This is not just about your Planet, or about your country, your state, your city, your community, or your street; it’s about your history and what you are going to do about it. The protection of our nations history is something that strengthens us in every aspect, grand and local. The preservation movement allows us to generate jobs, build progressively sustainable cities, inspire long-term support and aid for locals, but more importantly it allows for the promotion of a deeper understanding for the significance of historical sites that represent our nations culture, heritage, and evolution so that they will continue to exist and grow for future generations.But…What happens when current preservationists and their efforts need to not only pass along our history through the tangible buildings they saved but also through the next generation of preservationists? Major problems facing preservationist communities is reaching out to new audiences and being able to expand public awareness of the benefits of preservation. Therefore, it is crucial we take the necessary steps and create proactive plans regarding what the future of historic preservation will look like in the years to come. How the next generations of historic preservationists are cultivated through education, proper information, and how to take action will have a profound impact on the worlds preservationist efforts.In today’s youth, it is increasingly obvious that there are disturbing gaps in general, national, and local historical knowledge and that there is an inability to comprehend the relevance of history as it relates to their lives today.So what do we do, can we educate our youth so that they can protect their history? Can we do it while keeping them interested? Yes. Yes.We harness our efforts into programs that offer constant opportunities for our youth to learn about this nations lands and this country’s cultural heritage. By engaging in authentic hands on experiences with resources that reveal vast amounts of historical context such as structures related to historic figures, or places where significant events occurred, or other sites where the past is able to connect to the present, our youth will be able to instill a sense of association to our history.Historic preservationists often feel that they must conserve history, heritage and culture in whatever form it maintains; more often than not, this is in a building of significance, however, occasionally, it takes form in a bridge, or 33,000 square acres of land, but in this instance, it takes the form of our current youth. Our youth is who will soon be in control of the preservation of our nation and its story. Historic preservationists are that essential link needed in connecting the communities of our nation to the benefits of historic preservation. By providing learning opportunities, enthusiasts can shape students’ knowledge and ideas about history and the importance of preservation and create a sturdy foundation that they will carry for their lifetime; a foundation that will show how our nation evolved even with constant human, cultural, and natural changes occurring.There are always ways to encourage involvement and engage our youth that will eventually comprise the preservation workforce in the future. By giving the next generation a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them that created the fabric of our nation we can continue to safeguard out past through its physical remains. Such engagement begins through partnerships with local schools, clubs, organizations, programs, work services, and through courses added to school curriculum.The U.S. Department of Interior offers Historic/Cultural Preservation and Service Learning Programs where our youth are able to fully submerse themselves in the understanding of our nations history, how we got where we are today and what we can do to protect it. Through increased public support and visibility, students become a type of ambassador for history and preservation in their schools, homes, and their communities. By historic preservation organizations partnering with schools and other groups it is vital to begin engaging our future leaders with knowledge in Main Street revitalization projects, the benefits of re-using existing resources in the built environment to decrease impact on undisturbed land, the incorporation of preservation and evolving technology to help us truly assess and understand the value of historic resources, and finally in what progress truly encompasses in the preservation community. It is fundamental that preservationists remain innovative and continuously focus on new ideas and the future because our nation, society, people, cultures, and values are constantly evolving.Historic preservationists do not impede on this country’s progress but rather use historic resources to benefit our people through the positive economic, cultural, environmental, and educational returns. We are all apart of a broader conservation movement that extends far beyond the built environment and it is the job of current efforts to create a better understanding and consensus for future generations around the true meaning of preservation as a discipline and that there is no reason for conservation to ever reach a standstill.So, to the new generation of volunteers and to the future preservation enthusiasts, this is your country, your history; will you preserve it?
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