The Secretary of the Interior recently made a stop in Billings, Mont., as part of her three-day visit to the Treasure State.

NBC News reported that Secretary Sally Jewell has plans for the great outdoors, which are a big part of Montana, and wants to encourage youth to re-engage with nature. Secretary Jewell says, from her experience as an executive with REI, parks drive economic activity.

“There’s a huge generation coming up behind right now that is so important to the future of our country and our economic prosperity and opportunity,” Jewell said. “Yet, we have a whole generation, a millennial generation of kids coming up behind that are more disconnected from nature than generations before them.”

Secretary Jewell’s youth initiative will expand opportunities for kids to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. The Montana Audubon Conservation Center offers programs, like field trips, for Pre-K to college students, to engage youth and families.

“So what we try to do is bring nature right here,” said Heather Bilden, the Audubon Center’s education director. “We think of ourselves as an oasis in the city. We find with kids in particular, being outdoors stimulates their natural curiosity. So they ask the best questions, things I don’t even know the answer to a lot of the time and we have to go discover it together. So it’s a way for their own desire to learn to be sparked just by what they’re seeing and doing.”

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