Mickey Hicks is spending the summer doing what he loves—working outside and learning about fish biology. Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region, Klamath Basin Area Office (KBAO) hired Mickey as a summer intern through the Klamath Tribes Summer Youth Employment Program. The program is funded through the Bureau of Reclamation but fully administered through the Tribe. The program, developed to provide more opportunities to Tribal youth, helped four high school students secure a job for their summer break.
Mickey, 17, is a junior at Klamath Union High School in Klamath Falls, OR. Mickey learned about the job with KBAO through his school guidance counselor and Native American education teacher. Mickey, a member of the Klamath Tribes who resides in Klamath Falls with his family, spoke about his experience so far: "On the first day of work, I went out with a biologist on a boat on Upper Klamath Lake. It was the first time I had been on a boat in my life and it was a good way to start working with Reclamation."
According to Alex Wilkens, a Fish Biologist at the KBAO and Mickey's mentor for the summer, Mickey has learned a great deal about fisheries techniques and the endangered fish that are culturally significant to the Klamath Tribes. Mickey will work with Reclamation for seven weeks on three field projects for the Klamath office to learn basic scientific techniques, fish identification and data entry. Mickey’s experience has been intensive. "A lot of what I've been doing is new for me. I've learned to launch and retrieve boats, about fish biology — and to be punctual," he said.
The Summer Youth Employment Program is just one of many opportunities for youth that supports President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative. The initiative is intended to establish a recreation and conservation ethic for the 21st century based on the priorities of American communities.
The program places a special emphasis on engaging youth from communities with historically lower participation rates with a goal to expand access to the outdoors for all young people and build the personal experiences that are the foundation of stewardship.
Released: August 31, 2011