Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell spoke at the 2013 Ducks Unlimited National Convention in Portland, Ore., last month on the importance of wetlands conservation and educating and involving our youth to ensure not only a strong future for waterfowl, but also a healthy planet.
With more than 40 years of private industry experience ranging from General Electric and Mobil Oil to the banking industry and REI, Secretary Jewell lends a unique view and unrivaled expertise to her new position in the administration.
Jewell said healthy water and land support a healthy economy. Outdoor recreation, including activities such as hunting and fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching and picnicking, lends more than $650 billion to the economy and supports more than 6.1 million jobs.
“[Ducks Unlimited] bring a very powerful voice as citizens, and I ask you to get engaged, work with elected officials to help them understand that conservation is about jobs,” Jewell said. “It is thoughtful management of the landscape. It is about habitat. And most importantly, it is about delivering a planet to our descendants, to the people that we are borrowing this planet from, and the critters we are borrowing this planet from, so that they are here for many years to come.”
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children spend less than 30 minutes a week in unstructured, outdoor activities. The secretary said this type of play builds confidence, creativity and conflict-resolution skills while linking children to the outdoors and developing within them a sense of place. She urged groups like Ducks Unlimited to focus on bringing young members into the organization and connecting them with the outdoors.
“I can’t do [this] alone; I need your partnership,” Jewell said. “I appreciate your support. You are volunteers who make an enormous difference, and our country – our continent – benefits from the great stewardship that you provide. I’m going to be a partner in this effort and look forward to working with Ducks Unlimited.”
Watch the secretary’s full convention speech on the Ducks Unlimited YouTube page