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Wisconsin Conservation Congress bolsters youth program

April 1, 2015

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) announced it is partnering with the Department of Natural Resource (DNR) to expand the Youth Conservation Congress (YCC) program and provide a more robust experience for interested participants.

The YCC is an initiative to engage, educate and involve youth in the management and protection of natural resources and foster in them a conservation ethic.

“This partnership with the DNR will allow us to offer youth delegates more opportunities to participate in important resource management activities and give them some hands-on experience with what goes into resource management as well as the decision making behind it,” said Rob Bohmann, chair of WCC, a citizen group that advises the DNR. “We want to get young people engaged civically as well as physically in conservation.”

YCC delegates will now have the preferential opportunity to work with DNR staff on a wide variety of service-learning opportunities such as fish-netting or wildlife surveys, tagging or marking fish at a hatchery facility, assisting with habitat assessments, air monitoring, ride-alongs, or water-quality sampling.

In addition, DNR staff will host an annual all-day “field day” in each DNR region to expose youth delegates to the many facets and factors involved in natural resource management, show them various career options available in natural resource fields, give them the opportunity to interact with professionals in those fields, and give them a chance to participate in typical work done by natural resource professionals.

YCC delegates will also be given Natural Resource Foundation (NRF) memberships and will be able to attend NRF educational field trips at a reduced rate. At some schools, participation in the YCC may be used for independent study, school credit or volunteer hours.

“We are very excited for this partnership and the opportunities it will afford youth,” Bohmann said. “Through this program, youth delegates will be able to strengthen valuable problem-solving, communication, teamwork and leadership skills. These transferable skills are important to have, whatever you may do in life.”

YCC delegates will continue to represent the young people within each WCC district on issues relating to natural resource management. The delegates currently attend and participate in the annual spring hearings and WCC county meetings, the statewide convention, and WCC advisory committee meetings.

“We hope through this program we can inform the next generation of dedicated and conservation-minded citizens that will help to serve as the voice of the citizens of this state on natural resource issues,” Bohmann said.

The WCC is officially recognized as the only advisory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to represent their interests on natural resources issues on a local and statewide level to the Natural Resources Board and the DNR.

For more information on the YCC go to dnr.wi.gov and search “youth congress.”