The Bureau of Reclamation continues to engage children in new educational activities and programs.
In 2013, the PN Region organized and co-sponsored several events for young people ages 5 to 18. Our goal is to engage, educate, and employ youth, which supports the Secretary’s youth initiative.
Connecting with Young People
In April, the PN Regional Office coordinated a combined Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and Let’s Move Outside event. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day exposes girls and boys to what a parent does during the workday. It also shows them the value of their education and helps them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life.
Let’s Move is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.
The region co-sponsored six Catch a Special Thrill (C.A.S.T.) events which were held in June in Yakima, WA; July in Prineville, OR; and Burley, ID. In August, another two events were held, one in Moses Lake, WA; and one in Emmett, ID; and the last one was in September in Gaston, OR. We had about 158 kids who participated.
C.A.S.T. offers disabled and disadvantaged children the opportunity to enjoy a day of fishing on the water. For many of the participants, it is their first fishing experience.
Throughout the year, Reclamation’s mascot, Otto Otter was engaged in children activities all over the region. Otto Otter Canal Safety Program is a water safety program delivered to over 30,000 first, second, third and fourth graders in the PN Region city schools, county fairs, parades, and other special events. The program teaches children to be safe around canals, ditches, and other water sources.
Reclamation is a partner in education with Horizon Elementary School through a “Lunch Buddy” program. Fifty-four employees volunteered as mentors to students in grades 1-6. The purpose of this mentoring program is to build self-confidence and self-esteem of the children involved in the program. The mentors met with the students once a month followed with a picnic at the end of the school year.
The PN Region also participated in the University of Idaho Women in Math & Science Day, Sawtooth Salmon Festival, school tours at Grand Coulee Dam, the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, and the annual Salmon Idaho Kids Fish Fair and Fishing Derby.
The University of Idaho Women in Math & Science Day offers a unique experience for young girls to learn from successful women and realize that scientific opportunities are available in their future.
The Sawtooth Salmon Festival was held in Stanley, ID. It is an educational event that celebrates the return of the salmon from the Pacific Ocean to Salmon River tributaries. Kids learn about the remarkable salmon and steelhead, and their amazing 900-mile journey through presentations and hands-on activities. Over 200 kids participated in the event.
Grand Coulee sponsored school tours at Grand Coulee Dam for nearly 1100 students. The tour guides shared technological, historical, and geological facts about the Dam.
The Wenatchee River Salmon Festival is held annually at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery in Leavenworth, Washington. The festival is a four-day kaleidoscope of natural resource educational events that celebrates the return of salmon to the Wenatchee River. Reclamation employees present “Macro-invertebrates Mayhem and Watershed Detectives” educational programs at the event. Over 500 kids participated in the two activities.
The annual Salmon Idaho Kids Fish Fair and Fishing Derby had 82 youth who registered for the event. During this event, kids learn about fishing and spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Young People Working for Reclamation
At the end of 2013, the PN Region had 11 students employed in various occupations around the region. Also, through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant, the PN Region worked with the Student Conservation Association and other partners to have two students work at Catherine Creek in Oregon during the summer with a surveying crew. They were part of a federal program called the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps whose goal is to provide meaningful employment opportunities to young Americans to protect, restore, and enhance our nation’s great outdoors.
In addition, the PN Region partnered with tribal organizations to engage and employ youth.
Reclamation conducted a 2-day training class as part of the Native American Outreach Initiative which is designed to deliver USAJobs training to six tribes in the PN Region. Nearly 150 tribal staff and members have taken the training.
Throughout 2013, the PN Region served thousands of children and youth. We are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2014. Let’s continue to make a difference!