Take Pride in America

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Take Pride in America
Agency overview
Formed 1985
Annual budget $126 mm (All Office of Secretary programmatic activities)[1]
Agency executive
  • Lisa Young, Acting Executive Director
Parent agency United States Department of the Interior
Website archive of takepride.gov

Take Pride in America is a United States Department of the Interior partnership program that encourages individuals, civic groups, corporations and others to volunteer in caring for the public lands that it controls. The program's recent stated goal has been to instill in U.S. citizens an active sense of ownership and responsibility for natural, cultural, and historic resources.[2] The program has been pursued since 1985 with varying levels of commitment, depending on funding levels and the commitment of the Department of the Interior under different federal administrations. As of 2015, the Take Pride in America Act is still used as the legal basis for certain Department of the Interior programs,[3] the program is not being promoted.


The program's primary activity in recent times has been to provide volunteer opportunities nationwide, including spending the summer as a tour guide at a national park or working on a wildlife habitat restoration project. Projects can also be created in local communities.


In 1985 United States Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel identified a growing problem with vandalism and looting of historical artifacts on public lands[4][5] and developed Take Pride in America to promote the need to take care of public lands.[6] Convervation groups had previously criticized Hodel and the Reagan Administration for prioritizing the exploitation of Federal lands for mining and energy extraction rather than for wildlife and recreation.[6] Hodel's vision for Take Pride in America was also criticized for being a substitute for appropriate federal spending on public lands and outdoor recreation.[7] The George Wright Forum, the publication of the George Wright Society, criticized the Bush administration for using Take Pride in America to replace full-time National Park Service staff with unpaid volunteers.[8]

The Federal Take Pride in America programs were defunded in the early 1990s, but the Take Pride in America Act (Title XI of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-628, November 28, 1990), 16 U.S.C. § 4601, remained unrepealed.[9] In 1997, President Clinton called for an increase in volunteer service in the U.S. but no funds were allocated specifically for service on public lands.

Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton re-launched Take Pride in America in April 2003[10] under the USA Freedom Corps, a council for service opportunities.[11][12][13] As with the Reagan Administration, the George W. Bush Administration and Secretary Norton were being criticized for expanding the exploitation of Federal lands for mining and energy.[14][15] The Boy Scouts of America had been involved in the Take Pride in America program since the mid-1980s.[16] While the TPIA program was in abeyance in the 1990s, the BSA developed their Service to America program, with a commitment to provide 200 million hours of service by youth members by the end of the year 2000; Service to America provided service projects in conjunction with the National Park Service[17] and the program was rolled into the relaunch of Take Pride in America[17] to give the relaunch an immediate pool of volunteers.

Take Pride Events[edit]

Take Pride has organized volunteer tours[18] and other events under the "Take Pride in America" title.

Marti Allbright, Gail Norton, and Clint Eastwood celebrate with Carmel River School students as the school was designated the first Take Pride in America school.

The Take Pride Schools program was launched in the fall of 2005 to introduce schoolchildren to volunteerism and to stimulate interest in and stewardship of America's public lands.[19] To be designated as a Take Pride School, a school must commit to participating in two Take Pride volunteer events each year benefiting public lands. Participation can be by an entire school, a class, or even an after-school club. Projects must be on public lands (which can include public school properties), promote Take Pride's message, and benefit public use of public land.[20]


Take Pride in America has given different awards to recognize outstanding volunteer efforts of the individuals and groups within the framework of Take Pride in America. No awards have been announced since Sally Jewell took office as Secretary of the Interior.[21]

  • National Awards for individuals or groups have been given annually in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.[2][22][23]
  • Hours of Service Awards are given to Individuals. The Secretarial Award is given to those who have donated more than 3,000 hours of service on public lands, and the Presidential Award to those donating more than 4,000 hours.
  • Special Awards are given by participating elected officials for outstanding volunteer projects and exceptional garden programs that promote the mission of Take Pride.

The Virginia's State Parks' Youth Conservation Corps received a "Take Pride In America" Best Youth Volunteer Program award in 2010.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Appendix, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012. Office of Management and Budget (U.S.). Feb 14, 2011. p. 679. ISBN 9780160873676. 
  2. ^ a b "Take Pride in America® Award Page". volunteer.gov. 
  3. ^ "View Grant Opportunity". grants.gov. March 16, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. This Cooperative Agreement is being entered into by the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to the authority vested in the Office of the Secretary under 16 U.S.C. 1723 (c) Public Land Corp as well as the Take Pride in America Act, 16 U.S.C. § 4601 et seq. 
  4. ^ Goodwin, Derek V. (December 7, 1986). "Raiders of the Sacred Sites". New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 22, 2015. In the complex war against career grave robbers, the Federal arsenal currently consists of two weapons, which are supposed to work in tandem. First is Take Pride in America, an educational program aimed at potential weekend hobbyists. 
  5. ^ King, Wayne (April 10, 1987). "Interior Department New Ad Drive; Call It A Fistful Of Leaves". New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 22, 2015. The new television spots, which are to begin airing nationwide next Wednesday, are part of the Interlor Department's Take Pride in America campaign, which was undertaken in 1985 to stop destruction of public lands by vandals. 
  6. ^ a b Trainor, Bernard E.; Kilborn, Peter T. (April 22, 1988). "Washington Talk; Briefing: Hodel Wins One". New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ Shabecoff, Philip (July 14, 1988). "Washington Talk; The Interior Department; Two Park Officials Under Inquiry, But What Did They Do Wrong?". New York Times. New York. Retrieved April 22, 2015. When the commission report was published in January 1987, it was greeted largely with indifference by the Administration. Last March, however, a Task Force on Outdoor Recreation of the White House Domestic Policy Council issued a report that was essentially a response to the commission's recommendations. The task force report proposed a series of strategies for outdoor recreation, starting with an expansion of the Take Pride in America program, an effort conceived by Mr. Hodel that relies heavily on advertising and public relations to persuade Americans to protect public lands. 
  8. ^ Wade, Bill (2005). "A New Tragedy for the Commons: The Threat of Privatization to National Parks (and Other Public Lands)". George Wright Forum. 22 (2). Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ "TPIA History". American Recreation Coalition. August 23, 2004. 
  10. ^ "Take Pride in America". Department of the Interior. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  11. ^ [1] Office of the Secretary, Department of the Interior series. "Take Pride in America Files". October 17th, 2006.
  12. ^ Kayne, Sheryl, ed. (April 1, 2011). Volunteer Vacations Across America: Immersion Travel USA. The Countryman Press. p. 345. 
  13. ^ [2] Take Pride in America Enhancing Public Lands Through Volunteerism. New Jersey Clean Communities.
  14. ^ Shnayerson, Michael (September 2003). "Sale of the Wild". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 22, 2015. Department of the Interior employees are horrified by how Secretary Gale Norton and her powerful deputy, J. Steven Griles, have allowed industry to exploit America’s wilderness. Probing stealthy bureaucratic maneuvers and Griles’s ties to coal, oil, and gas, the author finds a massive, irreversible landgrab. 
  15. ^ Larmer, Paul (April 3, 2006). "Norton Departs". Hill Country News. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Take Pride in America". Scouting (magazine). Boy Scouts of America. 74 (5): 14, 59. October 1986. Retrieved April 23, 2015. Because of drastic federal funds cutbacks, all around America countless precious national parks, forests, historic grounds, and monuments cry out for attention by [sic] concerned citizens. 
  17. ^ a b "U.S. Scouting Service Project: ServiceProject.org". U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. 
  18. ^ "Take Pride in America". American Recreation Coalition. August 23, 2004. 
  19. ^ Sledge, Janet H, ed. (December 1988). ERIC - Take Pride in America Educational Leader's Guide.,. ed.gov. 
  20. ^ Schlueter, Randy (May 5, 2006). "Beatrice Public Schools - Take Pride In America honors Beatrice Middle School 8th Grade Students". beatricepublicschools.org. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Washington Office (HQ) Newsroom". blm.gov. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  22. ^ American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (September 2011). "Three AAOS activities receive awards". aaos.org. 
  23. ^ "BLM Manager Selected as a Take Pride in America Winner". blm.gov. 
  24. ^ "Applicants Needed for New Service Program in Virginia State Parks" (Press release). Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. September 15, 2014.