In 2017, the American Legion in California will continue a long tradition of sending high school students to the Sierra Nevada to spend a weekend learning about public land management during a Youth Environmental Leadership Conference at the Eldorado National Forest. The program includes topics such as forest health, wildland fire, heritage resources, wildlife, ecological restoration, history and recreation.
“Some of our posts have been sponsoring this event for decades,” said longtime Legion Auxiliary member and conference coordinator, Barbara Ross. “This experience has a great impact on the young people who attend. It expands their understanding of the environment and their role in taking care of it. ”
Applications are accepted through local American Legion posts throughout the state, including Lake Arrowhead, Fresno, Santa Clara and West Covina. These
Legion posts sponsor students by raising money to pay for the program cost of approximately $400 per student. This covers the site rental, food, round trip transportation from one of several hubs including Los Angeles, Fresno and Modesto, and other expenses. Students representing the diversity of California’s communities have been participating in the conference since the 1970’s when it was established under the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Commission of the American Legion, Department of California. Among the youth programs provided by the Legion in California, this event is unique for its emphasis on natural resources and outdoor education.
The Youth Environmental Leadership Conference is based at the Sly Park Environmental Education Center, a Sacramento County Office of Education facility which operates under a special use permit in the Eldorado National Forest. The event will be held May 19-22, 2017, with space available for up to 60 students. The educational programming is provided by staff from the Eldorado National Forest through a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Legion Department of California. Organizations interested in sponsoring students from their community can contact their local American Legion post. For more information about the Youth Environmental Leadership Conference, contact Barbara Ross at 916-798-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Legion was established by Congress in 1919 and is the nation’s largest wartime veteran’s service organization.