Youth Involvement - Forest Planning

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Youth Involvement    


Graphic: Nature ConnectionFrom 2016-2018, the GMUG partnered with the Western Slope Conservation Center and in cooperation with The Nature Connection, a GOCO-funded initiative in the Delta County School District, to initiate the Youth Outdoor Network

The Youth Outdoor Network continues today in Delta County and Olathe as a network of high school students interested in public lands. Whether it’s a field trip to learn how to paddle board, a field trip to see how the spruce beetle is affecting local forests, or a meeting where local natural resource professionals share career advice – the Network connects the dots for local youth.

Looking Back:

  • 25 meetings at the local high schools for school year 2016/2017
  • 107 students participated
  • 6 field trips, including riparian restoration on the Gunnison River, overnight canoe trip on the Gunnison River, a Forestry Day on the Grand Mesa, learning about NASA technology on the Grand Mesa, and a first annual celebration at Sweitzer Lake State Park.



In spring of 2017, the GMUG Forest Planning Team partnered with students of the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) program at Western State Colorado University (WSCU) to answer some of our most pressing questions regarding public engagement in land management planning.  As part of their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) course, students worked on exploring potential stakeholders, novel and pioneering scoping strategies, and ideas about how to better engage diverse populations and youth in the GMUG’s forest plan revision process. Using a variety of innovative research methods, including GIS mapping, student surveys, and interviews with stakeholders and other forests, the students compiled and presented their findings as their final class projects. The resources the class developed were useful and were considered as we formed our public outreach approaches for the planning process. We look forward to coordinating with the students of WSCU’s MEM program in the future on this and other planning efforts.

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