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Arizona State Office
Release Date: 05/23/14
Contacts: Deborah Stevens, 602-417-9504    

Developing Arizona's Next Generation of Conservationists
BLM Arizona Receives Grants to Hire Youth

(PHOENIX, AZ)— Earlier today Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced $6.7 million in grants to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities at 43 projects on public lands across the country. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Arizona is a recipient of three of those grants totaling $581,368 that will go to hire young people and veterans to work on public lands managed by the BLM Phoenix and Gila districts. 

The 43 projects announced are being funded through a competitive grant matching program launched in December 2011 in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWR). Through the program, a total of $1.9 million in federal funds is being leveraged into the $6.7 million to support youth across the country. In addition to providing work for youth, the grants facilitate volunteer opportunities for youth and adult mentors.

“We are honored to be part of the Department of the Interior’s ambitious youth initiative to inspire young adults and veterans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors,” said BLM Arizona State Director Ray Suazo. “The three BLM Arizona grant projects are excellent opportunities to provide paid on-the-job experiences to numerous youth on Arizona’s public lands,” he said. 

BLM Arizona’s projects include:

  • Gila Watershed Youth Employment in Conservation: BLM will hire a recent college graduate with a resource management background to help develop and integrate BLM and Arizona Gila Watershed Partnership (AGWP) projects and programs which will engage local high school and college students, Southwest Conservation Corps members, and community volunteers in conservation and stewardship activities. Twelve young adults will be paid to implement restoration work at sites that include Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus and the Our Neighbors Farm Community Garden Projects. The project location is in the Gila Valley near Safford, Arizona. 
  • BLM Riparian Studies and Habitat Restoration: BLM’s Safford Field Office will partner with Eastern Arizona College, collaborate with the Spring Stewardship Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and provide data to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program by employing 23 youth to conduct natural resource assessment, restoration, and monitoring projects. Through summer and school year intern and volunteer work experiences in four focal areas: (1) the Living Rivers Program; (2) Springs Inventory Program; (3) Habitat Restoration; and (4) Rare Plant Conservation.   The project locations are inNavajo, Graham, Greenlee and Cochise Counties; Gila River, Sky Islands, and the San Simon Valley, Southeastern Arizona.
  • BLM Phoenix District Youth Program: BLM will hire eight youth and two crew leaders for its Field School, a 16-week program that educates and trains under-served youth, while the students earn occupational certificates and college credit. During their employment, the youth will build about 1,000 feet of new hiking trails around Phoenix; rebuild 1,300 feet of existing trails; improve deer habitat by removing 3,350 feet of fence; enhance the BLM Sonoran Desert National Monument by clearing debris; conduct official bird surveys; and collect data along the Agua Fria River and Burro Creek. The BLM recruits youth through its partners, the Maricopa County and Phoenix Workforce Boards and Arizona-Call-a-Youth-Teen-Resources. The project location is on public lands in the BLM Phoenix District. 

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 05-23-2014