Investing in Our YouthÖ
Developing Michiganís Natural Resource and Outdoor Stewards
Todayís youth have more options than ever before to spend their free time. In Michigan and across the country, there is a decline in the number of youth getting involved in traditional outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting or general outdoor enjoyment. Recent research states that experience outdoors, especially during childhood, may be the single most important influence on how people think about the environment. Investing in our youth is important. Youth under the age of 18 make-up more than 25% of Michiganís population, that is about two and a half million young people. In the tri-county area of Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties, close to one million of Michiganís youth reside.
How best do we meet young peoples need for positive role models and experiences? How can we ensure that youth will live happy and productive adult lives? One way is by spending time with youth doing outdoor activities they love, which in turn can develop life skills and a lifetime of environmental stewardship.
To enhance Michiganís youth and families through environmental education and outdoor experiences in the effort to nurture stewardship and leadership related to their natural resources
To develop young peopleís knowledge of interrelationships of clean air, water, soils, and healthy fish and wildlife populations and promote stewardship of the land.
Introductory and awareness programming with at least 5000 youth will take place by September 2001. These events may include but are not limited to Michigan State Fair, MUCCís Outdoorama, summer youth camp programs, festivals and County Conservation Days.
Train and support adult mentors to facilitate local youth programs related to outdoors and natural resources education.
Nurture the current partners in our efforts:
Facilitate urban program development through workshops, resources and activities in the Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne County area
Long term monitoring of fishing, hunting and other recreational activity license sales through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will help determine program success.
Continued evaluation of program participants to access current and long-term implications
Increased number of youth and families participating in outdoor recreation and natural resources education through clubs and other events.
Increased list of collaborations and partnerships with a variety of organizations and industry
An increased number of urban youth enrolled in college programs related to natural resource careers
The 21 st Century and Beyond
Expanding program efforts into the 21st century include a variety of possibilities.
Utilizing multimedia technology to reach schools, volunteers, math and science centers with web, computer, Desk to video conferencing and video learning opportunities.
Coordinate collaborative efforts to develop increased access and opportunities in the outdoors for youth and families. Possible opportunities may include an increased number of school ship experiences for youth, fishing pier construction, Marine and Hunter safety courses during and after school.
Partners that may be added to those already listed include other youth serving organizations, watershed groups, manufacturers, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and sportsmenís clubs.
A coordinated voucher system to allow youth and families who have participated in our programs to purchase equipment at a discount price, which leads to increased accessibility and activity. Tracking capability would be possible for participants after program participation.
An established and community based youth outdoor club in every county in Michigan
Have a network of over 1000 volunteers throughout Michigan who are working with youth under the age of 18
Develop a College Scholarship to enhance recruitment of teens into undergraduate programs related to natural resources.