President Obama has long recognized the importance of engaging and developing the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental leaders. In 2010, he established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to help reconnect Americans, especially children, to our country’s rivers and waterways, farms and forests, and to our unparalleled local and national parks. As one of his first actions under this initiative, the President created the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to provide quality jobs, career pathways, and service opportunities for youth and veterans.
Through the championship of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Cabinet Secretaries across agencies, we are fostering a new generation of wildlife biologists, park rangers, climate scientists and other professionals to care for our lands and waters. And throughout the Administration – including at the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Army and the Environmental Protection Agency and Corporation for National and Community Service – we are working to create more opportunities for young people to play, learn, serve and work on our public lands.
The Administration’s work is motivated by communities across the country that are taking action to build meaningful connections between young people and the outdoors, for the benefit of their health, economies and environment. And we are also inspired by young Americans who are finding fun and innovative ways to motivate their peers to spend time outside – hiking, fishing and playing sports, and developing a deep appreciation for the environment, and the need to conserve our natural resources.
The White House will host a Champions of Change event to celebrate local leaders across the country who are working to get young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. We are asking you to help us identify these standout local leaders – including inspirational Millennials who are setting an example – by nominating a Champion of Change for Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders by noon on Friday, February 21st. Nominees may include:
- Play: Creating opportunities for and inspiring others to participate in outdoor recreation and physical activity;
- Learn: Whether through nature’s classroom or using creative tools to bring the outdoors within school walls, providing educational opportunities to the nation’s student population about the environment and how climate change is impacting our lands and waters;
- Serve: Engaging young people and entire communities in stewardship through volunteerism at local and national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands; or,
- Work: Developing the next generation of lifelong conservation stewards by offering outdoor work experiences for young adults and veterans to help tackle complex environmental challenges, like climate change.
Click on the link below to submit your nomination (be sure to choose Next Generation Conservation Leaders in the "Theme of Service" field of the nomination form).
We look forward to hosting this event to highlight the great work taking place in communities to create a new generation of environmental stewards and outdoor enthusiasts.
Michael Boots is the Chief of Staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality