Service and Conservation Corps Participate in "Mayors' Day of Recognition for Service" Events Nationwide

On Tuesday April 1st, numerous members of The Corps Network participated in events nationwide with their Mayors to recognize the contributions that National Service makes in their communities. In total, more than 1750 mayors were expected to participate across the United States.

American YouthWorks and the Texas Conservation Corps (shown above with Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell) where even one of the programs prominently featured in a video made by Austin, Texas to showcase Service and how it plays a role in their communities.
 


Other Highlights:

  • [Photo] Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members with numerous mayors
     
  • [News Release] Heart of Oregon Corps Attended Several Events with numerous mayors
     
  • [Photo] Greater Miami Service Corps Attended Several Events with numerous mayors
     
  • [Photo Set] Montana Conservation Corps Helps Build Gardens at School
     

[Photo] Operation Fresh Start crew representing at Mayoral Proclamation on AmeriCorps service day

Washington Conservation Corps Assisting with Disaster Relief Operations following Washington Landslide and Flooding

Following the Oso landslide, Washington Conservation Corps has deployed 7 AmeriCorps crews to assist with a variety of tasks, including logistical and facilities support, as well as mapping. We thank them for representing the Corps Movement and National Service so well under these tragic circumstances.

For more information, photos, and updates, please check their Facebook page.

Request for Proposals: Urban to Rural Experience Trip Videographer

Download Full Request for Proposals and Application Guidelines Here

Since Sally Jewell was sworn in as Secretary of the Interior, she has placed a high priority on getting more youth outdoors. Her passion for this issue is driven by a number of factors, including the public health and educational benefits, as well as the importance of engaging younger generations in fields related to land management and conservation. In 2012, 38% of Interior Department staff were eligible for retirement and Jewell believes it is vital to invest in our youth now to engage the next generation of public lands stewards. One of Jewell’s main proposals to tackle this challenge has been the engagement of youth conservation corps across the country, committing to raising $20 million in private funds to aide in the expansion of the corps.

The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, seeks to tap Secretary Jewell’s passion for youth to highlight the importance of vital conservation policies – the Antiquities Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. By bringing youth from an urban area to the backcountry of a proposed or designated national monument, this project will show the value these lands have to current and future generations and the importance of the Secretary’s leadership for conserving them.

The Corps Network (TCN) seeks a videographer to accompany two TCN staff members to Idaho to document an “Urban to Rural Experience Trip” in which young people (ranging in age from 16 – 25) from an urban conservation corps will travel to and camp at Boulder White Clouds National Monument.

Using footage from this trip, the videographer will create a 5-minute promotional video to highlight the important environmental conservation work that Corps complete nationwide.

Download Full Request for Proposals and Application Guidelines Here

Boiler Plate: 
The Corps Network seeks a videographer for an urban-to-rural conservation corps trip that will culminate in the production of a 5-minute promotional video to highlight the important environmental conservation work that Corps complete nationwide.

Greening Youth Foundation Launches Atlanta Youth Corps

 

The Greening Youth Foundation, a member of The Corps Network, has launched a new program called the Atlanta Youth Corps. Nick Chiles of the Atlanta BlackStar writes that the new Corps program will help plant gardens around several Atlanta fire stations as one of their first projects. 

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall has been working with the Greening Youth Foundation to start the Corps. Chiles explains that "GYF will manage the pilot Atlanta Youth Corps program as part of Councilman Hall’s Year of Boulevard initiative, focused on Atlanta’s Boulevard street in the Midtown area. The cost of the public-private partnership will stem from the exact amount needed to complete a project. Each project will be designed in partnership with the City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation department and/or the community entity involved."

Greening Youth Foundation recently was designated as an official program operator for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Chiles suggests that the Atlanta Youth Corps, will be considered part of this initiative. 

With 350 parks, green spaces and community centers, the city of Atlanta is poised to benefit from the deployment of young people in a citywide conservation corps—particularly considering the city’s high unemployment rate for Black youth. Because of budget shortfalls and a growing population, the city has a difficult time maintaining all of its green spaces and rec centers.

“This program is a perfect culmination of what our organization is good at and what the City of Atlanta needs: workforce development for youth in the area of conservation and outsourced greenspace and park management,” Angelou Ezeilo, founder and CEO of Greening Youth Foundation, told ABS. “I am thrilled that GYF will be leading such an exciting initiative.  Our team looks forward to working with the City of Atlanta to make this program an overwhelming success.”

Boiler Plate: 
The Greening Youth Foundation, a member of The Corps Network, with several partners has launched a new program called the Atlanta Youth Corps. Nick Chiles of the Atlanta BlackStar writes that the new Corps program will help plant gardens around several Atlanta fire stations as one of their first projects.

Photos, Press, Highlights, and Video from the White House Champions of Change Conservation Event

Earlier this week as we announced, both Anthony "Chako" Ciocco of Southwest Conservation Corps and Jon Brito of Kupu were honored by the White House for "engaging the next generation of conservation leaders."

Numerous staff members from The Corps Network were honored to attend the event on Tuesday, and watch Chako and Jon represent us and the Corps Movement so well!

Secretary Jewell Makes Big Show of Support at Event, and Through Secretarial Order

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell served as the keynote speaker for the event, and highlighted each of the fourteen honorees' accomplishments. She quoted each of the honorees, and even ended her remarks with a quote from a forthcoming blog post written by Chako, to soon be published by the White House! (See video at time mark of 34 minutes and 35 seconds). She also announced that she would soon issue a Secretarial order for her youth initiative, which among other features formalizes the continuing implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. A press release about the order was released earlier today. We believe this is a significant development and thank the Secretary for her support!

Other Representatives also Highlight Importance of Youth in Conservation and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

The event also featured high-ranking officials from numerous other agencies and the White House, including White House Counselor John Podesta, Department of Interior Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Arthur Blazer (pictured), and Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Michael Boots. Everyone was emphatic in their support of getting youth involved in conservation, and that the 14 "Champions of Change" were excellent role models for showcasing methods and strategies for involving youth in a variety of conservation efforts. The honorees were evenly split into two moderated panels, where they introduced themselves and answered questions from the moderators, from Twitter, and from the live audience. A video of the first hour of the event has already been posted on Youtube. In total it was a three hour event, so we are still waiting for the next video which should feature Chako and Jon's panel.

Additional Highlights Feature a Trip to Meet Wendy Spencer at the Corporation for National & Community Service, a mural tour at the Department of Interior that concluded with a stop in Secretary Jewell's Office

Both Jon and Chako were invited to the offices of AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) following the event. They were joined by Dr. Benjamin Blonder and Andy Hart, two other "Champions" who each had an AmeriCorps connection. CNCS CEO Wendy Spencer took a few moments to meet each of the honorees and take a photo with them. All of the champions also filmed quick videos with AmeriCorps staff.

Later in the afternoon, the Champions of Change were invited to take a tour of the Department of Interior, and see many of its fantastic and historic murals. Jon and Chako stopped to pose in front of one mural that depicted the Civilian Conservation Corps. The honorees gradually made their way to Secretary Jewell's office, where she again greeted the Champions and took more photos.

Party On Champions

But the fun didn't end there. The champions were invited by The Wilderness Society to their Ansel Adams Gallery to join a reception in honor of Bill Hodge, one of the Champions who was honored as a representative of the Wilderness Society's Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) program. An additional event was organized by our friends with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.  

Praise from Members of Congress for Chako and Jon

“The White House Champions of Change award is a fitting recognition of Anthony’s environmental stewardship and leadership. He works tirelessly to improve outdoor access on the Navajo Nation,” Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet said. “In true Colorado fashion, Anthony, and the Southwest Conservation Corps, are dedicated to furthering opportunities for all of us to get outside and appreciate the outdoors, while also teaching countless young people the importance of being good stewards of our natural resources.” 

“Today at the White House, a local Moloka`i leader is being honored for his work to preserve our precious island environment and Native Hawaiian cultural practices. Jon has restored many endangered native Hawai`i species and habitats through his work with AmeriCorps and Kupu’s Hawai`i Youth Conservation Corps. I’m so proud of Jon and all that he has done to improve his community and the environment around him, while setting a great example for our keiki to follow. Congratulations, Jon, for this well-deserved honor! Aloha!” — U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard

 

Press

* We will continue adding to this list as new stories are posted and released.

Boiler Plate: 
Earlier this week as we announced, both Anthony "Chako" Ciocco of Southwest Conservation Corps and Jon Brito of Kupu were honored by the White House for "engaging the next generation of conservation leaders." Read about the highlights and see photos from Jon and Chako's big day!

New Green Investments Report Highlights Sequestration Impacts on Service and Conservation Corps


Northwest Youth Corps working on a coastal project.

Service and Conservation Corps were highlighted in a new "Green Investments" report that was assembled by a number of environmental groups including the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness Society, Trust for Public Land, the Nature Conservancy, American Forests and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Using The Corps Network's "Impact of Sequestration" research and report, the Green Investments report indicated how less work would occur on federal lands including national parks and national forests because of cuts to federal funding.

Phil Taylor of E&E News Service wrote that

The report praises Congress for agreeing last year to undo sequester cuts for fiscal 2014 and 2015 but warns that the sequester will resume from 2016 to 2021 unless Congress acts.

And while top-level discretionary funding for 2015 is a "vast improvement" over sequestered levels, appropriators still must allocate a sufficient amount to the subcommittees that fund Interior, EPA, the Forest Service, the Energy Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State Department, the report said.

"From the damaging sequester to the 16-day closure of national parks, other federal lands and environmental agencies, the last year added insult to injury for the places and programs that are popular with Americans and important for the economy," said John Garder, director of budgets and appropriation for the National Parks Conservation Association, who edited the report.

The full report will be sent to the White House and can be accessed here.

Boiler Plate: 
Service and Conservation Corps were highlighted in a new "Green Investments" report that was assembled by a number of environmental groups including the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness Society, Trust for Public Land, the Nature Conservancy, American Forests and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Corps Network to Participate in National Association of Workforce Board's 2014 Forum

The Corps Network is pleased to join our partners at the National Association of Workforce Boards for their 2014 Forum!

On Monday, March 30th at 4pm EST, Tyler Wilson, The Corps Network's Director of Government Relations will lead a workshop titled "Career and Community Ready: Service Corps and Workforce Investment Boards." The workshop will describe how in In 2013 The Corps Network collaborated with and supported the National Association of Workforce Boards to research the current state of how Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and Conservation Service Corps are working together.  Through a series of 30-90 minute interviews in 15 unique locations, the research yielded promising practices as well as issues to address. Join the workshop to learn more about how Corps and WIBS can collaborate to maximize opportunities for youth and young adults.

Our staff will also be available during the Forum's "Partner Exchange" to answer questions about Corps and talk about their impressive impacts.

To learn more about the NAWB Forum, speakers, and workshops, please click here.

Boiler Plate: 
The Corps Network is pleased to join our partners at the National Association of Workforce Boards for their 2014 Forum! Learn more about the workshop we will host as well as our participation in the "partner exchange."

20 Years Ago—The Northridge California Earthquake & the California Conservation Corps

Corpsmembers dismantling a cracked chimney in Santa Clarita.

On January 17, 1994, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake centered in Northridge, shook Southern California.  Within hours, the California Conservation Corps began to mobilize, and had its first crews helping with cleanup work the very next day.

During the peak of the CCC's efforts, more than 500 corpsmembers were dispatched.  They assisted with water distribution, tent cities, Disaster Application Centers, and general debris cleanup, including the dismantling of 315 damaged chimneys.  Oil-spill trained corpsmembers were also needed as the earthquake caused an oil pipeline to rupture.

Several months later, after 170,000 hours of work, the CCC set up its Northridge Earthquake Recovery Corps, funded through the Job Training Partnership Act.  Two hundred local young people were hired from the areas impacted by the quake.

Story Provided by the Charming Staff of the California Conservation Corps

Boiler Plate: 
On January 17, 1994, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake centered in Northridge, shook Southern California. Within hours, the California Conservation Corps began to mobilize, and had its first crews helping with cleanup work the very next day.

Several Corps Receive High Honor from The Nature Conservancy for River Restoration Work

Republished from The Nature Conservancy Website

Youth Conservation and Education Programs in the Spotlight

The Southwest Conservation Corps, Western Colorado Conservation Corps and Canyon Country Youth Corps, as well as their river restoration director, Mike Wight, have received the Phil James Conservation Award
 
DENVER | December 12, 2013

The Nature Conservancy is proud to announce the Southwest Conservation Corps, Western Colorado Conservation Corps and Canyon Country Youth Corps, along with their river restoration director, Mike Wight, as the recipients of the Phil JamesConservation Award. The Phil James Conservation Award is given to an individual or organization for extraordinary contributions or achievements that further the mission of The Nature Conservancy.

This award honors Phil James’ unsurpassed passion and dedication for conservation. He began volunteering for The Nature Conservancy in 1986 when he helped found theNebraska Chapter. Through the years, he served on the Conservancy’s Board of Trustees in Nebraska, Colorado and Alaska. James works tirelessly to support the Conservancy. His leadership and generosity has made an impact on us and for future generations

The Nature Conservancy in Colorado is paying tribute to Wight and the Conservation Corps for their willingness to take on one of the west’s most daunting restoration challenges – removing invasive plants and restoring habitat along 175 miles of the Dolores River, a tributary of the Colorado River. Additionally, the Conservation Corps worked along the Gunnison River. They built rock structures to improve wetland habitat. Corps members, ages 18-26, have diverse backgrounds and are selected from local communities and across the country. Through the restoration work, corps members are learning valuable life and job skills.

“Mike goes the extra mile when it comes to engaging young people,” says Peter Mueller, the Conservancy’s southwest Colorado program director. “He is fostering and inspiring a new generation of conservationists who are committed to solving our most pressing challenges.”

“Strong partnerships are the key to conservation successes,” says Mike Wight, River Restoration Director. “We are grateful to The Nature Conservancy and many other partners who support these important programs. We know that by working together we can protect our lands and waters for generations to come.”The Conservation Corps are credited with getting young people on the right track and shaping our future.

“Mike’s passionate leadership has put so many young men and women in places where they contribute, learn and change the way they see themselves,” adds Tim Sullivan, the Conservancy in Colorado’s state director.

So far, working with these three corps programs, the Dolores River Restoration Partnership has created 175 jobs for young adults and restored 821 acres. This is part of an even bigger effort to create a 21st Century Conservation Service Corpsthrough the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The goal of 21st CSC is increase youth opportunities in the country from a current 30,000 to 100,000 on an annual basis.  This Initiative will put Americans to work, protect our greatest treasures, and build America’s future.

 

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

 

Boiler Plate: 
The Southwest Conservation Corps, Western Colorado Conservation Corps and Canyon Country Youth Corps, as well as their river restoration director, Mike Wight, have received the Phil James Conservation Award.

Thank you for 35 years of support

Editor's Note: The following op-ed was originally published by San Luis Obispo's The Tribune. The above photo was tweeted to The Corps Network by Domenic's son. He looks like a cool guy for sure.


BY DOMENIC SANTANGELO

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/12/19/2842267/thank-you-for-35-years-of-support.html#storylink=cpy

I started my career in the California Conservation Corps heading up to Calaveras County, which I’d never heard of before. I didn’t know a whole lot about the CCC, either, back in 1978. But what I wouldn’t have guessed is that I’d spend the next 35 years with the program, most of those years here in San Luis Obispo.

I’m retiring from the CCC at the end of December, and it’s bittersweet. There have been challenges, yes, but the community support we’ve received over the years has been nothing short of amazing. That, together with the young people we call corpsmembers and the work we’ve been able to do throughout the county and region — you couldn’t find a more rewarding job.

The CCC is a state agency offering young people between 18 and 25 a year of service and training in natural resource work and emergency response. We have a residential center here in San Luis Obispo, the Los Padres Center, located behind Cuesta College. It’s home to 80 corpsmembers, men and women from the whole spectrum of ethnic backgrounds. Some are from big cities, some from rural areas, some from around here. A few have taken college classes, others are working on their high school diplomas. All in all, they represent the diversity of California.

These corpsmembers are not “bad kids,” and in fact cannot join if they are on probation or parole. They’re here for many reasons — to work outdoors, acquire some job experience and training, get their lives on track, earn a paycheck.

We try our best to provide a caring and positive environment enabling our corpsmembers to grow and learn. But in the years I’ve been with the CCC in San Luis Obispo, I never cease to be amazed at the transformations made over their months in the Corps. We change lives, we really do. And calls from former corpsmembers, reflecting on their CCC days five, 10 or 20 years later, mean more than you can imagine.

I’m often asked, “Have young adults changed much since I came to the Corps?” I really don’t think so. The faces change, the names change, but corpsmembers are still navigating those transition years after high school, and, for most, trying to figure out what to do next. Despite the physical labor and long days — our motto is “Hard work, low pay, miserable conditions … and more!” Our corpsmembers hold this motto in high esteem, like a badge of honor. They work extremely hard every day meeting the challenge.

That’s not hard to understand, since we are blessed to work for agencies and organizations such as California State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program , the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, the city of San Luis Obispo, Cambria Community Services District, Friends of the Elephant Seal and so many more.

If you’ve hiked up the trail to Bishop Peak, or maybe the Bob Jones trail, the CCC has worked there. Or maybe you’ve seen us involved in fish habitat work along the creeks. We’ve also helped restore historic buildings such as the Oceano Depot and the Point San Luis Lighthouse.

The CCC had a popular summer youth corps a few years back, hiring 60 local high school students in five different cities, with the help of the SLO Workforce Investment Board and Cuesta College. We’ve participated in work exchanges with programs in Montana and Australia. And we volunteer at local activities most weekends, whether it’s working at community gardens, dog parks or festivals.

Not only local residents reap the benefits. It’s also great to walk along the boardwalk we put in at Moonstone Beach in Cambria and hear so many different languages from the international visitors. The benefits of our work to the region’s economy is obvious.

We also have a major role in emergency response, sending crews locally and throughout the state: The Highway 41 and Las Pilitas fires; Avila Beach and San Luis Creek oil spills; The San Simeon Earthquake. Last month we trained our crews to be ready to respond to winter floods or storms, wherever they’re needed.

My proudest moments have come in the relatively few periods of adversity. During tough economic times, our center has been threatened with closure three times. But the outpouring of bipartisan support from community members and local officials without a doubt helped turn those decisions around. It could not have been more gratifying for us.

Back in 1977, the CCC decided to locate its very first center in San Luis Obispo. A good decision that has stood the test of time, and to which thousands of corpsmembers and hundreds of work sponsors can attest.

Thank you, San Luis Obispo County, for your ongoing support and encouragement over all these years. You are certainly one of the reasons for our success.

I’ll miss my work with the CCC, but you’re in good hands. I’m leaving a strong staff that will carry on the Corps’ efforts throughout the county and beyond. Hope to see you on the trails.

Domenic Santangelo is the center director of the California Conservation Corps’ Los Padres Center. He and his wife, Patty, live in Atascadero.

Boiler Plate: 
I’m retiring from the CCC at the end of December, and it’s bittersweet. There have been challenges, yes, but the community support we’ve received over the years has been nothing short of amazing. That, together with the young people we call corpsmembers and the work we’ve been able to do throughout the county and region — you couldn’t find a more rewarding job.

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