New Jersey Youth Corps Puts Aquatic Restoration Training to Use with Audubon

17-year-old Omari Gibson of Phillipsburg smiles as he works in the stream, saying it's their way of giving back. Photo credit: NJ.com

They were in the classroom on Tuesday and in the water by Thursday. Less than 48 hours after completing an innovative online-delivered aquatic restoration course, members of the New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg chapter were up to their knees in a Musky River feeder stream putting their new found expertise to work.

The youth corps members joined local volunteers from New Jersey Audubon in a sustainable stream bank restoration. The group hand-planted willow stakes along the waterway that when grown will prevent soil erosion into the stream while providing shade that will help keep the water cool and protect valuable habitat for wildlife.

NJ.com’s Warren reporter Emily Cummins quotes Zach Oefelein, an 18 year-old corps member as saying "It definitely gives me a good sense of pride. There aren't enough people focused on things like this. A lot of our world is focused on what you can get out of nature and not what you can put back into it. I feel like this is the best way you can do it, planting trees out here and improving the ecosystem."

You can read more at:  

http://www.nj.com/warrenreporter/index.ssf/2015/04/nj_audobon_washington_township.html

Boiler Plate: 
They were in the classroom on Tuesday and in the water by Thursday. Less than 48 hours after completing an innovative online-delivered aquatic restoration course, members of the New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg chapter were up to their knees in a Musky River feeder stream putting their new found expertise to work.

Service and Conservation Corps Celebrate 2015 Mayors Day of Recognition of National Service

Boiler Plate: 
The nation’s mayors and county executives are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps andSenior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact – making our cities and counties better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country participated in the third-annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 7, 2015. Here’s how members of The Corps Network participated!

A Visit with Virginia Service and Conservation Corps

On Wednesday, March 30th, staff from The Corps Network travelled to Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, VA to visit Corpsmembers with the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps. In preparation for the busy summer season, the crew was rebuilding a section of boardwalk over a marshy area along the Potomac River. A quiet park located on a peninsula, Mason Neck is known for its significant population of nesting bald eagles.

We met with Jamie, Alyssa and George: three AmeriCorps members from a four-person crew. Jamie, who is originally from Wisconsin, previously served with Utah Conservation Corps. Alyssa came to Virginia after learning about AmeriCorps through a post-college internship with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper in upstate New York. George, who is originally from California, joined the Corps as a break from a tiring schedule that involved attending college full-time, volunteering as an EMT and working at a Mexican bakery.

Primarily based out of Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, VA, the crew has served at a number of locations throughout northeast Virginia. Occasionally they meet with Corpsmembers based out of other parts of the state for large-scale prescribed burns or tree planting projects. While Alyssa is new to the Corps, both Jamie and George have wild land firefighter certifications and are working on getting certified in pesticide application. Jamie and George also recently took part in a nighttime search-and-rescue training.

Now that the weather is getting nicer, the crew serves about 45 hours a week. Most of their projects involve routine park maintenance. Usually a ranger or maintenance employee helps them get started on a project and then lets them take the lead.

The crew will serve together until August, marking the end of George and Jamie’s 1,700-hour term and Alyssa’s 300-hour term. Following the completion of her service, Jamie plans to use her AmeriCorps Education Award to get certified as a Wilderness First Responder. She misses the backcountry of Utah and hopes to move out West to find a job where she can utilize her college degree in biology and ecology. When George finishes his term, he plans to join AmeriCorps NCCC through their Sacramento campus and use his Education Award to complete college. Alyssa, who just started her term of service, isn’t sure what she wants to do at the end of the summer. For now she’s happy to be learning new skills and working outdoors.


Alyssa working on the boardwalk.

Blog Slideshow: 

Waders in the Water Aquatic Restoration Training Interactive Support — Now Easier and More Powerful

From our partners at Trout Headwaters, Inc. comes news about enhancements to the Waders in the Water aquatic restoration training they offer to Corpsmembers.

The Waders in the Water online support tool has been newly upgraded to improve system features and ease-of-use. EcoBlu Analyst 2.0, the cloud-based big data system for the Waders in the Water green jobs training and certification program, is now easier to use than ever. The intuitive, interactive maps of member Corps, conservation projects, and potential restoration industry employers are now faster and more user-friendly, and new resources include feeds for conservation jobs and internships.  

Every Waders in the Water student receives password access to the platform so they can explore opportunities in the growing restoration economy and access a wealth of support material to refresh or expand their knowledge, including stream, river, wetland, coastal, and estuary restoration drawings and specifications, resume templates, environmental glossary and more.  WisCorps’ Garrett Shears took the online class and told us “The web based resource is an incredibly valuable tool.” 

This sample interactive map shows various U.S. Conservation Corps which are Waders in the Water certified.

Presently Corpsmembers and leaders in 23 states are applying their new certification and are using EcoBlu Analyst 2.0 to both understand the restoration economy, and to partner with fellow Corps on projects.

White Mountain Youth Corps Founder Mike Gaffney: “I think the training/certification gives our partners and potential partners more confidence that we're serious about restoration work and that we can be a trusted source for their restoration implementation plans.”

Wyoming Conservation Corps Assistant Director Patrick Harrington echoed the values. “Trout Headwaters has developed a truly unique training for the Conservation Corps world,” he said. This platform is just one of the support tools already deployed for the Waders in the Water Level I training.  

Expect an announcement soon on release of the new Waders in the Water level II training. In the meantime, many corps told us early April was a great time to train and certify newly arriving Corpsmembers in aquatic restoration and the green jobs economy.

To participate in the next online webinar training:

Members of The Corps Network can Register Here for the April 6 & 7, (10 am –1 pm EDT) Waders in the Water Level I class.  

The private-public training program continues to offer on-site sessions for groups of 20-40 students to accommodate individual corps needs. Please contact Luke Frazza for more information.

Contacts:

Marie Walker, Vice President, The Corps Network
(202) 737-6272
mwalker@corpsnetwork.org

Luke Frazza, Project Development, Trout Headwaters, Inc.
(703) 244-7460
luke@troutheadwaters.com

Boiler Plate: 
From our partners at Trout Headwaters, Inc. comes news about enhancements to the Waders in the Water aquatic restoration training they offer to Corpsmembers.

Photos of the Month: March 2015

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps Facebook pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from March 2015.

 


Earth Conservation Corps 



Texas Conservation Corps 



Washington Conservation Corps 



Washington Conservation Corps - Swiftwater Rescue Training

 


Canyon Country Youth Corps 



Maine Conservation Corps 



Greater Miami Service Corps 
Secretary Jewell; City of Miami Mayor Regalado; GMSC Corpsmembers; Deborah Dorsett, Director and Alton Andrews, Team Supervisor.




Los Angeles Conservation Corps - Marie Walker, Vice President of The Corps Network, with LACC Corpsmembers and actor Joe Morton




Arizona Conservation Corps 



Kupu 



Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia 



Montana Conservation Corps 



Mile High Youth Corps 



Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

 

 

 

The Corps Network in Hollywood: The Serve A Year Campaign Launch Event


On Monday – March 23, 2015 – The Corps Network participated in the launch event of ServiceNation’s Serve A Year campaign at the Jimmy Kimmel Live! studio in Los Angeles, CA.


Background Info:

Announced in the fall of 2014 at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, Serve A Year is a campaign to unite national service organizations with some of the most influential voices in entertainment, business and technology in an effort to inspire young Americans to serve their country. The goal is that people will one day ask each other “where did you serve?” – similar to how we now ask each other “where did you go to college?”

To make national service a more prominent part of the American way of life, Serve A Year is focused on integrating national service into popular culture with the help of script writers, television and movie producers, celebrities, viral video stars and influential businesses. The campaign has already experienced success; AmeriCorps has been mentioned or written into the plotlines of popular TV shows including Parks & Recreation, True Detective, Melissa & Joey, and The Middle.  

Serve A Year is supported by innovative companies, including Airbnb, Tumblr, Comcast and NBCUniversal, as well as 18 of the country’s leading national service organizations. Along with YouthBuild USA, The Corps Network represents the Opportunity Youth pillar of the campaign, championing the idea that participating in national service can be a transformative experience for disconnected young people. 



The Launch Event:
 

Hosted at the Jimmy Kimmel Live! studio in Los Angeles, CA, the launch of the Serve A Year campaign included appearances by Jimmy Kimmel and Chelsea Clinton;  audience members included over 200 Hollywood executives, writers and producers, and senior corporate executives. The Corps Network was represented at the event by Marie Walker, Vice President of The Corps Network; Bruce Saito, Executive Director Emeritus of Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) and a member of TCN’s Board of Directors; and several current and former LACC Corpsmembers. Kendrick Collins, an alumni of LACC, was one of three Corpsmembers to speak during the event about his national service experience.

After the launch event, Marie Walker and Kendrick Collins visited the studio’s green room to watch the filming of that evening’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! During the taping, Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Chelsea Clinton about Serve A Year and the duo released a PSA about the campaign. 

Blog Slideshow: 

Mary Ellen's Blog: Play, Learn, Serve and Work - What Corps Do Best


Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Miami's Mayor Tomas Pedro Regalado with Greater Miami Service Corps. Miami is one of 50 cities where The Corps Network, YMCA, National League of Cities and the Department of the Interior are partnering to get more youth outdoors.


For over a hundred years, the YMCA has provided communities with the resources and facilities to help people of all ages lead healthier, more active lifestyles. Through classes, camps, organized sports and programs offering everything from youth counseling to healthy cooking tips, the Y helps individuals and families find fun ways to exercise their bodies, minds and spirits. The Y is more than a gym; it’s a community hub.

With such a strong history of engaging people in play and activity, it only makes sense that YMCA would be involved in promoting Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s initiative to bridge the divide between America’s youth and the great outdoors. Since last spring, the Y and the National League of Cities (NLC) have been working in partnership to advance the Secretary’s goal to get more youth playing in parks and participating in outdoor recreation, learning in nature’s classroom, volunteering on public lands, and working to preserve and restore our natural resources. American Express committed $5 million to this project just last week.  Now, with additional support from the Department of Interior, The Corps Network will join YMCA and NLC by integrating the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) into their efforts. 

The Corps Network has been actively involved in the DOI’s youth initiative ever since Secretary Jewell announced it in the fall of 2013. Service and Conservation Corps are essential to meeting the initiative’s Service and Work goals to bring the 21CSC to scale and develop the next generation of conservation stewards and land managers by engaging 100,000 youth and veterans in projects that protect, restore and enhance America’s natural and cultural resources. Now, through this partnership with DOI, YMCA and NLC, The Corps Network will be more directly involved in meeting the youth initiative’s Play and Learn goals.

Over the next three years, member organizations of The Corps Network will place individual Corpsmembers at YMCA branches in 50 cities across the country. These Corpsmembers will assist the Y's Community Coordinators, building off YMCA and NLC relationships with community organizations and local leadership to develop opportunities for people to get outdoors and participate in environmental service projects. The goal is for each Community Coordinator to engage 10,000 to 20,000 volunteers in each of the 50 selected cities. Some of these service projects will undoubtedly be with Corps.

I am excited about this new partnership and believe it will prove to be an effective way to introduce a new audience to Corps, outdoor recreation and the importance of conservation. It will allow Corps to shine for what they do best: engaging people in service that improves communities and the environment. This initiative will result in more youth playing in parks and learning about nature through outdoor exploration; more volunteers protecting and enhancing their local natural spaces; and more people engaging with their local Corps.

The Corps Network and its member Corps have been helping people develop strong, lasting connections to nature for many years. Now, with the creation of the Community Coordinator position and a role for Corpsmembers in assisting these Coordinators, Corps will be able to expand their important role in helping people play, learn, serve and work outdoors. 

Photos of the Month: February 2015

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps Facebook pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from February 2015.

 


Civic Works



Kupu



Earthcorps



Heart of Oregon Corps



Arizona Conservation Corps



American YouthWorks

 


Mile High Youth Corps



Greater Miami Service Corps 



Los Angeles Conservation Corps



PowerCorps PHL

 

 

Utah Conservation Corps to Launch Nation’s First Fossil-Free Bike Crew

From Utah Conservation Corps
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2015

The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) has secured a $20,000 grant from Utah State Park’s Recreational Trails Program to launch the nation’s first fossil-free bike crew. This four-person AmeriCorps crew will be based out of UCC’s Salt Lake City field office and will use cargo bicycles to transport themselves, tools, food, and camping gear to two Utah State Park sites for seven weeks during the summer. The crew will cycle from Salt Lake City to both East Canyon State Park (33 miles away) and Deer Creek Canyon (56 miles away) for six-day work hitches before returning back to Salt Lake City. During their 7 weeks, the crew will complete two miles of trail construction and five miles trail maintenance at the two state parks.

“This crew advances the UCC and the conservation corps movement into a more sustainable future” said director Sean Damitz. “UCC staff has been dedicated to launching this crew to address issues of carbon footprint and air quality while sending a message that conservation work can be completed solely by human-powered transportation. “

A kickoff event for the crew is being planned for downtown Salt Lake City at noon on Wednesday June 3, 2015. The UCC is currently recruiting applicants to be part of this bike crew. The UCC is also approaching businesses for additional funding and in-kind donations for the crew.

In 2014, 165 UCC AmeriCorps members created or maintained 177 miles of trail, constructed or repaired 8.5 miles of fence, restored 14,996 acres of public land and recruited 4,214 volunteers serving 9,582 hours on projects throughout Utah.

More information on UCC can be found at http://www.usu.edu/ucc

About the Division of Student Services at USU

Led by Vice President James Morales, the Division of Student Services at Utah State University is committed to student success and organized into 15 unique departments, each with a variety of dedicated programs and services that foster engagement, leadership, wellness and access and diversity for all students.

Contact:

Sean Damitz, Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning

(cell) 435-770-6104
sean.damitz@usu.edu

Boiler Plate: 
The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) has secured a $20,000 grant from Utah State Park’s Recreational Trails Program to launch the nation’s first fossil-free bike crew. This four-person AmeriCorps crew will be based out of UCC’s Salt Lake City field office and will use cargo bicycles to transport themselves, tools, food, and camping gear to two Utah State Park sites for seven weeks during the summer.

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