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4-H National Headquarters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Award National Wildlife Stewards

Media Contacts:
USDA: Scott Elliott, (202) 720-7185
FWS: Janet Ady, FWS, (304) 876-7653

ARLINGTON, Va, March 18, 2009 – 4-H National Headquarters and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jointly presented the 2009 Connecting Youth with Nature through Natural Resources Conservation Education Award to Michigan State University 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resource Camp today at the 74th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Arlington, Va.

Michigan’s 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp is a statewide teen leadership and environmental stewardship program.  The program focuses on unique aspects of the Lake Huron site and provides pre-college instruction in coastal ecology, fisheries management, limnology, wildlife, forestry and wetlands.  Experiential learning also takes place through natural resource-based recreation and research-oriented field trips. Formal evening programs and natural resource-themed group morale-building games foster teen leadership.  Evaluations, conducted since 1999 with more than 475 youth, document program achievements in increasing Great Lakes/natural resources ecological knowledge.

“The 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp combines quality youth development opportunities with hands-on natural resources and conservation learning experiences,” said Colien Hefferan, administrator of USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES).  CSREES is the parent organization to 4-H National Headquarters.  “The camps enliven youths’ interest in nature and stewardship, while raising their interest in careers in wildlife and natural resources.”

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to recognize the efforts of outstanding community members with the 2009 Connecting Youth with Nature through Natural Resources Conservation Education Award,” said Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

4-H National Headquarters recently recognized the 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp as a Program of Distinction, which is required for consideration for the annual interagency conservation award.  Programs of Distinction reflect the highest quality 4-H youth development programs found in communities across the United States.

The award program was initiated in 1980 to recognize 4-H volunteer leaders from across the country who assist youth in learning about wildlife and fisheries conservation and management. This is the second year for recognizing a Program of Distinction.  The Wildlife Management Institute, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Boone and Crockett Club also support the award program.

4-H National Headquarters seeks to promote positive youth development, facilitate learning and engage youth in the work of the land-grant universities and USDA to enhance their quality of life. Nearly 6 million youth, ages 5-19, participate in 4-H youth development experiences in all 50 states, territories and military installations worldwide.  More information is available at

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit