USDA Newsletter Story Highlights How Deaf Montana Conservation Corps Member became Forest Service Employee

In the USDA's April newsletter, the agency highlighted Joanel Lopez's participation in the Bridging Cultures Conservation Corps program that was launched by Montana Conservation Corps and Region 1 of the U.S. Forest Service.

It's a fantastic example of how "the program is great for people from diverse backgrounds and cultures to face dealing with different perspectives." The digital version of the story can be read on page 3 of the linked PDF.

  

 

National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards the Texas Conservation Corps a Preservation Grant for Work at LBJ’s Grandparent’s Cabin

Press Release Issued by Texas Conservation Corps and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Johnson City, Texas (Wednesday, March 14, 2014)—Today, the Texas Conservation Corps was awarded a $ 5,000 grant by the  National Trust for Historic Preservation for a Hands-On-Preservation-Experience (HOPE) Crew project.  These grant funds will be used immediately to make repairs on a cabin at Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park originally inhabited by LBJ’s grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, in the 1860’s.

This HOPE Crew project, overseen by craft  experts  from the  National Park  Service’s Western Center for Historic Preservation, is taking place this week in Johnson City, Texas. The project will result in critical repairs to the cabin while also transferring these unique historic preservation skills to the workforce of the next generation.  AmeriCorps members from the Texas Conservation Corps are hewing new wooden porch beams and making other repairs using tools that would have been used in the original construction in the 1860’s.  The Texas Conservation Corps is a program of American YouthWorks in Austin, Texas   that  places  teams  of  youth  and  young  adults  on  experiential  conservation, preservation and disaster response projects across the region.

"Programs like the Texas Conservation Corps help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "We are honored to provide a grant to the program which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage."

Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds range from $2,500 to $5,000 and have provided over $15 million in preservation support since 2003. These matching grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach campaigns.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s

Preservation Fund grants, visit:  www.PreservationNation.org/funding

About American YouthWorks

American YouthWorks is an education and jobs training nonprofit based in Austin, Texas.   The agency has been serving the community since 1981 and offers a diverse set of programs for young people, ages 16 to 28, who want to change their lives through education, workforce training, and service to their country. For more information see www.americanyouthworks.org.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed  to protecting  America’s  rich  cultural  legacy  and  helping  build  vibrant,  sustainable communities that reflect our nation’s diversity. Follow us on Twitter  @presnation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

Boiler Plate: 
Johnson City, Texas (Wednesday, March 14, 2014)—Today, the Texas Conservation Corps was awarded a $ 5,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a Hands-On-Preservation-Experience (HOPE) Crew project. These grant funds will be used immediately to make repairs on a cabin at Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park originally inhabited by LBJ’s grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, in the 1860’s.

Earth Conservation Corps founding Board Member honored

On Wednesday, May 21, Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO, and other TCN staff joined Earth Conservation Corps staff, current and alumni Corpsmembers, city and national officials at a dedication ceremony for a bridge named in honor of Ethel Kennedy, founding Board Member of Earth Conservation Corps (ECC).

Speakers included DC Mayor Gray, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Senator Steny Hoyer.  For over 22 years, Mrs. Kennedy’s engagement with ECC has helped others appreciate the can-do spirit of Anacostia youth and focused an entire city on the restoration of the River. Corpsmembers presented Mrs. Kennedy with white roses along with their stories of transformation and growth through their experience with the Corps. Attorney General Eric Holder's speech can be read online here.

Before the presentation, ECC members demonstrated for the media how they are cleaning up the Anacostia River.

The Corps Network Thanks President Obama for Designation of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Photo of Organ Mountains via White House's Instagram Account

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that he would use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a 500,000 acre area of New Mexico known as the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks as a National Monument. Jeri Clausing of the Associated Press writes that, "New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, had proposed legislation to protect the region that includes popular hunting areas and features steep rock outcroppings, petroglyphs, ancient lava flows and sites such as Billy the Kid's Outlaw Rock, Geromino's Cave and the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail."

The Corps Network and twenty four of its member organizations have issued a thank you letter to President Obama and also to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. A PDF of the letter can be accessed by clicking here, and the full text is published below. 

Full Text of The Corps Network's Letter to President Obama:

May 21, 2014


The President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of Service and Conservation Corps across the country, we write to thank you for your recent action to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

Although the nation’s 100+ Service and Conservation Corps are diverse in mission and membership, we all strive to improve quality of life for our participants and in our communities.  From building trails and campgrounds on our nation’s iconic public lands, to creating and caring for urban parks and gardens, to improving the energy efficiency of low-income housing, to helping communities prepare for and recover from disasters, Corps provide communities with valuable services and participants with the job training, academic programming, leadership skills and more, to improve lives and the environment.

It is this dedication to the betterment of future generations that leads us to strongly support your recent action to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.  Protecting these pristine public lands will help to secure recreational opportunities for local communities and encourage more Americans to spend time in the great outdoors.  This will help boost local economies, support public health, and inspire future generations to embody the conservation ethic we all hold dear.

We also want to thank and recognize Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell for her tireless leadership on behalf of Service and Conservation Corps.  Her support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps has been extraordinary, and her recognition of the importance that land conservation policies play in furthering the missions of Conservation Corps everywhere is integral to our future success.

Thank you again for acting to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and we look forward to seeing other special landscapes protected in the future.

Sincerely,

Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO
The Corps Network
And the undersigned Corps

 

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Taos, New Mexico

 

YouthWorks Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Conservation Legacy

Durango, Colorado

 

Environmental Stewards

Durango, Colorado

Southwest Conservation Corps

Salida and Durango, CO and Acoma Pueblo, NM

 

Western Colorado Conservation Corps

Grand Junction, CO

Arizona Conservation Corps

Tucson and Flagstaff, AZ

 

Great Basin Institute / Nevada Conservation Corps

Reno, NV

 

Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Fresno Local Conservation Corps

Fresno, CA

 

San Francisco Conservation Corps

San Francisco, CA

 

Sequoia Community Corps

Visalia, CA

 

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

St. Paul, MN

 

WisCorps

LaCrosse, WI

 

American Youthworks

Austin, TX

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Richmond, VT

 

The Work Group

Pennsauken, NJ

 

Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia

Beckley, WV

 

Southeast Youth Corps

Chattanooga, TN

 

Limitless Vistas, Inc.

Orlando, FL

 

Greater Miami Service Corps

Miami, FL

Kupu

Honolulu, HI

SAGA

Juneau, AK

 

Los Angeles Conservation Corps

Los Angeles, CA

 

Northwest Piedmont Service Corps

Winston-Salem, NC

 

Boiler Plate: 
Read our thank you letter to President Obama for designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as our nation's newest national monument.

CCC Crews Dispatched to Southern California Fires

A CCC fire crew on the Miguelito Fire in Santa Barbara County.  Photo by CCC crew supervisor Jeremy Day.

Story provided by the California Conservation Corps.

A dozen crews from the California Conservation Corps  -- 170 corpsmembers -- are helping to combat the wildfires in San Diego and Santa Barbara counties.

CCC crews from Los Angeles, Pomona, San Diego and San Bernardino are assisting with logistical support at fire camps in San Diego County.  Crews are working for both Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service; they are assigned to the Bernardo and Tomahawk fires among other locations.

In Santa Barbara County, Camarillo and San Luis Obispo corpsmembers are helping with both initial attack efforts and camp support on the Miguelito Fire.

Additional CCC crews stand ready to assist where needed.

Boiler Plate: 
A dozen crews from the California Conservation Corps -- 170 corpsmembers -- are helping to combat the wildfires in San Diego and Santa Barbara counties.

EarthCorps Selected for 300 Year Long Habitat Restoration Stewardship Project in Washington

From EarthCorps

EarthCorps was selected by the Commencement Bay Trustees to be the stewards of a cutting edge restoration fund to provide long-term maintenance, monitoring and community engagement at 17 restoration sites in and around Tacoma’s Commencement Bay for 300 years.

This collaborative partnership is seen as a model for the rest of the country to look to for long-term environmental stewardship. Trustees represent NOAA, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Dept. of Interior, The Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, and WA Dept. of Ecology. 

The restoration sites are part of an EPA cleanup and subsequent habitat restoration. In order for EarthCorps to conduct the work, we are EarthCorps has been entrusted with $4.9 million dollars to invest for the sole purpose of providing the annual funds required to ensure the long-term stewardship of these sites.

Read more on NOAA's website. 

Boiler Plate: 
EarthCorps was selected by the Commencement Bay Trustees to be the stewards of a cutting edge restoration fund to provide long-term maintenance, monitoring and community engagement at 17 restoration sites in and around Tacoma’s Commencement Bay for 300 years.

Southwest Conservation Corps Announcing Big Changes this Earth Day

From Southwest Conservation Corps President & CEO Harry Bruell

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Partners,

In celebration of Earth Day we are excited to make an official announcement about our organizational re-structure to better align the organization with its unprecedented growth over the past 15 years.

The new name of our overall non-profit agency is now Conservation Legacy, a national organization that supports local and regional conservation service programs from seven offices across America.  Southwest Conservation Corps remains the name for the Conservation Legacy program that operates conservation corps in Colorado and New Mexico from offices in Durango and Salida, CO and Pueblo of Acoma, NM.  Other Conservation Legacy programs include the Arizona Conservation Corps (conservation corps in Arizona and Southern New Mexico; based in Flagstaff and Tucson, AZ), Environmental Stewards(individual placements in 22 states; based in Durango, CO), Southeast Youth Corps (conservation corps across the Southeast; based in Chattanooga, TN), andVISTA Teams (individual placements in the Appalachians and Colorado/New Mexico; based in Beckley, WV).  Please see the attached document for more information about the new structure.

The new structure allows Conservation Legacy to better support its programs with shared resources while allowing each program to develop its own identity and to customize programming to the needs and assets of the communities it serves.   We couldn’t imagine a more fitting day than Earth Day to announce the next phase of the organization’s development.  Our mission is to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities and the environment, and we hope this next phase of our organizational development will allow us to support more young people, veterans and communities to make everyday Earth Day.

Conservation Legacy began in Durango, CO in 1998 as Southwest Youth Corps and changed its name to Southwest Conservation Corps in 2006 after merging with the Youth Corps of Southern Arizona.  In 2013 the organization engaged 709 young people, veterans and crew leaders who completed over 350,000 hours of service maintaining recreational trails and open space, protecting communities from wildfire, and preserving wildlife habitat.

The new structure will allow Conservation Legacy to support emerging corps programs and to help lead and promote national initiatives such as the growing movement to engage more young Americans in conservation service through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).  Conservation Legacy is a co-founder of the Public Lands Service Coalition and Conservation Legacy staff and Board members served on the 21CSC Federal Advisory Committee (Chair) and the Partnership for the 21CSC (co-Chair).       

Thank you for your support of Conservation Legacy, its programs and, most importantly, the young people, veterans and communities the organization serves.  Please refer to our new website for further information, please connect with us on our new Facebook page, and please feel free to contact me atharry@sccorps.org or 970-403-0143 with questions, suggestions or ideas.

Thanks for all that you do to support conservation service corps,

Harry Bruell

President & CEO

 

Boiler Plate: 
In celebration of Earth Day we are excited to make an official announcement about our organizational re-structure to better align the organization with its unprecedented growth over the past 15 years.

New Jersey Youth Corps Participates in HOPE Crew Volunteer Day at Historic Stadium

Written by Michael Muckle, Executive Director of the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg.

Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey is a historic 10,000-seat municipal stadium built from 1931–32 on a dramatic escarpment above Paterson's National Historic Landmark Great Falls. It is one of only a handful of stadiums surviving nationally that once played host to significant Negro league baseball during America's Jim Crow era. The stadium was designated as a National Historic Landmark in March 2013 and a Paterson Historic Landmark in May 2013.

On April 16th, under the guidance of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Hands-On Preservation Experience HOPE Crew program, New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg & of Paterson, along with hundreds of other volunteers, helped paint Hinchliffe Stadium as part of the venues' National Historic Landmark Dedication Ceremony. Over the years the stadium has hosted all types of sporting events, from baseball, boxing, wrestling...even auto racing! We were honored to be part of history and look forward to following the progress and eventual return of this historic venue to its former glory! More photos below.  #SaveHinchliffe  

Utah Conservation Corps Featured in Nature Conservancy Magazine Cover Story about Escalante River Watershed Partnership

 

In their most recent magazine, The Nature Conservancy chose to make their feature story about their work with a broader group of partners, known as the Escalante River Watershed Partnership. The partnership is working to protect the Escalante River in southeast Utah. 

The cover of the magazine shows a Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps member, and within the article other Corpsmembers are quoted and shown in photos. Several other Corps have been involved with restoration efforts and joint trainings for the Escalante and Dolores Rivers, including Southwest Conservation CorpsCanyon Country Youth Corps, and Western Colorado Conservation Corps. Crews from the Corps are specifically helping to eradicate non-native Russian olive and tamarisk trees along the river. These invasive tree species thrive in poor soil and outcompete native plant species, damaging the river’s ecosystems. Late last year, The Nature Conservancy presented an award to several Corps for their work on the Dolores River, where restoration projects are also underway.

In addition to reading the article, you can watch a video about the partnership produced by The Nature Conservancy.

Former Corpsmember of the Year, Germain Castellanos of Youth Conservation Corps, Honored by the White House as a Champion of Change!

Photo Credit: CNCS

We send our congratulations to Germain Castellanos as a representative of Youth Conservation Corps, Youthbuild, AmeriCorps, and The Corps Network as one of our former Corpsmembers of the Year for being honored by the White House as a modern representative of Cesar Chavez's legacy.

Way to go Germain!

Germain was a Corpsmember of the Year in 2005. You can learn about his accomplishments since that time by reading a profile we recently wrote here. He also represented us and AmeriCorps as part of 2013's American Graduate Day special on PBS.

Earlier this year, Jon Brito of Kupu / Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, and Anthony "Chako" Ciocco of Southwest Conservation Corps were also recognized as Champions of Change for engaging the next generation of conservation leaders.

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