“It’s all about the kids,” emphasized Team Lead Shandra Terry upon accepting the Forest Service Chief’s Honor Award for “Engaging Urban America.” The Region 6 Youth Engagement Strategy (YES!) was recognized on December 3, 2015 for winning the National Award, the agency’s highest level of recognition.
“It is my privilege to congratulate Shandra Terry, Shoni Pilip-Florea and other Forest staff members for being selected as awardees under the “Engaging Urban America” category for their efforts with the Region 6 Youth Engagement Strategy (YES!),” said Regional Forester Jim Peña. “By working with partners, the Region is better able to reach non-traditional and underrepresented audiences. I thank all of you, and your employees for contributing to the success of this regional program.”
Forest leadership accepts Chief’s Honor Award.
Through five year of strategic Regional investment and nine national forests, YES! has engaged 150,000 youth and families, 65% of them from minority populations. These forest-level programs are designed to provide a spectrum of engagement and to ensure intensive, immersive, and cumulative experiences for participating youth.
The YES! program relies on local partners to help accomplish program objectives. Region 6 implements YES! on national forests that are primed to explore new ways of working with partners, and are committed to providing a continuum of learning experiences to youth. These forests reach non-traditional and underrepresented audiences in a new way, beyond the traditional county fair or the one-time bus ride to a national forest campground.
The nine YES! National forests to date are the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Umatilla, Fremont-Winema, Gifford Pinchot, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Mt. Hood, Willamette, Deschutes and Olympic. They apply these funds toward high-leverage partnerships with businesses, schools, Tribes, state and local governments, non-profits, and community organizations. The many partnerships deliver a wide array of programs that connect youth to national forests – near and far – and to natural spaces in their own neighborhoods.
The USDA Forest Service Chief’s Honor Awards recognize exemplary achievements in meeting specific long-term outcomes, concrete objectives, and performance measures associated with strategic goals and the Agency’s mission.
The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland. These management units comprise 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employ approximately 3,550 employees.