation Corps Initiative is the big winner in FY2010 environmental education appropriations, getting a $50 million increase from Congress. Not all the increase is going to environmental education per se and a good deal of the funds unfortunately will be spent in house and by state agencies rather than as granted to the environmental education field, but it's still a huge increase over FY2009. As a result, Interior is now the federal agency with the largest environmental education budget, exceeding NOAA's $24 million. Here are the details:
Initiative (dollars in millions) 2009 2010 Change ($)
1. Educating Young Hunters and Anglers 0 30.0 +30.0
2. Youth and Careers in Nature 20.0 40.0 +20.0
Totals 20.0 70.0 +50.0
1. Educating Young Hunters and Anglers ($30 million):
$28.0 million for a new discretionary Federal Aid in Wildlife grants program to help States establish new creative programs to educate and energize young hunters and anglers, with special emphasis on rapidly growing under-represented groups.
$1.0 million for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to forge public-private partnerships with corporations who participate in the commerce of recreational goods and services to help get the Nation’s youth excited again about going outdoors, hunting, and fishing.
$1.0 million for National Conservation Training Center to coordinate the hunters and anglers program and provide workshops and training on new methods to increase interest and participation among young people in hunting, fishing, and wildlife management.
2. Youth and Careers in Nature ($40 million)
Summary (dollars in millions)
Bureau 2009 2010 Increase ($)
BLM 2.6 7.6 5.0
USGS 2.3 4.3 2.0
FWS 4.7 12.7 8.0
NPS 10.4 15.4 5.0
Bureau of Land Management: $7.6 million to support and expand programs for children and families at BLM visitor and interpretative centers that introduce young people to the natural and cultural resources; recreational programs that engage children in outdoor experiences; outdoor educational programs developed in partnership with local schools; and special programs for underserved youth that strengthen youth engagement in nature. Many programs operate with the support of partnerships. BLM will also work through youth corps partnerships to offer high school and college age youth internships that introduce students to natural resource management and provide real-world conservation related experiences and skills, such as restoring and rehabilitating natural, cultural, and recreational resources on public lands. Participants will learn while serving, and can earn stipends as well as college credits. For those interested in pursuing careers with natural resource management agencies, the Student Career Experience Program provides the gateway into Federal service. This program introduces
students to the BLM work experience. Many students in SCEP have the opportunity to assist with on the ground conservation activities and work in various fields such as botany, rangeland management, and wildlife biology performing tasks such as inventorying, monitoring, and trail maintenance.
US Geological Survey: $4.3 million increase to support and expand education, training, workshop opportunities, and in-depth coursework and internships for high school and college students. The youth programs are carried out in cooperation with well established university-based programs designed to introduce under-represented youth to earth science as an education and career option. USGS programs bring groups of junior high and high school students together during the summer to travel to locations throughout the U.S. (frequently on public lands) to explore science topics such as climate change, natural hazards, energy, oceans, ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resource use and conservation.
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): $12.7 million for 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps initiative coordination, capacity building, and development of a career awareness curriculum through the National Conservation Training Center. In concert with NCTC activities, FWS will expand youth education programs conducted in the national wildlife refuge and fish hatchery systems, and introduce new youth programs under the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds. $4.2 million of this $8 million increase will enable NCTC to hold workshops to bring the best practices to bureau professionals to engage the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. The initiative will employ new media and social networking tools for effective communication with today’s young people. $2.0 million of the increase will enable the National Wildlife Refuge System to build upon existing programs to offer public service opportunities, support science-based education and outdoor learning laboratories, and engage young Americans in wildlife-dependent recreation such as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography. These programs will be managed through mentoring and partnerships with friends organizations, volunteers, educational institutions, and local conservation organizations
National Park Service (NPS): $15.4 million to support and expand the NPS Youth Internship program, which introduces high school and college-aged youth to career opportunities through internships related to occupations in natural and cultural resource management. These students will be involved in intellectually challenging assignments that allow them to work side-by-side with park staff on projects in resource protection, research, and the visitor experience at NPS sites. Internships will be offered through cooperative agreements with the Student Conservation Association, Youth Conservation Corps, and Public Land Corps. Parks will utilize the 17 NPS National Research Learning Centers, which give young people opportunities to collaborate with researchers, gain access to research data, and understand science based management decisions. Parks will be encouraged to recruit candidates for this program through partnerships with non-profit institutions serving minority and economically disadvantaged youth. At present, there are over 25 youth programs operating throughout the national park system.