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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2009

Contact: Kristina Johnson, 415.977.5619

Sierra Club Applauds Interior Dept. for Getting Kids Outside
Salazar Establishes Office of Youth in Natural Resources

Washington, D.C.-Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his agency will establish a new office dedicated to getting youth outdoors.

Salazar, joined by White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett and hundreds of children, signed a Secretarial Order to officially establish an Office of Youth at the Department of Interior. The announcement followed a youth fishing event at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall.

“Salazar’s announcement signals a firm commitment by the new administration to get youth back outdoors,” says Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “A modern Youth Conservation Corps will create new opportunities for underserved youth to explore and protect their public lands and will instill in them a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.”

The creation of an Office of Youth is the first step toward fulfilling Salazar’s vision of establishing a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. The 21st Century YCC will be modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. The new Corps will encourage participation from women and minority populations.

“The next generation of would-be outdoor enthusiasts is growing up watching television and playing video games instead of climbing trees, fishing streams, and skipping stones,” says Sierra Club National Youth Director, Martin LeBlanc. “Secretary Salazar's message was clear. Children benefit from regular contact with the natural world. The new Office of Youth will improve the lives of youth across the nation while preparing a new diverse and dedicated generation of public lands employees and enthusiasts.”

The Office of Youth in Natural Resources will be led by Bob Stanton, the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget. For more information, go to: http://www.doi.gov/news/09_News_Releases/060809a.html

For more information about Sierra Club's efforts to get kids outside, go to: http://www.sierraclub.org/youth/

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