Conservation efforts pushed at White House conference

Conservation efforts pushed at White House conference

Community-driven conservation efforts will be the topic du jour for the White House on Friday.

The Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy conference, “will explore the link between conservation and strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy lands, waters and wildlife,” according to a statement released by the White House.

All 50 states will be represented at the conference, and is also expected to host boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, and tribal leaders, the White House said. The diverse groups will be brought together in an effort to “strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in spurring and supporting successful conservation projects,” the statement read.

The conference is part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. As part of the initiative, the Obama administration is “opening up recreational access to lands and waters, supporting the creation of urban parks and trails, increasing youth employment in conservation jobs and making historic investments in large landscapes such as the Everglades,” the White House said.

“The initiative is empowering locally-led conservation and outdoor recreation efforts, from supporting the working landscapes of the Dakota Grasslands and the Flint Hills in Kansas, to designating the Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia, to countless other success stories across the country,” the statement read.

Majorie Jackson, who is the Executive Director of the Elizabeth River Project in Virginia, will participate in one of the conference’s sessions—on Urban Open Space. Jackson was one of four citizens who in 1991, thought of the Elizabeth River Project idea. She then quit her career in journalism to devote her life to bringing the Elizabeth back to health, the White House said.

In addition to the representatives and conservation advocates that will participate in the Friday conference, there will also be a number of key administration officials present: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior; Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Nancy Sutley, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Lisa P. Jackson, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works).