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Urban Youths From Across America Canoe the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge During Groundwork USA Youth Summit
Northeast Region, November 16, 2012
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Curt Collier, Director of Groundwork Hudson County, Releases a Hawk.
Curt Collier, Director of Groundwork Hudson County, Releases a Hawk. - Photo Credit: USFWS/Ken Witkowski
Groundwork Youth and Adult Advisors Pair up to Paddle the River.
Groundwork Youth and Adult Advisors Pair up to Paddle the River. - Photo Credit: USFWS/Ken Witkowski
Networking and Discussion by the Riverside.
Networking and Discussion by the Riverside. - Photo Credit: USFWS/Ken Witkowski
Shore Gathering for Lunch and Discussion.
Shore Gathering for Lunch and Discussion. - Photo Credit: USFWS/Ken Witkowski

Groundwork USA is a non-profit organization that works all across the United States in cities that have experienced decades of decline in their physical and social environments. The mission of Groundwork is to foster and awaken the potential of these neighborhoods by working with communities to improve their environment through various project oriented efforts.

For two years now, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge has been partnering with a local Groundworks chapter, Groundwork Hudson County, based in Yonkers, New York. This partnership has resulted in a cooperative invasive species control program on the refuge and in getting hundreds of inner city teenagers outside, visiting and working on a national wildlife refuge.

This year, in addition to the productive working partnership at the refuge, the refuge hosted one day of the Groundwork USA national conference which was held in New York City. The day which was entitled 'the Youth Summit' included a meet and greet with refuge staff, release of a rehabilitated red tail hawk, discussion of career opportunities in the environmental and wildlife fields, and a canoe trip down the Wallkill River, which included some stop-over points for additional networking and discussions.

Everything went great, and the youth were very happy with the opportunity to canoe on the refuge. For many, this was their first with experience canoeing. A total of 87 people attended the Youth Summit at Wallkill, and 64 of those took part in the canoeing opportunity. Forty were youth and youth leaders. Others were staff, Executive Directors of Groundwork Trusts, non-profit and federal partners - many of whom spoke at the event. The Groundwork Trusts who came were from the following communities across the country: San Diego, CA, Richmond, CA, Portland, OR, Denver, CO, Dallas, TX, Milwaukee, WI, Cincinnati, OH, New Orleans, LA, Wyoming County, WV, Washington, DC, Yonkers, NY, Buffalo, NY, Elizabeth, NJ, Bridgeport, CT, Providence, RI, Somerville, MA, and Lawrence, MA.


Contact Info: Fran Stephenson, 973-702-7266 x 10, fran_stephenson@fws.gov



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