Q. What is Conservation USA?
A. Conservation USA is an emerging program that focuses on conservation project skills training and natural resource conservation education. It is being designed to give basic level training for leaders of groups that wish to perform conservation service learning projects. This basic level certification will be designed to be recognized by land managers that represent a common starting point from which to further develop a working relationship between managers and users.
Q. Who is currently involved in this partnership?
A. The lead organization for Conservation USA is the American Camping Association, the only organization that represents the entire camping industry. Current partners in Conservation USA include all of the major federal land managing agencies and several of the large youth-serving organizations. These current partners represent over 25% of the land base and about 50% of the youth population of the United States.
Q. What are the core competencies that Conservation USA will teach?
A. Conservation USA is designed to be a basic certification program and those completing it will be able to:
- Give leadership to volunteer projects.
- Coordinate with Federal, State, and local agencies and land holders.
- Provide a safe and meaningful experience for their crews.
- Identify conservation project needs.
- Understand and follow general conservation project guidelines.
- Have knowledge of resources available and be able to define additional resources.
- Understand resource management and stewardship.
- Introduce career opportunities in cultural and natural resource management and youth services.
Q. How can a single certification program be sufficient for all of the variations in nature, the types of projects, and the organizations involved?
A. It can't. It is anticipated that the program will be added at the local level and more intensive training may be available in follow-up courses. The basic certification's integrity must be maintained to ensure confidence by all concerned. The exact mechanism for local implementation and modification is not fully developed because input is still being sought on how it may best work in a local situation.
Q. Who can participate?
A. It is our strong commitment that Conservation USA be a very inclusive program, in both the design of the partnerships and in the participation of the courses. Participation is being solicited from all levels of government and private land managers and all organizations or individuals interested in conserving our natural and cultural resources through service.
Q. How can I get involved?
A. There are several ways to become involved in Conservation USA. First, and most immediate, is through discussions like this and participation with follow-up questionnaires. We are actively seeking your input to help us in the design of this program and understanding how it can help you in your situation. Second, if you represent an organization, talk to us about the possibility of becoming a participating partner in the development or management of Conservation USA at either the national or local level. Third, in addition to the national partnership being formed, there will be a need to create alliances at the local or regional levels to help develop acceptance, identify any additional training that may be necessary in your local situation, and to help bring those who want to become involved in conserving our resources together with those who are responsible for manageing them and can use volunteer help.
Q. How can I learn more or help with Conservation USA?
A. We are currently developing a Website and putting together a mailing list of interested individuals and organization for Conservation USA. You should also feel free to contact any of those listed in the Conservation USA materials you have received.