Dynamic Partnership Focuses on Indigenous Values and Youth Empowerment
Media Contact: Juan D. Martinez
Senior Program Manager at The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
Washington, DC, December 5, 2023 – Fresh Tracks, a program of The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the United States Department of the Interior, launching at the White House’s Tribal Nations Summit on December 5, 2023.
This new collaboration will allow the US Department of the Interior and Fresh Tracks to work together towards shared goals of creating, supporting, and expanding programming including youth conservation programs and projects, youth education programs, and youth employment and workforce development programs.
By recognizing both the disproportionate impacts of climate change on Tribal communities and Indigenous peoples and the wealth of Indigenous knowledge long used by Indigenous communities to achieve ecosystem balance and human prosperity, this partnership seeks to center Indigenous perspectives and youth voices, and to increase opportunities for the communities that Fresh Tracks has served since 2015.
“Public-private partnerships are essential to leveraging historic federal investments and will help quickly deploy resources to Indigenous communities. These opportunities don’t just address the unique challenges Indian Country faces, but also serve to empower the next generation of Indigenous leaders,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Today’s announcements reaffirm our commitment to ensuring Tribes have the support and resources they need to invest in their communities.”
Of the partnership, Senior Program Manager at The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, Juan Martinez, shared, “As a steward of the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, the Department of the Interior is an invaluable partner in expanding the impact of Fresh Tracks’ work. The youth in our networks aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow; they’re the leaders of today. They’re experts on their own communities and lived experiences, and they’re the people best positioned to build solutions.”
“We have long known that outdoor spaces are powerful places to break through siloes and cultural barriers, and to engage youth and young adults in critical civic leadership work. This partnership will allow us to further elevate youth voices and create more robust pathways for them to be at decision making tables and in rooms of opportunity. I’m grateful for the DOI’s partnership in this work, for all of the Aspen and DOI staff who have made this possible, and for our expansive communities of youth who have allowed us to build up to this moment.”
About Fresh Tracks:
Fresh Tracks is a community-led cross-cultural initiative rooted in the healing power of culture and the outdoors for civic leadership. Fresh Tracks uses the power of the outdoors as a safe and supportive platform for leadership development and civic engagement through a cross-cultural learning strategy that strengthens cultural competence and community cohesion for its participants ages 18-24 and their communities. Rooted in Indigenous values, Fresh Tracks is a program of The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions (AFCS). The mission of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions is to support community collaboration – including collective impact – that enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges.
About the Aspen Institute:
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.