San Bernardino National Forest Association Urban Conservation Corps Wins U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester's Honor Award

The Angeles and the San Bernardino National Forest (s) in partnership with the SBNFA Urban Conservation Corps and the U.S. Forest Service Southern California Consortium are the recipients of the Region 5 Regional Forester’s Honor Award. They are being presented with this award for their joint efforts in developing and implementing a Wilderness Spike Crew Project that trains corpsmembers from diverse, underrepresented communities from both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to conduct wilderness GPS monitoring, inventorying and restoration on National Forest System lands in Southern California. 

The existence of a wilderness crew of urban young adults comprised of Latinos, African Americans and Pacific Islander to help manage wilderness areas by collecting data and developing and collect data on the National Forest is rare and nontraditional. This project truly embraces the spirit of promoting diversity and civil rights on National Forest System lands in Southern California.

The Urban Conservation Corps would like to thank the many supporters that continue to help provide opportunities to underserve youth so they can become employable citizens, assets to their communities and the next generation of stewards of the land. On November 28, 2012 we will be attending the Honors Award at the Hyatt-Regency Sacramento. Attached is a picture from one of the weeks the crew was in the wilderness.

The UCC will like to Give Special Thanks to:

Elwood York, U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Office, Washington D.C
Jody Noiron, Forest Supervisor San Bernardino National Forest
Tom Contreras, Forest Supervisor Angeles National Forest
L’Tanga Watson, U.S. Forest Service, Angeles National Forest
Gabe Garcia, U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest
Larry Lawrence, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water
Fabian Garcia, U.S. Forest Service, Southern California Consortium
Gerry Lopez, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
Sarah Miggins, Southern California Mountains Foundation, Executive Director
The Wilderness Society

2012 Election Features Highest Youth Voter Turnout to Date, Brings Other Good News

On Tuesday, young voters proved the predictions and pundits wrong. Instead of turning out to vote in record lows, exit polls indicate that “voters from ages 18 to 29 represented 19 percent of all those who voted on Tuesday,” constituting their greatest share of the electorate to date. In 2008, young voters represented 18 percent of those Americans who voted.

Peter Levine, director of Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), was quoted by Youth Today as saying, “This voting bloc can no longer be an afterthought to any political party or campaign.”

For The Corps Network and National Service supporters, the 2012 Election also brought additional good news. We congratulate Representative Martin Heinrich of New Mexico on becoming the first AmeriCorps Alum elected to the U.S. Senate. We also express our congratulations to Stefanie Mach, an alumna of Americorps NCCC, who was elected to the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Finally, we would like to congratulate U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) on his re-election and U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono (HI) on her election to the U.S. Senate. In this current Congressional session, Senator Sherrod introduced The Youth Corps Act in the Senate, while Senator-Elect Hirono did so in the House of Representatives. If passed, the legislation would open up an additional funding stream for Service and Conservation Corps through the U.S. Department of Labor.

Passage of Prop 39 in California Creates Clean Energy Job Fund, Benefits Conservation Corps & YouthBuild

A California Conservation Corps Energy Smart Program Corpsmember uses an iPhone to complete an energy audit.

Voters agree to close corporate tax loophole and establish $1 billion fund. Half of new revenue will be used to make public buildings more energy efficient, while also supporting job training programs including Conservation Corps and YouthBuild.

On Tuesday California voters opted to close a corporate tax loophole and effectively canceled incentives for out-of-state companies to keep their facilities and jobs outside California. The loophole had allowed companies to avoid paying taxes. Now the new revenue that is generated will instead be used to establish a Clean Energy Job Creation Fund. Sixty percent of California voters approved the measure.

Prop 39 is also known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Phillip Bump of Grist explains that:

"As described in the proposition’s ballot language, money from the fund will be used to “create jobs in California improving energy efficiency and expanding clean energy generation” by focusing on retrofits to schools and other public buildings. Additional funds will go to job training programs and Property Assessed Clean Energy programs in public-private partnerships.

California’s direct-democracy proposition format is an often clunky, always piecemeal way of addressing problems. But in this case, at least, the system worked effectively: curbing a widely criticized loophole for the benefit of the state and dedicated investment in the sorts of green improvements that will continue to pay off for the state over the long run."

David Muraki, Director of the California Conservation Corps, said that the fund would "maximize energy savings and maximize jobs." He noted that this new initiative will be much like the American Recovery and Investment Act funded EnergySmart Job program, and will be likely to expand the number of jobs for Corpsmembers with the added bonus of it leading to a well-established career path for those Corpsmembers. The California Conservation Corps, YouthBuild, and local Corps were specifically referred to as conduits for implementing the programs in the ballot measure's language.

"It's pretty exciting for the California Conservation Corps, the local Corps, YouthBuild, and other organizations. Job training and education will be integrated and we have a compelling program model to build on. The EnergySmart program on an annual basis has created 260 jobs, 62 million kilowatt hours of electricity savings, and $5.2 million in energy cost savings. It's been incredibly successful" said Muraki.

A broader benefit of the new fund Muraki added, would be the continued facilitation of partnerships between programs that serve youth, labor unions, and educational institutions including technical and community colleges.

The EnergySmart Jobs program focuses on promoting energy efficiency in the realm of commercial refrigeration. Corpsmembers visit grocery stores and restaurants before and after energy retrofits and use iPhones to enter data that demonstrates the impact of energy and cost savings produced by the program. 

Muraki noted that the upcoming sale of carbon credits established by California's soon to be implemented cap-and-trade program would also be a big win for energy efficiency and clean energy industries throughout California, and we can also presume Corpsmembers— who are going to receive the training and education needed to fill positions with skilled labor in years to come.

Service and Conservation Corps Contributing to Relief Efforts After Hurricane Sandy


While The Corps Network is concerned and saddened by the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy throughout many areas of the East Coast, we are proud that some of our Corps are already helping to mobilize their Corpsmembers to respond and meet needs in their communities. 

In New York City, several Corps are already attempting to help improve conditions by volunteering, including the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and Green City Force. On their Facebook page, NYRP wrote: "We've been restoring parks and gardens in NYC's most underserved communities for nearly two decades - and our parks & gardens were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. But we're New Yorkers and this storm only makes us more determined to make NYC a cleaner & greener place to live. For those of us who are fortunate enough to still have our own homes and gardens intact... Sign-up to be a volunteer at www.nyrp.org/volunteer and we'll let you know when it's safe to be back in our parks. In the meantime, help our clean-up efforts at www.nyrp.org/donate."

Green City Force wrote a blog post and said "A few of us went down to the Red Hook Community Farm yesterday, and it has taken quite a hit. A lot of help is needed, and so we are making this a GCF service priority over the next few days." A Corps Staff member also spoke with staff from the Corps, and was pleased to hear that they have made contact with almost all Corpsmembers and were doing ok. Green City Force posted a photo from the farm, and seems to be in good spirits.

A Corps Network staff member also spoke to a staff member with the New Jersey Youth Corps of Camden / The Work Group, and heard that they were doing ok and seemed to escape terrible damage in their part of the state.

More Help on the Way from The Corps Network, FEMA, and AmeriCorps

Working with our partners at FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service, numerous other members of The Corps Network are deploying to New York City to help staff shelters. As it currently stands, 400 AmeriCorps members will deploy in the next week to help assist on projects at the shelters and beyond as needed in New York. Given the training of Corps to work independently, and their high levels of training and skill with volunteer management, they are a tremendous resource in times like these. More broadly, 877 AmeriCorps members are currently on the ground in six states, including 41 FEMACorps crews. An additional 900 members are on standby.

Several days ago Washington Conservation Corps wrote on their Facebook page that they "will deploy 40 AmeriCorps members and 8 WCC Crew Supervisors to assist the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Our teams will be travelling with tools onboard, including chainsaws and other equipment for clearing debris, placing sandbags, and tarping roofs. Corpsmembers will also be assisting in shelter operations, supply distribution, and damage assessments with FEMA staff. Food and lodging will be provided by various non-profit groups, churches and schools."

AmeriCorps St. Louis has already arrived in New York City, with many Corps scheduled to arrive over the weekend and the next few days. While the response will include AmeriCorps partners beyond The Corps Network, from our membership Washington Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (Taos), and Montana Conservation Corps are already set for departure. Several additional Corps may be mobilized as well in the coming days in addition to those members of FEMA Corps and AmeriCorps NCCC that will be assisting throughout affected areas.

Mario Colucci, a Regional Program Coordinator for Montana Conservation Corps who will be leading Montana's crew over a deployment of at least 30 days said: "This is an all hands on deck scenario and AmeriCorps members are uniquely suited to provide immediate assistance. They have a level of efficiency and skills that make them a great resource to bring stability and aid to the beleaguered people affected by Hurricane Sandy."

Colucci's thoughts about it being an "all hands on deck scenario" have been echoed by many, and we hope that our Corps will make as much of a difference as they are able.

You can follow updates from AmeriCorps on the National Service by clicking here.

[Video] Vermont Youth Conservation Corps Hosts "Freaky 5K" Race


Last weekend the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps held a fundraising event that was easy to appreciate from afar-- a "Freaky 5k Race!" Participants ran the race in costume, and characters and concepts including Scooby Doo, Batman, Ladybugs, Indiana Jones, Forrest Gump, Freddy Krueger, Yin & Yang, and an unfortunate chainsaw user all did their best to win glory. Can you guess who won the race?

You can find out by watching a really nice video of the race and event from Mt. Mansfield Community TV below. You can also see photos from the event in this gallery.  Congratulations to Vermont YCC for having such a cool and well executed idea!

The VYCC's Freaky 5K Race from Mt. Mansfield Community TV on Vimeo.

National Service in Action Photo Contest


From Our Partners at Voices for National Service

The months ahead are crucial in the fight to protect and promote national service.  The success of our movement hinges on our ability to highlight the impact of service work in communities all across the country. 

In order to best tell the story of national service, we need to use powerful images.  Afterall, everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words!

With this in mind, Save Service in America, a campaign led by Voices for National Service and ServiceNation, would like to announce the first ever “National Service in Action” Photo Contest.  If you are passionate about the promise of national service, send us a photo of valuable service work being done in your community.

The photographer that takes the best photo will be recognized at the 10th Annual Friends of National Service Awards Reception in Washington, D.C. on February 12, 2013.

Submitting a photo is easy - there are two ways you can submit a photo:

1). You can submit your photo directly through our website by clicking here. Please be sure to include: the name of the national service program, the state where the service is taking place, and your name and e-mail address.

2). E-mail nationalserviceinaction@gmail.com with the photo as an attachment or in the body of the message, and include the following in the subject line: the name of the national service program, the state where the service is taking place, and your name.

Check out more photo examples just like the one on the right.

Spread the word - In order to gather the best photos possible, we ask that you share information about this contest far and wide on your social media channels using the hashtag #ServiceInAction.  You can share our Facebook post promoting the contest by clicking here.

You can also use the following suggested Tweets:

• Submit a photo for the #ServiceInAction photo contest. Support #NationalService w/ RT! http://ow.ly/eCxPc

• Tell story of #ServiceInAction in your community by entering photo contest. Show support w/ RT http://ow.ly/eCxPc

Each month a screening committee will select a photo of the month.  In mid-January, you can vote to help us select the “National Service in Action” photo winner!   The best photos from each month will be posted on Facebook, and you will have a chance to “like” your favorite.  The photo that receives the most “likes” will be selected as the contest winner.

We look forward to your participation in this exciting opportunity to creatively tell the story of the importance of national service.

Yours in service,

AnnMaura Connolly
President, Voices for National Service

Utah Conservation Corps Recognized with BLM Youth Award

 

From Utah State Today - University News

The Bureau of Land Management recognized the Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) with a Youth Superstar Partnership award. UCC program director Kate Stephens (shown on right) accepted the award from BLM’s Utah State Director Juan Palma (on left) at a BLM executive management team meeting Oct. 9 in Richfield, Utah.

The UCC has partnered with the BLM since the UCC’s inception in 2001, to address critical conservation projects while training and developing the next generation of service and conservation leaders.

“The goal of BLM Utah’s Youth Program is to re-connect a new generation of young people to the great outdoors and careers in natural resources,” said Jeanette Matovich, BLM Utah Youth Program lead. “The Utah Conservation Corps has provided outstanding outdoor employment opportunities to diverse youth groups, including the Bilingual Youth Corps.

“For years, the BLM and UCC have worked together to provide employment opportunities, and educate future citizen stewards on why it is important to protect and conserve public land. We look forward to expanding our partnership with Utah State University and working with them for many years to come.”

Continue Reading at the Utah State Today Website

Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia to Do 352 Community Service Projects with Boy Scouts


From West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCC) has announced details on 352 community service projects that will be performed by 40,000 Boy Scouts throughout southern West Virginia next summer.

The Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative will take place during the National Scout Jamboree, scheduled in Fayette County in July 2013.

Service projects have been approved after an 18 month education, application, and assessment process.

Most of the approved work includes outdoor construction, renovation, painting, landscaping or clean-up efforts. The projects are located at cemeteries, parks, schools, humane societies, historic landmarks, ball fields, and other community gathering places.

Robert Martin, CEO of the CCC, said the project has entered a phase of coordinating the specific technical support, volunteers, and services that will be needed for each project.

“Our strength is in our ability to bring forth partnerships,” said Martin. “So we’re partnering with the National Civilian Community Corps, church groups, contractors associations, unions, students, you name it.”

“We’re trying to get into 9 different southern counties with 8000 young people per day in around 245 buses. We’re pulling the logistics together right now and it’s going to be a chore, but we’re going to get it done,” he said.

“It’s a huge undertaking.”

Continue Reading at the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Website

Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps Could Get Boost from State Senate Plan


From MLive Media Group

LANSING, MI – Legislation aimed at reviving Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

The multi-bill package next advances to the House, which by the end of the year could take up the plan to modernize the program.

The legislation calls for emphasizing public-private partnerships and could include universities, private companies and non-profit organizations. Supporters of the change say the program would expand the scope of participation for Michigan youth between the ages of 17 and 27, including broadened work training programs.

Lawmakers supporting the plan say the Civilian Conservation Corps would maintain its roots of field-based training, conservation and restoration work. State parks and natural resources programs could be an emphasis.

Continue Reading at MLive Media Group

Boiler Plate: 
LANSING, MI – Legislation aimed at reviving Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

11 Impressive Fun Facts about Corps

1. Restored or improved 5,739,259 acres of land—an area larger than the state of New Jersey!

2. Constructed, restored, and maintained 95,337 miles of trails—enough to circle the Earth almost 4 times!

3. Helped thousands of people save money. Corpsmembers assessed or improved the energy efficiency in 55,191 homes. That’s similar to the number of houses in a city like Springfield, Illinois. 

4. Removed or repainted 1,673,340 square feet of graffiti—a space equivalent to 29 football fields.
 
5. Constructed 104,952 feet of boardwalks, footbridges, and walkways—a distance more than 11 times the length of the Golden Gate Bridge.
 
 
6. Planted over 1 million trees nationwide (1,005,145 to be exact).
 
 
7. Mobilized 289,285 community volunteers— that’s enough people to fill Boston’s Fenway Ballpark for over 7 games. For every Corpsmember, nearly 10 additional community volunteers were generated. These volunteers completed 541,086 hours of work: an estimated value of $11,557,597. 
 
 
8. Helped 108,602 students achieve improved academic success by emdeding Corpsmembers in schools.
 
 
9. Removed or eradicated exotic and invasive plants from 195,333 acres of land, an area nearly twice the size of Denver, Colorado.
 
 
10. Renovated and constructed 3,231 buildings.
 
 
11. Responded to at least 251 disasters including fires, floods, and storms.
 
 

 

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