The nonprofit organization Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is sponsoring the workshop at the Paul Smith's College VIC. Todd Moe talks with one of the keynote speakers at the workshop - Dale Penny, president of the Student Conservation Association.
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The conservation movement is broad with many groups at work, but it is not always connected. “This is a great opportunity, this workshop, for various groups--whether it’s governmental agencies, NGOs, educational organizations, or community-based groups--to come together, share best practices, and really make those connections.” Penny hopes the meeting’s outcome will establish better connections between the groups to help “learn from each other and work more closely together.”
For 55 years the SCA’s mission has been to prepare the next generation of conservation leaders though hands-on experience. “We want to continue to engage more and more diverse young people into active stewardship,” said Penny. “Stewardship is an ethic, it goes beyond the wilderness; it’s how we live our lives.”
Penny says this past year was “amazing.” There were over 20,000 applicants for 4200 positions. “I believe that young people today not only are concerned about the environment, they’re concerned about the stewardship of the Earth.” He maintains that the younger generation wants to serve the nation and will, if allowed.
SCA internships gives students and young people practical skills to go along with college education. Penny says many jobs come out of the SCA. The National Park Service estimated a few years ago that 12% of their workforce was from the SCA.
Penny says young veterans who come back from active duty are starting to become active in stewardship issues as well. They want to “learn how to apply the skills they’ve used on active duty to natural resources management,” and to other similar jobs.
Curt Stager, co-host of Natural Selections and professor at Paul Smith’s College, will be the featured afternoon speaker. The workshop is sponsored by Friends of the Forest Preserves.