OAK supports the protection and preservation of natural areas in which young people can learn and play. OAK also supports initiatives and funding that provide young people with outdoor recreation and education opportunities and jobs, training, service, and volunteer opportunities that connect them to the outdoors. By providing these opportunities, we help youth assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors and contribute to the healthy development of the next generation.
- Protect and preserve natural areas in which young people can learn and play, particularly in areas close to population centers where safe and accessible outdoor areas may be limited.
- Raise awareness of the adverse effect that global climate change will have on the ability of young people to experience nature.
- Expand the federal, state, and local investment in programs that provide youth service jobs and an ethic of environmental stewardship.
- Increase jobs, training, service, and volunteer opportunities in the outdoors in every community across America.
Legislative Issues and Initiatives Related to Environmental Stewardship
- SUPPORT Public Lands Service Corps Act, which will allow the public land and water management agencies to engage youth and young adults to meet our nation’s backlogged maintenance needs, address record youth unemployment, and prepare a diverse group of youth to be the next generation of natural resource employees. The legislation will make it easier for federal agencies to partner with Public Lands Corps programs, and will also provide expanded service opportunities for opportunities for Americans.
- SUPPORT permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects our open spaces, near and far, and improves access to them for children, youth and families. The federal land acquisition and state and local assistance programs supported by the Fund provide opportunities for young people to get outdoors.
- SUPPORT restoration of funding for our nation’s public lands. OAK supports the restoration of sufficient funding to allow the agencies to adequately manage our public lands and waters, and opposes further cuts in funding for our nation’s land and water management agencies in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
Administrative Issues and Initiatives Related to Environmental Stewardship
- SUPPORT the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) –The 21CSC is bold national effort to put 100,000 young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s Great Outdoors. The opportunities provided by 21CSC will encourage youth to assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors, and also to teach them basic job skills at a time when youth unemployment is near record levels and young people are missing out on critical early job experiences. In addition, 21CSC programs will improve public health by helping young people develop and maintain active lifestyles.
- SUPPORT Secretary Jewell’s Youth PLAY, LEARN, SERVE and WORK initiative. OAK supports the Secretary’s campaign to expand opportunities for youth service and volunteer work on our nation’s public lands. The “Serve” and “Work” goals of the initiative are to: (a) Serve – increase volunteer opportunities on America’s public lands from 330,000 to 1 million annually; and (b) Work – provide employment opportunities for 100,000 youth and veterans annually through America’s conservation corps. (The “Play” and “Learn” components of the initiative fall within OAK’s other two pillars.)