On June 22nd, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign.
The Secretary, joined by the First Lady of Virginia Anne Holton, helped the groups remove nonnative plants that can threaten rare plants in the Big Meadows Swamp. “Shenandoah National Park is the perfect place to help kick off President Obama’s “United We Serve” campaign because the young people and volunteers here are proof that public service can make a lasting impact in our communities and on our treasured landscapes,” the Secretary said.
Groups participating with him at the cleanup near Skyline Drive included Volunteers-in-the-Parks, the Shenandoah National Park Association, Student Conservation Association, Youth Conservation Corps, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and Shenandoah National Park Trust.
Secretary Salazar is hoping to inspire others to volunteer in their communities and help lay the foundation for economic growth. “In some ways the students here today are following in the footsteps of the young people who worked in Shenandoah during the 1930s as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps,” Salazar noted. “President Obama and I believe that in the current economic climate, it is more important than ever that we invest in opportunities for young people and expand our national youth service initiatives.” Salazar was particularly inspired by the volunteer spirit of the youth groups, some of whom will go on to become Park Rangers and protect our treasured landscapes.