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Verchick joins Obama in launching conservation initiative

Loyola press release - February 18, 2011

Robert Verchick, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law professor, joined President Barack Obama on Wednesday to celebrate the launching of his conservation initiative, “America’s Great Outdoors,” in a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House. Verchick served on an inter-agency AGO workgroup and was a contributing author of the report submitted to the President.

Verchick, an expert in environmental law who holds the Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar Chair in Environmental Law, returned to Loyola in January full-time after serving for twelve months as the deputy associate administrator of the Office of Policy with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Verchick is also the author of “Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World,” published by Harvard University Press in June 2010.

Last April, Obama established the AGO initiative at a White House conference in Washington to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda which would strengthen the connection between Americans and the outdoors.

During the summer, senior administration officials held 51 “listening sessions” and received more than 105,000 online comments, regarding approaches to protect U.S. lands and waters, ways to better connect Americans to the outdoors and strategies for local communities to protect and restore the places they love. The final report can viewed here.

"With this announcement, President Obama has sent a valentine to the nation's great outdoors. What makes this initiative special is that is not just about protecting important landscapes and ecosystems — although that's important. This initiative seeks to connect Americans with the outdoors and their outdoor heritage through education, public-private partnerships, and even job opportunities,” said Verchick.

“It defines the outdoors in the many diverse ways that real Americans see it — as neighborhood parks, urban farmer’s markets, fishing lakes, and, yes, as national forests and parks. Protecting the outdoors is enormously important to most Americans, regardless of political party, and you can produce large benefits for comparatively small investments.”

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888 or publaff@loyno.edu.