Forest Service’s PSW Recognizes Generation Green Interns

  • By Lily Ramos Nieves, Outreach, Recruitment and Workforce Diversity Specialist, Pacific Southwest Regional Office
Youth Forest Service interns pose on stage with certificates. A young female addresses a room behind a podium while a panel of peers sits nearby. Youth Forest Service interns pose on stage with certificates.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region’s Outreach, Recruitment and Workforce Diversity (OR&WD) celebrated its interns and partnerships at multiple events. The program includes the California Consortium (Northern, Central, and Southern California Consortium), the R5 Mentoring Program and the Recruitment Team. The program supports a Generation Green program, which focuses on environmental education, outreach and recruitment, kindergarten through employment. Overall, the program serves as a bridge between the agency and underserved communities with a focus on recruiting talented and diverse applicants.

On Sept. 11, 2019, a Generation Green youth panel, which included nine youth from throughout California and one parent representative, presented to the Regional Leadership Team of the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest (also known as R5) region in Sacramento, California. The young men and women shared their personal experiences with the Generation Green program and the Blue Waters Program. They also expressed their appreciation for program staff and outlined the many benefits of the program; including gaining a connection to the land, mentors, and a path to careers.

Christian Garcia, a graduate of Chico State in Environmental Science, stated, “After eight seasons as temporary employee and [Northern California Consortium] intern, my goal is to gain a permanent position with the Forest Service.”

Melissa Gomez, who worked on a [Central California Consortium] Generation Green Crew on the Sequoia National Forest, shared, “Generation Green has opened my eyes to opportunities I never knew existed. I gained many skills. I’m grateful to have used my earnings to fund my college tuition.”

Tinopheonix Torres, a [Southern California Consortium] Generation Green Coordinator and member of the Apache Tribe, said, “I enjoy giving opportunities to youth from my community. Soon I’ll start my new job as a firefighter and it’s exciting.”

Tino Torres, Tinopheonix’s father, stated, “Three of my sons have participated in the program. As Indigenous Peoples, it’s amazing to see them pursue outdoor careers and to be so connected to the land.”

The presenters were well received by the RLT. The program was recognized for serving as a strong bridge between the agency and underserved communities. Randy Moore, Regional Forester, expressed his appreciation for the entire panel and the program overall. He encouraged everyone involved to continue the good work.

The OR&WD program also hosted multiple award ceremonies this past August to recognize interns and partnerships. The 23rd annual Intern Award Ceremony in Clovis, California, highlighted interns throughout the region and major partnerships, including the Water Resource Institute Program, Mobilize Green and more. The NCC held three award ceremonies in August to celebrate local interns from Redding, Willows and Sacramento, California, who participated in the Generation Green Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), the GG California State Fair Leadership Program and the State Office Internship Program. In Arcadia, California, the SCC celebrated the Generation Green leadership program with a luncheon in August and will have an awards banquet in October. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Generation Green program also held an awards ceremony to celebrate students from the Lake Tahoe area. Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester, attended three events. He thanked the interns for their valuable contributions and encouraged them to choose a career doing what they enjoy.

James Oftedal, OR&WD Program Manager, states, “Our youths’ testimonials motivate us to continue our work to benefit both the agency and the community. The youth show resilience, leadership, and respect for the land. We are proud of them and we know that they’re our future agency leaders.”