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KBO Internship Program Selected by Obama Administration, Puts Young People to Work on Public Lands

2013_trinity_internsAs part of the Obama Administration’s ambitious youth initiative to inspire millions of young adults to play, learn, serve, and work in the great outdoors and the President’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced $6.7 million in grants to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities at 43 projects on public lands across the country. The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

With funding from the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park service, and US Forest Service, Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) will build on a long-standing partnership with the agencies to expand its internship program and improve outreach to underserved communities, including Native American, Hispanic, and other underserved youth.  The combination of KBO’s established long-term monitoring program and an intensive training curriculum foster the integration of youth engagement and professional training.  Program expansion will create four six-month internship positions.

KBO Interns are provided with a robust opportunity to gain a realistic appreciation of what a field biologist position entails as part of their training and practical experience.  The internship program establishes a working atmosphere of respect and collaboration with intern engagement with staff and Board members, a series of day‐long extracurricular seminars, and KBO social events. Interns also learn how the data they collect are applied to address conservation priorities at regional, continental, and hemispheric scales. Klamath Bird Observatory’s project will be operated out of long-term field residences in the Upper Klamath Basin, OR, and will include activities at 10 monitoring sites in southern Oregon and northern California, and at KBO’s headquarters in Ashland, OR.

This project is being funded through the America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists, a competitive grant matching program launched in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Through the America’s Great Outdoors program, a total of $1.9 million in federal funds is being granted to 43 projects country-wide, and is being leveraged into the $6.7 million to support youth across the country.

Klamath Bird Observatory programs and partnerships exemplify public-private partnerships and meaningful educational and employment opportunities, and focus on public lands conservation which is at the core of the America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists program.

We have a shared responsibility to protect and promote public lands that belong to all Americans so our children and their children can enjoy them for generations to come.  The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is built through strong public-private partnerships that not only provide employment opportunities to young adults but also provide powerful connections to nature that will last a lifetime,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The partnerships associated with developing the next generation of conservationists offer an opportunity to connect our young people to the great outdoors,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This program engages young people from diverse backgrounds, including underserved populations, and equips them with the knowledge and critical job skills they need to pursue careers in conservation and land management.

NFWF is proud to support this initiative in partnership with the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to provide hundreds of young people with the opportunity to get real world, boots in the mud experience with conservation jobs,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO, NFWF. “Providing these additional resources is a huge win for youth, conservation, and the future of America’s great outdoors.

Klamath Bird Observatory is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. KBO developed an award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and KBO now applies this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs. We owe our success to committed donors, volunteers, staff, and conservation partners who demonstrate that each of us can contribute to a legacy of abundant bird populations and healthy land, air, and water.

Click here to access a PDF of this press release.