POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., August 6, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined senior officials from the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to host a listening session under President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative. The public shared their ideas on natural resource management strategies for the Empire State communities. These strategies may serve as a foundation when crafting a new 21st century conservation agenda.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, gave citizens the opportunity to share how communities are meeting the challenges of modern-day land conservation and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
“Public and private land conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of New York,” said Vilsack. “We need to hear and learn in greater detail about the successful work happening in the region. Successful regional and local conservation efforts such as the ones charted here in the Hudson Valley, are key as we craft a 21st century conservation agenda that provides clean air and water, renewable energy, places to recreate outdoors, wildlife habitat, and jobs for the American people.”
“As a native of upstate New York, I’m truly inspired by the spirit of collaboration and the passion displayed here today,” said Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes. “Home to historical and cultural treasures, the Hudson Valley is a great place to celebrate America’s Great Outdoors and it is a place we must protect together. With your participation and commitment, we will carry on both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt’s conservation legacy.”
President Obama inaugurated the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions as a part of a national dialogue about conservation that will lead to greater support for the conservation efforts of private citizens and local communities.
For more information on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors.