05 January 2024

The Importance of Stewardship Programs

Written by: Alondra Gomez

My Resource Assistant internship at the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has given me the chance to take a stroll down memory lane. I first heard of Generation Green when I was a sophomore in high school, and I then applied for the internship program my senior year. Generation Green is a youth conservation internship program focused on helping young local students from different backgrounds get exposed to various job opportunities and careers in the Forest Service. Generation Green focuses on personal and professional development regarding leadership, education, professional development, backpacking, natural resources, land management, service, working alongside various projects and people. The program has reached over 300 students by educating and investing in the upcoming generation of conservation leaders today, tomorrow, and forever.

 I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Generation Green crew this summer and see them grow from one version to another. I got to go on their backpacking trip into Desolation Wilderness and worked with the Wilderness rangers on restoring a trail by Upper Velma Lake. I’ve seen firsthand the challenges that comes with working outside, but I have also witnessed the visible growth these students have demonstrated. I already went through my own experience with Generation Green, but I have a more appreciation for programs that help youth get experience being in the outdoors. I recognize the measurable impact the program will have on their professional and personal endeavors.

 Besides the physical demands of the internship, the spiritual and mental benefits of the program go a long way. For example, being outside and working with like-minded peers and building connections is good for our mental health. I know from personal experience the program helped me gain clarity on my education goals, career interests and my values. I saw more potential in myself and challenged my limits to new heights. I was not always an outdoor person prior to Generation Green due to the lack of access, money, and representation. By having completed the program, and seeing myself now, everyone deserves to experience outdoor recreation and share their experience with loved ones and community. The Generation Green program allowed me to be involved in something meaningful, and transformative. I truly believe programs like Generation Green, and the Resource Assistance Program are vital in building environmental literacy, fostering diversity in the workforce, breaking down barriers, and empowering the future young stewards of the land.



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