Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ALASKA USFWS: Youth Connect with the Great Outdoors and Careers on the Last Frontier
Alaska Region, October 28, 2011
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Following the Kanak Trail, SCA High School Trail Crew, Alaska Peninsula NWR.
Following the Kanak Trail, SCA High School Trail Crew, Alaska Peninsula NWR. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Nick Hajdukavich, student intern, assisting with eagle banding project.
Nick Hajdukavich, student intern, assisting with eagle banding project. - Photo Credit: USFWS

The future of America’s treasured landscapes depends upon the next generation’s understanding of and connection to the Great Outdoors, so getting younger children outside in nature and providing educational programs for them is just as important as providing jobs for older youth.
~Secretary Salazar, 2010 Address to the Corps Network Forum

In 2009, the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, challenged all Interior agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), to increase youth hires by, “engaging young people from all walks of life with our natural resources and building pathways to careers in resource stewardship.” In 2011, The Alaska Region of the USFWS successfully met the Secretary’s call to increase youth employment across the state. With the Region’s tool box of recruitment methods, hiring authorities, and partner organizations Alaska USFWS contributed successfully to this Departmental initiative. We attracted a vibrant and talented workforce of 284 youth, ages 15-25 who worked across all programs for at least 80 hours each.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Youth filled 37 permanent and temporary positions for the USFWS including positions on refuges, field offices and the regional office in Anchorage.
  • Six students attending college or vocational schools filled Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) positions.
  • Partners such as The Student Conservation Association (SCA), other non-profits, tribal organizations, and university partners employed 120 youth interns to provide outreach and visitor services, do climate change research, monitor fisheries, and much more.
  • 40 youth signed up as USFWS volunteers and contributed thousands of hours to the Service in 2011.
  • Five Youth Conservations Corps (YCC) employed and educated 29 high school-aged youth at Alaska Maritime, Arctic, Kenai, Kodiak, and Tetlin National Wildlife Refuges.
  • Six Alaska Native Science and Engineering (ANSEP) students were placed in internships with the Migratory Bird Division, Arctic, Yukon Delta, and Togiak Refuges.

These youth invigorate our field camps, visitor centers, and staff meetings with energy, creativity, and passion. The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service celebrates our amazing youth workforce in a series of three articles entitled:

America's Great Outdoors - Live Q&A with Secretary Salazar The AGO Initiative is based on the tenet that lasting conservation solutions should start with the American people – that nobody know which places are most important to American communities better than the people who live, work and recreate in them.
Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, kristen_gilbert@fws.gov
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