December 08, 2010

ASU students chosen as State Park Youth Ambassadors

Posted: December 08, 2010

Students Kelly Alvidrez, Victor Vizcaino and Benjamin Watts (far right) with Renee Bahl, executive director of Arizona State Parks (second from right).

Three Arizona State University students have been selected by Arizona State Parks as State Park Youth Ambassadors.  All three students, Victor Vizcaino, Kelly Alvidrez and Benjamin Watts, are currently enrolled in the Parks & Recreation Management program at ASU.

Victor Vizcaino recently conducted field surveys in Kaibab National Forest on a research project with the City of Phoenix Parks Program.  “It is an honor to have been selected as a Youth Ambassador for Arizona State Parks because I get to represent my state, my university and the pride we share for the beauty of Arizona,” says Vizcaino.

Kelly Alvidrez is interested in environmental education and wants to teach others about the outdoors and how to use it in a sustainable manner.  “Through this appointment I hope to get young people excited about the parks and outdoor recreation. Also, I would like them to understand why we need to be stewards of our natural resources and how we can use them appropriately,” says Alvidrez.

Benjamin Watts enjoys exploring Arizona and its diverse assortment of natural resources. He believes getting people, especially youth, involved in the outdoor community is a crucial step in recognizing that we are a small part of a larger picture.  “Being selected has really reaffirmed my decision to change my major and get involved with the Parks and Recreation Management Program. I took a chance and it has changed my life,” says Watts.

Kathy Andereck, Director of the School of Community Resources and Development in the College of Public Programs, says she is thrilled that these students have been chosen.  “The students are reflective of the excellent education and mentoring provided by our faculty and the abundant opportunities available to Parks and Recreation Management majors. It also highlights the School’s philosophy and commitment toward community engagement and development of partnerships,” says Andereck.

The Youth Ambassador project is a cooperative effort between America's State Parks and the Outdoor Foundation's Outdoor Nation that encourages young adults to share their experiences with outdoor recreation. Each Youth Ambassador receives an Olympus camera and a 1-year Annual Pass to Arizona State Parks. They will document and share their experiences to the public using video, photos and blog entries that will posted on http://www.outdoornation.org.

“The Outdoor Foundation is pleased to partner with America’s State Parks to launch a nationwide Youth Ambassador program,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Outdoor Nation is a growing youth-led outdoor movement where young leaders are championing change in communities and on campuses across the country. Protecting America’s State Parks is one of the most important things our ‘Outsider’ community can do.”

Dana Berchman, Dana.Berchman@asu.edu
College of Public Programs