Reno, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) presented its prestigious Partners in Conservation Awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. today to programs in three states. One of those honored was the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Bootstraps Program, which gives at-risk and underprivileged youth the skills and decision-making abilities to return to school or enter the workforce by involving them in natural resource project work.
The BLM’s Battle Mountain District and other partners help pay youth crew members though financial assistance agreements with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Cooperative Extension.
The young adults are between the ages of 18 and 25. They are not working or in school, and have little to no practical outdoor experience. Two-thirds of the participants are Native American, and most are young men living on their own or in single-parent households.
The program has employed more than 100 at-risk youth over 9 years. As an example of their accomplishments, from June through September 2013, the Bootstraps crews treated more than 1,700 acres of juniper and pinyon on public lands in southern Lander County.
Classroom instruction for the youths focuses on self-development as well as natural resources. Lessons include team building, peer relations, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, resume writing and communication skills.
“Our partners give us confidence in a bright tomorrow and are an inspiration to us all,” said BLM Nevada State Director Amy Lueders. “We are sincerely grateful for their efforts, and I encourage everyone here to follow our honorees’ shining example of community service."
“The Department of the Interior is proud to recognize the accomplishments of those who are innovating and collaborating in ways that address today’s complex conservation and stewardship challenges,” Secretary Jewell said at an awards ceremony at the Interior headquarters in Washington today. “These partnerships represent the gold standard for how Interior is doing business across the nation to power our future, strengthen tribal nations, conserve and enhance America’s great outdoors and engage the next generation.”
The Partners in Conservation Award recognizes partnerships that promote conservation, protect natural and cultural resources, use innovative approaches for resource management, and engage youth and diverse entities in accomplishing Interior’s mission. Award winners were selected from a large slate of nominees and were selected for their special contributions to conservation and management of the public lands.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.