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Contact: Adrienne Jenkins, 304-465-2634
Glen Jean ,WV –Becka Lee, (Eastern Kentucky University, B.A. in Anthropology), will help prepare New River Gorge National River for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary in 2016. She is one of 70 energetic, young Centennial Volunteer Ambassador interns recently selected to spend the next year connecting local communities to parks through volunteer group service opportunities.
She will be working with the park's volunteer coordinator, Adrienne Jenkins, to expand partnerships in local communities that can support volunteer service projects. One centennial project will be assisting the park in updating and implementing an adopt-a-trail program for New River Gorge National River set to launch in 2016. This program will connect local communities to their national park's trails. "I am excited to get to take part in building this program that, I hope, will connect the local communities to their parks and the park staff," said Becka Lee.
"The National Park Service's Centennial celebration will focus as much on our future as on our past," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We are excited that young people, including our Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors, are stepping up as the next generation of conservation leaders. I know this opportunity will enable them to form lasting connections to national parks and the natural world. I also know that their contagious passion will inspire many others to do the same."
The Volunteer Ambassador Program is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and supports the Department of the Interior's Play, Learn, Serve, Work Youth Initiative to expand educational, volunteer, and career opportunities for millions of youth and veterans on the nation's public lands.
"Volunteering has given me the unique opportunity to do something simply because I want to do it," said Becka Lee. "I enjoy volunteering in the parks because I have learned new skills and have met a variety of people, all while working together for the common good. National parks provide unbelievable opportunities for people to connect with the natural beauty of the world, reflect on the history of our nation, and to connect with their communities."
SCA President and CEO Jaime Berman Matyas notes that in addition to its role in the Centennial, the volunteer ambassador program is an important part of SCA's leadership development curriculum. "Transformative experiences like these yield crucial leadership skills and life lessons that empower these young people for lifelong success," Matyas said. "These service opportunities are also potent career pathways and, together, SCA and NPS are creating a workforce for the second century of national parks."
To learn more about the efforts of the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors visit nps100sca.wordpress.com.