NFWF launched Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists, a competitive matching grant conservation program, in December 2011. The goal of the program is to provide support for innovative job opportunities that expose young people, particularly urban and underserved youth who are increasingly disconnected from the outdoors, to the natural world and career opportunities in conservation. This conservation program is a partnership between NFWF, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Forest Service.
Funding priorities for this program include:
- Providing paid internships or jobs in the outdoors to underserved urban, rural, and tribal youth
- Increasing mentorship, training, and education opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals
- Hands-on implementation of habitat restoration, stewardship, monitoring, and other conservation-related activities
- Delivering meaningful conservation outcomes that benefit the land, facilities, programs or mission of BLM, Reclamation, and/or FS
- Projects that align with a NFWF Conservation Program.
During the first five years of the program, 168 projects across the nation received a total of $11.7 million, which is being leveraged by $20 million in non-federal contributions raised by the grantees. These projects will provide more than 3,350 jobs for youth and engage over 36,000 volunteers.