David Muraki Honored as One of 20 AmeriCorps Trailblazers

Story submitted by the California Conservation Corps

California Conservation Corps Director David Muraki was honored as one of 20 AmeriCorps Service Trailblazers during a 20th anniversary AmeriCorps event in San Francisco last week.

David served as deputy director for CaliforniaVolunteers from 1996 to 2007, leading public policy efforts and supporting AmeriCorps national service and disaster volunteer programs.  He was also architect of a statewide system matching volunteers with organizations that need them. 

In 2007, David was appointed director of the California Conservation Corps.

Among those also honored as Trailblazers at the San Francisco ceremony were former first lady Maria Shriver and Sacramento Congresswoman Doris Matsui.

Boiler Plate: 
California Conservation Corps Director David Muraki was honored as one of 20 AmeriCorps Service Trailblazers during a 20th anniversary AmeriCorps event in San Francisco last week.

Corps Responding to Wildfires, Floods, and More

Article, written by CNCS Staff, appears on the National Service Tumblr. Published July 25, 2014.

Disaster Services Unit update

Washington Wildfires 

69 AmeriCorps members and staff from Washington Conservation Corps have responded to destructive wildfires in Washington state, serving more than 6,800 hours so far. Disasters include the Mills Canyon Fire in Entiat, the Carlton Fire Complex in Winthrop, and the Chiwaukum Creek Fire in Leavenworth.

We’re collaborating with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the state agency tasked with wildfire response and management. AmeriCorps members are supporting firefighting camp operations including supply management, distribution of firefighting resources, inventory control, order processing, food distribution, and camp upkeep. 

Also, Senior Corps RSVP volunteers from Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council and AmeriCorps VISTA members are assisting the Red Cross with shelter operations in Wenatchee, Chelan, and Brewster. 

AmeriCorps St. Louis Responds to Clarksville Flooding

On July 2, a 14-member AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team answered the call to help the area that sits about 75 miles north of its home base, performing flood protection work in and around Clarksville’s historic district, businesses, and homes. This marked the third time the Emergency Response Team has provided services to the town in 15 months. The latest reports from earlier this week found that AmeriCorps St. Louis members had served more than 1,072 hours, registered 268 volunteers, leveraged another 2,143 volunteers, and supervised 382 volunteers. 

Floods in the north: A community comes together

AmeriCorps members with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa are responding to flooding in Minnesota:

"We are the community. We serve the people who need help the most, wherever it may be. We do what needs to be done and we don’t stop working until it is done."

Read more at the Conservation Corps website.

Maine Conservation Corps Receives $352,000 in AmeriCorps Funding

Article, written by Jym St. Pierre, appears on Maine Environmental News.

The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded $1.29 million in grants for 2014 to three Maine AmeriCorps organizations, including $351,583 for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Conservation Corps (MCC). Maine Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members work with local communities to create and maintain sustainable trails in Maine State Parks and public lands.

Governor Paul R. LePage welcomed the news that more young people will have the opportunity to work in Maine communities. "This is an excellent opportunity to serve Maine communities and get the skills and confidence that comes from working with others to achieve goals," said Governor LePage. "The Maine Conservation Corps has done tremendous work making positive contributions to our great State and Nation."

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner Walt Whitcomb also welcomed news of the award and highlighted the important work that the MCC does on behalf of Maine citizens. "81 AmeriCorps national service members will help build infrastructure in our public places that generations of visitors can enjoy," said Whitcomb. "With hard work they build the trails, clear the brush and learn hands-on conservation techniques. Since 1983, MCC-supported projects have helped make America's beautiful parks more accessible to visitors." 

The MCC's four-fold mission is to: accomplish conservation projects, create conservation employment, provide conservation education, and engage conservation volunteers. Some of the scheduled summer trail projects that AmeriCorps national service members will accomplish include:

Southern Maine

Vaughan Woods State Park, South Berwick Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal Pineland Public Land Unit, Gray/New Gloucester

Northern Maine

Deboullie Mountain/Deboullie Public Reserved Land, Saint Francis Barnard Mountain/Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., Patten Number 4 Mountain/Little Moose/Eagle Rock, Greenville

Western Maine

Tumbledown Mountain, Weld Mt. Blue State Park, Weld Grafton Notch State Park, Newry 

Eastern Maine

Schoodic Woods, Winter Harbor 

The Maine AmeriCorps national service positions are among $205 million in grants across the country that will allow more than 43,000 Americans to serve as AmeriCorps national service members. These funds will support over 280 organizations engaged in national service, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the Maine Conservation Corps, Catholic Charities, Bangor AmeriCorps Opportunity Collaborative, LearningWorks AIMS HIGH, and many others.

More information on the 2014 AmeriCorps national grants and the 2014 national grantee list can found at http://www.nationalservice.gov. 

More information on the Maine Conservation Corps can be found at http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/mcc. 

Information on applying for a term of AmeriCorps national service can be found at my.americorps.gov.

Southeast Youth Corps Introduces Their First-Ever AmeriCorps Conservation Crew: the Bobincas

Article, written by Corpsmember Joe Sherman, appears on Southeast Youth Corp's website.

The week started for the first ever Americorps SYC crew with a drizzle of rain, but our spirits were not dampened at all! Under the stalwart guidance of our trusty leaders Randolph “The Rock Man” Hudson and Ellen “Aces” Baker, we spent the first part of Monday morning at the office going through training and basic orientation. Sarah, Molly, Taylor, Joe, Josh, and Vicky are our names, and we soon joined together under the team name “Bobincas,” a name which will hopefully live on into legacy. The crew lost no time in meshing well, and upon arriving at the work site and meeting the delightfully soft-spoken and enthusiastic Ranger Bobby Fulcher, the heartbeats of all of us were quickly elevated by the prospect of beginning work, and later with the physical efforts demanded of us.

Our primary task all week involved shifting large stones to create a rock staircase down which nature enthusiasts might trod for generations to come. The Rock Man called it a “hundred year staircase,” and we all soon learned the precision and detail that such a task required. Ranger Bob pointed out that such staircases are reminiscent of the Incan stone wonders of Machu Pichu, and thus the name Bobincas was born. There were several core components for the corps to incorporate into the hillside corporeity, namely creating more than just a little “crush” by crushing small rocks into smaller rocks, “rock-shopping” for the stones that had the correct dimensions and features for each section of the staircase, moving the stones from their various locations via rock sling, teamwork, and brute force, and the actual act of using crush, rock bar, double-jack, shovel, and pick mattock to securely set the stones in their new homes among their new stone friends.  

Many highlights of the week were experienced, not least of all the morning stretch and exercise circle, the verbal distribution of local lore by Ranger Bob, and the formal expulsion by the Rangers of many trespassing wayfarers who had bypassed the “Park Closed Until July 1” signs. We installed thirteen steps in total, rerouted a creek, and helped delineate trails. All of us drastically increased our proficiency with this particular form of landscape architecture, as well as our skills with the sundry tools involved in it’s realization. Team Bobincas has set a firm foundation for the remainder of our 8-week program, a foundation as strong as the keystone steps on our Incan escalator. 

[Video] Watch 200 Montana Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Members Take Oath to Serve

The Corps Network Receives National AmeriCorps Grants

AmeriCorps members of Kupu's Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps at work. 

Former Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps Member Honored as White House Champion of Change for Her Promotion of Solar Power

 

Today - Thursday, April 24, 2014 - the White House recognized Kate Bowman, a former 

Utah Conservation Corps AmeriCorps member, as a "Champion of Change." Bowman was one of 10 people honoroed for their efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Bowman served two AmeriCorps positions with the Utah Conservation Corps as an individual placement at Utah Clean Energy. She served a 900 hour position in 2012 and a 1700 hour position 2013. Bowman completed outreach projects for the Community Solar Project. Her efforts expanded the program in Park City/Summit County to empower local communities to band together and negotiate bulk-pricing on solar rooftop installations.  

Congratulations, Kate! 

Read more about Kate:

Read about other Corpsmembers/former Corpsmembers who were recently honored as White House Champions of Change

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.

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