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Release Date: 10/19/12
Contacts: Jeff Krauss , 202-912-7410  
  Trevor Needham , 202-912-7097  

Interior Department Presents "Partners in Conservation" Awards

Washington, D.C. - Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes presented the Secretary’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Awards to a number of outstanding conservation partnerships at a special ceremony yesterday. Awards were given to three BLM-led partnerships: Alaska’s Iditarod National Historic Trail Centennial Partnership; Arizona’s Phoenix District Youth Initiative, and the Ute Learning Garden based in Grand Junction, Colorado. 

This honor awards program recognizes partnerships that promote conservation, protect natural and cultural resources, use innovative approaches for resource management, and engage youth and diverse entities in accomplishing the Department’s mission. “These awards recognize dedicated citizens from across our nation who collaborate to conserve and restore America’s Great Outdoors, encourage youth involvement in conservation, and forge solutions to complex natural resource challenges,” Hayes said. “We are strongest and best when we are leveraging what we do with our partners.”

A national panel assembled by the Department of the Interior selected the award winners from a large slate of nominees submitted by all Interior bureaus.  The winners were selected for their exceptional contributions to conservation and management of the public lands.
Representatives from the winning partnerships participated in the awards ceremony held at the Department of the Interior. The BLM’s 2012 honorees are profiled below. To view photos from the event, click here.
Iditarod National Historic Trail Centennial Partnership (Alaska)
The Iditarod National Historic Trail Centennial Partnership, led by the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, developed and implemented a five-year (2008-2012) public-private commemoration of the 2,400-mile trail, which runs from Seward to Nome, Alaska.  Innovative programs include trail-based K-12 teacher training for educating students in public land stewardship; education and youth engagement opportunities; rural community micro-grants for trail upgrades; community education efforts, including a 1,000-mile dogsled-based community outreach initiative; and funding to build six new trail public safety cabins and public easements on 1,600 miles of the trail—more than the State of Alaska has dedicated at any other time.  Partners include the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, and the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance.
Phoenix District Youth Initiative (Arizona)
The Phoenix District Youth Initiative is a model youth engagement partnership that encourages urban and Native American youth involvement in natural resource careers.  The partnership delivers hands-on certification, environmental education, and employment programs on public lands; natural resource course and degree offerings; and tribal internships.  Youth gain valuable work experience monitoring riparian habitats, removing invasive plants, performing stewardship and conservation projects, and participating in field-based science programs.  Their work fosters sustainable youth engagement in the stewardship of America’s natural and cultural heritage. Partners include the BLM; other Federal, tribal and State agencies; publicly funded workforce investment programs; conservation corps; and non-governmental organizations. 
Ute Learning Garden (Colorado)
The Ute Learning Garden is a conservation education program that connects Native American youth with traditional cultural practices and engages elders in the recollection of traditional practices and native plant uses.  This knowledge is shared with school groups and the public through an urban garden and docent program in Grand Junction, Colorado.   The garden also introduces diverse audiences to the Ute Indian Tribe’s relationship to the landscape of Mesa County, their traditional homeland.  Partners include the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, BLM-Colorado, Colorado Master Gardener and Native Plant Master Programs, Colorado State University Extension, County and State agencies, and local businesses.

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: 10-19-2012