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December 28, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
1115 (172) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-048
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:                   All State Directors
                        Attn: Assistant State Directors and Deputy State Directors
From:              Director, National Landscape Conservation System and Community
Subject:          Bureau of Land Management National Youth Initiative Funding
                                                                                                     DD: 01/25/2010
Program Areas: Recreation and Visitor Services; Cultural and Paleontological Resources; Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation; Soil, Water, and Air; Rangeland Resources; Forestry; Wild Horse and Burro; National Landscape Conservation System; Education and Interpretation
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) includes background information on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Youth Initiative and: 
  1. Provides clarification regarding the use and purpose of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Annual Work Plan (AWP) State allocations for project-based work and internship programs, including Youth Corps; and
  2. Notifies State and Field Offices of the availability of additional Youth Initiative funding, describes the application process, and solicits youth-related project proposals for
FY 2010 and FY 2011. Separate guidance will follow regarding the availability and use of Youth Initiative funding for the National Student Educational Employment Program, the Federal Career Intern Program, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program. 

Budget Impact: The BLM has identified $5,000,000 of new funding for the National Youth Initiative for FY 2010. As directed by the Department, a substantial portion of these funds should be targeted to programs and initiatives that will result in employing young people in the work of the BLM. Some of the funds will be retained in the Washington Office (WO) to support:

  • National-level resource specific partnerships, programs, and materials ($500,000)
  • National youth program staff ($250,000)
  • National youth program training and support ($250,000)           
  • Student Educational Employment Program salaries ($400,000)
  • Housing stipends for Student Career Employment Program participants ($300,000)
  • Career recruitment website improvements ($100,000)
The funds specified below are to be used by State and Field Offices to support project-based work and internship programs, including Youth Corps, as well as for projects or programs that promote youth engagement and education on BLM public lands. These funds should be used to augment and enhance existing programs, not to replace funds that are moved to other priority projects.
Policy/Action: State Directors are asked to: 
  1. Prioritize and disburse Youth Corps funds within each of their States for project-based work and internship programs. As part of the AWP, each State has received a one-time allocation in the amount of $100,000 ($50,000 each in subactivities 1010 and 1220). These funds should be used to augment base funding already being used in support of project-based work and internship programs. They may be used to hire Youth Corps for projects and/or to build capacity by taking the steps needed to plan and develop “shovel-ready” projects that can be undertaken with additional funding in FY 2011. Using these funds to hire seasonal employees in order to build capacity may also be considered. Through partnerships with Youth Corps groups, the Student Conservation Association, and other youth service organizations, BLM offices should provide youth (ages 15-25) with meaningful work experiences. In order to realize the full intent of this program, which is to expand career pathways for young people, work experiences must include mentoring, transference of conservation and stewardship ethics, development of employable skills, and career transition counseling.  A total of $1.2 million is available.
  2. Notify Field Offices about Youth Initiative Incentive Funding opportunities, including proposal submission process and deadlines. All State and Field Offices are eligible for funding and are invited to submit project proposals, which will be funded through a merit ranking grant process.  A total of $2 million is available.  The primary purpose of these funds is to introduce and provide career pathways to young people by expanding existing and new projects, programs, and materials that engage youth in the outdoors, educate them about natural and cultural resources, and promote stewardship. For example, offices can apply for funding to support: 
  • Take It Outside projects that provide direct, hands-on outdoor experiences to children and families.
  • Hands on the Land programs that link BLM offices with local schools, resulting in standards-based education programs for schoolchildren.
  • Family-friendly programs and materials for Interpretive Centers, sites, and other facilities. 
Proposals that employ young people to assist in the development or delivery of these programs will be ranked the highest.  A Youth Initiative Incentive Funding Application and a list of program criteria are included as attachments.
Key Activities and Dates: State and Field Offices should submit project proposals using the attached incentive funding application and nomination criteria. Proposals should cover two Fiscal Years, both FY 2010 and FY 2011 to allow for out-year planning for this new initiative. As this initiative becomes established, the Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships Division will work with the Budget Office to integrate Youth Initiative funding into the Budget Planning System for FY 2011 and beyond. Each Field Office should submit project proposals to their respective State Youth Leads, who will work with State Management Teams to prioritize projects. State Youth Leads will then post the prioritized proposals in the appropriate State folder on the following Sharepoint site:
Timeframe: Effective immediately. Proposals must be posted on the Sharepoint site by
January 25, 2010.  States and Field Offices will be notified of approved projects by February 19, 2010.
Background: The BLM has a long history of involving the public in all facets of its resource planning and decision-making.  Informed citizens are critical to successful public participation and stewardship. In addition, as BLM’s workforce ages and retires, natural resource professionals will be needed to fill those positions. Informed citizens and future employees must be developed and nurtured over time. According to Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, “Studies have shown that most conservation leaders credit their commitment to the environment to two sources: many hours spent outdoors, when they were children…and an adult who taught respect for nature.”  The initial childhood wonder about the natural world must be sustained through hands-on experiences during the school-age years and enriched through long-term engagement and stewardship.  The BLM’s Youth Initiative is a continuum of programs that do just that.  As part of the Secretary’s 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps Initiative, BLM is providing funds to support programs and partnerships that:
  • Encourage young people and their families to visit, explore, and learn about the public lands;
  • Engage youth in natural and cultural resource management; and
  • Promote stewardship, conservation, natural resource career awareness, and public service.

Programs that engage, educate, and employ youth are high priorities for both the Secretary of the Interior and the BLM Director. The Office of National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships (WO-170) is leading this effort and the Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships, in collaboration with WO-700, is responsible for Youth Initiative oversight and coordination.

Manual/Handbook Section Affected: None.  

Coordination: This IM was coordinated by the Office of National Landscape Conservation System and Community Partnerships, the Renewable Resources and Planning Directorate, and the Human Capital Management Directorate.
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this IM, please contact Mary Tisdale, Chief, Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships (Mary_Tisdale@blm.gov; 202-912-7450) or Betsy Wooster, Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships (Elizabeth_Wooster@blm.gov; 202-912-7454).
Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Carl Rountree                                                              Robert M. Williams
Director                                                                       Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
National Landscape Conservation System
   and Community Partnerships
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Last updated: 01-11-2010