Courtesy Department of the Interior
This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell met the Pope, kicked off the Shinnecock Nation Solarthon and partnered with North Face to award $25k to a tribal Youth Leader

Big Week for Sec. Jewell - Meets Pope, $25,000 for a Native Youth Leader and a Tribal Solarthon

Vincent Schilling

This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell managed to meet the Pope and discuss climate change, pay a visit to the Shinnecock Nation in New York on Thursday, October 1 to kick off their Tribal Solarthon and on Tuesday, September 29th, Jewell announced a partnership with The North Face aimed at inspiring the next generation of conservation stewards.

As part of the partnership, North Face donated $25,000 to young conservation leaders, one of whom was Anthony Ciocco of the Mvskoke tribe, who is also a White House recognized Champion for Change.

Anthony Ciocco of the Mvskoke tribe, who is also a White House recognized Champion for Change. was awarded $25,000 from the North Face Company in partnership with the DOI.   Photo:

Papal Visit

Secretary Jewell welcomed Pope Francis to Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia on September 26th. The visit to America’s birthplace marked the concluding days of the Pope’s historic first visit to the United States.

During the Papal visit, Sec. Jewell discussed the role immigration has played in our country’s relation to the DOI,  and how climate change has made it harder for the Department of the Interior to protect the country’s lands overseen and managed by the federal government.

North Face and DOI Unveil Never Stop Premiere Global Campaign Partnership

On September 29th, the North Face Corporation, in partnership with the Department of the Interior, announced its first global brand campaign, “Never Stop,” which features footage collected from around the world.

As part of the campaign, The North Face company announced a continuing partnership with the Department of the Interior and the 21CSC through a $100,000 donation to four conservation corps organizations will each receive $25,000: Student Conservation Association, American YouthWorks, Conservation Legacy and Team Rubicon.

An Interior Department press release said the nominees were selected from organizations which are caring for public lands in communities across the country. The organizations were recognized for their efforts in inviting others to participate in active outdoor stewardship.

Anthony “Chako” Ciocco, who leads the Ancestral Lands program on the Navajo Nation under Conservation Legacy’s Southwest Conservation and who works with Navajo youth work to rebuild damaged ecosystems, was awarded $25,000 by The North Face as part of the $100,000 awarded in totality.

Tribal Solarthon

According to a Department of the Interior release, Jewell paid a visit to the Shinnecock Nation in New York on Thursday, October 1 to kick off the Tribal Solarthon as part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to helping build clean energy and strong economies in Indian Country.

GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, is partnering with the Shinnecock Nation to bring solar power to this northeastern coastal community, which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy three years ago.

“Grid Alternatives’ partnership with the Shinnecock Nation and other tribal communities serves as a model for helping to build a sustainable energy future and solar technology workforce in Indian Country,” Secretary Jewell said in the release.

“This partnership shows how the tribal, federal and private sectors can work together to remove barriers to economic development, advance tribal self-determination and add clean energy to the grid.”

Secretary Jewell tried her hand at wiring of solar panels in New York   Courtesy Photo: Department of Interior

Tribal solar development harnesses renewable resources on tribal lands as a reliable and cost-effective way to provide jobs and power homes, businesses and economies. It also aligns with President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the deployment of renewable energy technologies and community resilience measures.

Last week, Secretary Jewell participated in the National Tribal Energy Summit to discuss progress on energy projects and clean energy jobs in Indian Country. The Summit was a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development and the National Congress of State Legislatures with participation from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce, among others. Its purpose was to further tribal energy investment and economic development across Indian Country.

Jewell with Tribal Chairman Bryan Polite (left) and GRID Alternatives VP of Government Relations Stan Greschner (right)   Courtesy Photo: Department of the Interior

Last year, Secretary Jewell approved the 200-megawatt Moapa Solar Energy Center Project on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, located about 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The project – the second approved Moapa solar installation – will provide enough energy to power about 60,000 homes and support an estimated 500 jobs during peak constriction along with 10 permanent positions.

For a full overview of the week with Secretary Jewell and the Department of the interior you may watch the video here.

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