Plenary: A New Legacy - The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

The 2013 Corpsmembers of the Year, pictured with members of CCC Legacy Chapter #113. 

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The third plenary session of the conference was all about making the connection between the work of the CCC boys during the Great Depression and the work completed by Corps programs operating throughout the country today. The session started with a short film created by Lance and Brandon Kramer of the DC-based Meridian Hill Pictures documentary production company. The film captured the recollections and modern day activities of several men from CCC Legacy Chapter #113, which is based in Maryland. We were very fortunate to have several members of Chapter #113, all of whom served in the CCC over 70 years ago, in attendance at the session.

Sarah Huff, a 2013 Corpsmember of the Year from the California Conservation Corps, delivers an inspiring speech.

Following the film was a speech delivered by Sarah Huff, a 2013 Corpsmember of the Year from the California Conservation Corps. Sarah shared her story of taking time off from college just to see if the Corps might help her find direction for her future. After joining the Corps, Sarah quickly worked her way through the ranks eventually became a very skilled and trusted wild land firefighter.  

The heart of the session was a panel discussion involving leaders from Corps as well as from the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture. The main topic of discussion was how the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (based off the model of the CCC) will be implemented as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The speakers talked about how Corps can play a critical role in restoring America’s conservation infrastructure and developing the next generation of conservation leaders.

Left to Right: Harry Bruell, Meryl Harrell, Michael Gale, Jeff Parker, Destry Jarvis

Speakers included Michael Gale, Director of the Office of Youth, Partnerships and Service at the U.S. Department of the Interior; Meryl Harrell, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Jeff Parker, Executive Director of Northwest Youth Corps; Destry Jarvis, President of ORAPS, LLC; and Harry Bruell, President and CEO of Southwest Conservation Corps, who served as moderator.