The Corps Network Participates Public Lands Summit

 



Photo of Glacier National Park 
via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

The Corps Network, along with member organizations Student Conservation Association, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps North Bay, Montana Conservation Corps, American Youth Works, and Southwest Conservation Corps, participated in a national summit with the Public Lands Service Coalition concerning the implementation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps. 

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have pushed to include more youth in plans for our nation’s public lands, and this summit was a discussion between youth corps from across the country and the land management agencies that oversee the public lands. Agency staff from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Corporation for National and Community Service met with corps staff to plan how best to get our nation’s youth into the outdoors. 

For more information on the PLCS or the meeting, please contact
 Mary Ellen Ardouny at The Corps Network. 

Vice President Joe Biden Visits Coconino Rural Environment Corps at Grand Canyon


 

This article was originally published in the Coconino Rural Environment Corps’ Newsletter.

Recently Vice President Joe Biden visited Grand Canyon National Park as part of a tour designed to highlight the effectiveness of projects within the National Park system funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Vice President spoke at Hopi Point on the Canyon’s South Rim to a small crowd of elected officials, Park Service staff and CREC’s eight-person summer Grand Canyon crew. Mr. Biden referred to Grand Canyon as “a cathedral” and spoke about how the Recovery Act not only helped to create jobs in the Park and to address backlogged maintenance needs, but also represented an investment in our nation’s sacred places for the benefit of future generations. He described the task as one of maintaining access while minimizing impacts saying that the goal is to ensure that all people can experience parks while leaving behind an ever smaller footprint.

After the speech, Mr. Biden took time to recognize the CREC crew for their hard work in rebuilding the South Kaibab Trail – a Recovery funded project. The Vice President described AmeriCorps as “one of the best things President Clinton ever did,” and recognized the crew’s dedication by saying, “Your generation is volunteering in greater numbers than at any point in American History!”

 

Wearing a CREC hat and looking much like a Corpsmember himself, Mr. Biden then took individual pictures with each member of the crew as well as a group photo. For the crew, the Vice President’s visit was a monumental way to end the summer season. His visit occurred on the very last day of the crew’s three month hitch at Grand Canyon.

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps Staff Recognized as Hero

 

San Gabriel Valley (CA) Conservation Corps Supervisors manage work crews beautifying Whittier Narrows or reinforcing isolated hillsides prone to flash floods in the San Gabriel Mountains. They also receive training in First Aid and CPR. Andrew Martinez put his training to good use this past spring and assisted a jogger who was in distress near their work area. Martinez, who is CPR certified, was able to help the man start breathing again and was recognized for his heroics by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina at the Board of Supervisors meeting this month. Read more in the Whittier Daily News.

Pennsylvania Conservation Corps Builds Wheelchair-Accessible Ropes Course

Pennsylvania Conservation Corps gives unemployed young people work on community service projects, and this week, helped build a wheelchair-accessible high ropes course at Bloomsburg University. For this year’s Signature Project, Pennsylvania Conservation Corps crews worked on the course, which is the first of its size in the Northeast United States. The work was done during three 10-hour days last week. "They accomplished double of what I thought they would," said Brett Simpson, executive director of Quest and the Corporate Institute at the university. The university received a $10,000 grant from the Degenstein Foundation for the project. Read more about this project in the Daily Item.

Wyoming Conservation Corps Takes a Step Back in Time


A crew of eight students from the Wyoming Conservation Corps is working on rebuilding the Mason-Lovell Ranch at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The students got a taste of being a homesteader/rancher at the turn of the century, installing a large corral at the ranch that had become dilapidated over the years and was eventually torn down. Though they used an auger and other power tools to help with the construction, the students were performing essentially the same work that Lovell did when he designed the original corrals and hand-dug holes for the railroad tie posts. “Our vision was for state and other agencies to use them to do construction projects,” Harvey said, adding that another purpose of the WCC was to peak students’ interests in resource management. “So the students would come to love the land and through science learn what the land needed.” 

Read more in the Lovell Chronicle.

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps Greens Program to Receive Recovery Funding

 

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps just got some green to go green. The Corps is receiving $98,122 from the Department of Labor to help promote green job training. "This is going to kind of round out our program," Executive  Director Daniel Oaxaca said.   "We  are already doing construction, so we figured why not teach them to do green construction?" With the money, the program will eventually expand its YouthBuild program from serving two dozen students to 35 students. And it will build the curriculum to include green construction techniques including solar panel installation and maintenance. Learn more in theSan Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Louisiana Green Corps Wins Sundance Award

 

This week, Sundance, the Independent Film Channel and Earthjustice announced that the Louisiana Green Corps won the top prize in a national short film competition in the "Spirit of Energy Efficiency" category.  Their rap video, Going Green, was created by Corpsmembers and filmmaker Julie Kumari Drapkin and features the Corpsmember rappers mixing rhymes about radiant barriers and door sweeps.

"I'm ecstatic," said Corpsmember Derek Taplet. "This started off as something to do to show how interested we are in what we were doing - weatherizing homes - and to mix our talent and what we learned." Huge congratulations to LA Green Corps for a job well done! Watch the full feature video, learn more at the Alliance for Affordable Energy website, and learn more about the contest at the Independent Film Channel's website.

270 California Conservation Corpsmembers Provide Logistical Support for California Wildfires

 


Members of the California Conservation Corps from across the state are responding to the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest and other wildfires throughout California. Currently there are 20 crews statewide -- 270 Corpsmembers -- assisting with logistical support at the fire camps. On the Station Fire, there are 12 CCC crews assigned from eight different locations: Camarillo, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Watsonville. Along with the Station Fire, CCC crews are also currently dispatched to the Morris Fire in Los Angeles County as well as fires in Mariposa and San Bernardino counties.

 

So far this year, the CCC has dispatched crews to 23 different fires, under the direction of CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service. Corpsmembers routinely work 12-to-16-hour days at the fire camps, unloading and distributing supplies, checking in and replacing broken tools, and washing and rolling fire hoses. For more information about the CCC, visit www.ccc.ca.gov.

 

 

Milwaukee Community Service Corps Makes a Splash with Rain Barrels

 


With the ever-present threat of draught and the increasing cost of water, residents throughout many Wisconsin communities are installing Corps-made rain barrels to conserve and cut the cost of maintaining their yards and gardens. Corpsmembers at the Milwaukee Community Service Corps build these barrels out of recycled soda syrup drums-keeping the plastic drums out of landfills and creating an innovative water conservation device. Through a partnership with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), the rain barrels are distributed for sale throughout Milwaukee through MMSD, area natural foods stores, and nature conservancies. Recently, the utility manager for the city of Burlington, WI began ordering the rain barrels for her community-selling out even before her first supply of barrels arrived. MMSD has sold over 11,000 barrels since the program began four years ago, and in that time, Corpsmembers have learned the assembly and conservation skills that have made this program such a success. Learn more about the program and read about the impact the barrels have had in Burlington.

President Roosevelt Did it Then, President Obama Can Do it Now

 

"I propose to create a Civilian Conservation Corps. . . . More important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work." --Franklin D. Roosevelt March 9, 1933

In his first 100 days, President Roosevelt approved several measures as part of his New Deal, and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in particular represented the new president's determination to create jobs and preserve Americans' sense of pride in their work. The CCC, also known as Roosevelt's tree army, was a second chance for thousands of unemployed young men (many of whom were in dire need of income, but also vocational and educational training).

From 1933-42, President Roosevelt's "CCC boys" dramatically improved the nation's public lands, while also receiving food, shelter, education and a precious $30-a-month stipend that literally saved many of their families from hunger in tough times. By the close of the program, there was hardly a state that had not benefited from the program, with millions of acres of federal and state land improvements, roads built, telephone lines strung and trees planted.

 

"People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem-they are the answer. We'll call on Americans to join an Energy Corps to conduct renewable energy and environmental cleanup projects in their neighborhoods." --Barack Obama July 2, 2008

Like the legendary CCC of the '30s, today's Corps are a proven strategy for giving young men and women the chance to change their communities, their own lives and those of their families through service. Carrying forward the CCC's legacy, modern Corps are often a lifeline to young people who are low-income, out-of-school, out-of-work, and looking for a second chance. But more than that, Corps are also a place for all young people to channel a drive to serve, strive toward their potential, and do meaningful work that directly impacts their communities.

If the generation that filled the ranks of the CCC were to be called the greatest generation, today's modern Corpsmembers prove that still greater things lie ahead. Unlike few before them, America's young adults are compelled to serve and motivated to meet the profound challenges of their day - namely, climate change.

Modern Service and Conservation Corps are a concrete example of the solution-driven American ethic of service President-elect Obama spoke of so eloquently.

During the campaign, President-elect Obama committed to establishing a Clean Energy Corps that would, "promote energy independence through efforts like weatherization, renewable energy projects and educational outreach...and to clean up polluted land and water, plant trees, and work for the environmental health of our nation's natural areas." He also proposed the creation of a Green Jobs Corps "for disconnected and disadvantaged youth... to provide participants with service opportunities to improve energy conservation and efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing practical experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment."

Service and Conservation Corps across the nation are already engaged in a wide variety of energy service and job training activities. For example, the Ohio Civilian Conservation Corps at Quilter, housed in a Community Action Agency, builds professionals through service: Corpsmembers join the CAA weatherization team after they have gained experience through service and achieved related certification.

In addition, Service and Conservation Corps are providing viable solutions to other national concerns, such as our decaying transportation and infrastructure systems, the high school drop-out crisis, and youth incarceration. Each day, Corpsmembers also combat climate change through their conservation efforts on public lands.

Across the nation, Corps stand ready to provide solutions to pressing problems and respond to national needs.

Please contact The Corps Network's Director of Government Relations, Mary Ellen Ardouny, for more details at 202.737.6272 ormardouny@corpsnetwork.org.

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