Q&A About the Youth Conservation Council

What is the Youth Conservation Council?
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) created the Youth Conservation Council to provide a forum for dialog among a diverse group of conservation-minded youth about ways to protect, promote and enhance outdoor recreation and use of Michigan's natural resources. It is a way to get young people talking about conservation and the outdoors, and to share their input and perspective with the NRC and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

How many members will be on the council?
The NRC called for the creation of a council with 18-25 members.

What is expected of council members?
Members of the council will be expected to attend scheduled meetings. These meeting will include presentation of background information, and small and large group discussions. The council has developed a presence on social media, and members are expected to support this effort by submitting posts for Facebook, Instagram and a blog site. Members are also required to attend a meeting of the Natural Resources Commission and get involved in a community project to encourage outdoor participation.

How often will the council meet?
Youth Conservation Council members will be expected to participate in four meetings each year. At least two of the meetings will be offered as weekend training sessions at a conference facility; other meetings will be shorter, with possible attendance through teleconferencing and/or Web-based applications.

Does someone need to hunt and fish to be a member?
No, the NRC made it clear that they are looking for a cross-section of youth that can provide input on all aspects of outdoor recreation and involvement, including hunting, fishing, paddle sports, hiking, birding and outdoor trail use.

What will it cost to participate in the meetings?
Some cost to travel to meetings may be involved. The DNR is seeking funding from outside groups to provide scholarship support for facility, meal and materials costs. We will continue to search for ways to keep costs of participation at a minimum.

What topics will be covered?
Discussions will range across the spectrum of outdoor recreation topics – for example, local and state parks, mentoring programs, access to lands for recreational purposes, and increasing participation in hunting and fishing. The idea is to provide information on a number of outdoor recreation issues and let the council decide its primary interest.

How many years can someone be on the council?
No person may serve more than four years on the council. During the first year, half of the members will sit on the council for one year with the opportunity to apply for a second two-year term. The other half will be selected to sit on the council for two years with the opportunity to apply for a second two-year term. After that, all selections will be for two years.

Can parents attend?
Parents are welcome to travel with council members, but will not be allowed to attend the meetings. The discussions and activities will be designed to be coordinated among the young people. We hope to provide some suggested activities for parents while the youth are in the sessions.

Who can I contact for more information?
If you have any questions, please call Ray Rustem at 517-284-6070 email him at rustemr@michigan.gov.