Delegates go to DC to support public lands

Youth with Senator Udall #2

By Kristina Ortez de Jones, Southwest Youth Representative

By the time you read this, Sierra Club delegates from the Mission Outdoors Program will already have clicked their way down the halls of Congress to let their elected leaders know the importance of protecting public lands and providing opportunities for young people, veterans and their families to connect with the outdoors.

Convened in response to the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoor Hearings, Great Outdoors America week (Sept. 19-22) was organized by the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and scores of other national and regional organizations to bring public lands volunteers to advocate on this issue.

The Mission Outdoors delegation comes from all over the country. Asha Stout, formerly of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, is our New Mexico delegate. Before he left for DC, he requested meetings with the entire New Mexican delegation to talk about green jobs for young people and the continued protection of lands such as Otero Mesa and Organ Mountains.

In addition to meeting and briefing members of Congress, the Mission Outdoors delegates participated in Congressional briefings convened by Congressman Kind on the issue of youth and veterans in nature. They also went on a White House Tour and did a meet-and-greet with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.