Last week, Foundation for Youth Investment (FYI) staff participated in the White House Conference on Conservation — Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage at the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The conference explored the connections between stewardship, outdoor recreation, healthy lands, rivers, wildlife and the job creation strategies fueled by nature based tourism and connections with urban communities.
The conference brought together boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders, environmental education programs, foundations, and other key stakeholders from around the nation to strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in spurring and supporting successful conservation projects.
Foundation for Youth Investment Executive Director, Steve Hagler said of the conference, “It was affirming to see how the work of the Foundation for Youth Investment is in alignment with the national imperative to connect the next generation of youth meaningfully with the outdoors.”
After an engaging afternoon of panel presentations and breakout sessions facilitated by senior White House staff, President Obama addressed the group with closing remarks, reinforcing the importance of conservation in the context of economic vitality and a sustainable approach to job creation. He also shared his personal connection to the outdoors by recalling his first visit to Yellowstone Park as a boy – an experience he is proud to share now with his own children. His recollections resonated with Youth Investment Program Officer Rue Mapp, who was reminded of how her own experiences as a child led to her passion for the outdoors. “President Obama’s trip to Yellowstone reminded me of my own trip to Yosemite when I was a kid. I remember being awed by its beauty.”
Check out the video of his remarks here.
A summary of the White House Conference is posted to the White House Blog. There is also a useful conservation fact sheet that was presented at the conference.