Hey, kids 14 to 24, would you like to get experience working on a youth council for conservation projects in the Kansas City metro region? How about free pizza? Then you should reserve July 18 from 6-8 p.m. for an informational meeting at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Missouri.

The Heartland Conservation Alliance is looking for a number of youths who are passionate about protecting natural areas to serve on the youth council. The council will meet for two hours in the first month of each quarter. There are also social meetings and outdoor recreational opportunities and you may choose to represent the youth council at other environmental professional events and meetings.

At the meetings you will become educated, discuss and strategize to conserve and protect Kansas City natural areas. 

The mission is to give youth a voice in conservation of natural areas; to work alongside Heartland Conservation Alliance Work Groups and Partners; to become leaders in the community and to take action to protect natural areas in KC. The deadline to apply is Aug. 8.

I recommend that you attend the informational meeting where you will likely be able to get the form in hand. 

They do limit the number of youths on the council, so it is competitive and they will be looking for youths that demonstrate a commitment and passion for the work. If you are at all interested in helping yourself in self-promotion to advance your career opportunities, then this chance is a no-brainer. You have to go for it. Just being on the council will earn you credibility and help with your resume. Not only that, it should be fun and personally rewarding.

The objectives of the council are to help youth become environmentally educated with a fundamental knowledge of conserving and protecting natural areas along with relevant issues; to engage in projects to make a difference within the community; to take action to protect and conserve natural areas within Kansas City; to gain leadership development, valuable connections, and interest in the conservation of natural areas; and to obtain exposure to environmental careers, organizations, and programs. This is networking.

The information given to me also states that the youth council will also have an environmental advocacy factor that will promote environmental career exploration for the members through possible internships and will expose the members to environmental organizations and programs.

I don’t see any way that any youth with an interest in a career in natural resources could pass up on this opportunity. The biggest challenge may be convincing them that even though you do not live in the immediate KC area that you do live in the metro region and that they need you on the youth council.

Check out the form online in which there are 10 basic questions to answer which become your opportunity to sell yourself. Just the networking opportunities are awesome if you get selected for the youth council. Good luck and enjoy the free pizza.

Matt Nowak is a retired natural resources specialist and lives in Lansing.