DNR seeks applicants for NRC Youth Conservation Council
The Department of Natural Resources today announced it is accepting applications from Michigan’s youth, ages 14 to 18, who are interested in being a part of the Natural Resources Commission Youth Conservation Council.
Launched in 2013, the council’s structure has been modified to operate more as an “academy model” that should help its young outdoor enthusiasts build stronger outdoor leadership skills.
“Over the first two years, we have evaluated the program to make sure that council members and the DNR were both achieving their goals from this experience,” said Ray Rustem, the DNR’s Youth Conservation Council advisor.
“During our weekend meetings, members were very engaged and there was a lot of energy. Still, the distance between members and the absence of local support once they returned home hindered success in reaching some of our goals,” Rustem said. “We hope the academy format, which includes presentations on natural resources and outdoor recreation issues – along with pairing members with local DNR personnel – will improve the experience.”
Already in the first few years, there have been several bright spots.
Council members have developed projects to encourage youth participation in outdoor activities. A youth blog has been established. Council members also are preparing YouTube videos to promote outdoor activity and developing a youth photo contest. The department also administers a Facebook page on behalf of the council.
Youth interested in joining the NRC Youth Conservation Council will be expected to participate in four meetings each year. At least two of the meetings will be offered as weekend training sessions at a conference facility; other meetings will be shorter meetings with possible attendance through teleconferencing and/or Web-based applications.
At these meetings, members will take part in broad-ranging discussions about Michigan’s outdoors and current and future recreation opportunities available statewide. Additionally, they’ll make recommendations to both the NRC and the DNR about policy, program and legislative changes that members believe will boost young residents’ interest and involvement in the outdoors, including in the Michigan traditions of hunting and fishing.
Those youth chosen for the council also will be expected to:
- Attend a Natural Resources Commission meeting.
- Write and submit three articles on outdoor activities for the Youth Conservation Council blog.
- Help develop and participate in local events to encourage more kids to get outdoors.
During their time on the council, members will be partnered with local DNR personnel to enhance their learning experience and provide mentoring opportunities.
Applications are available on the DNR’s Youth Conservation Council website, along with a roster of frequently asked questions that offers more detail about the Youth Conservation Council. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnr, choose Education and Outreach, and then select the Youth Conservation Council under Programs for Families and Individuals.
Completed applications must be postmarked by April 30, 2015, and sent to:
NRC Youth Conservation Council
ATTN: Raymond Rustem
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909