Montana Conservation Corps helps build "Vigilante Bike Park"


 

Taken from the Helena Independent Record 
By Al Knauber, PHOTOS by Eliza Wiley, Independent Record

More than a year’s worth of planning became a reality in about five hours of work.

The Montana Conservation Corps, which has helped build trails across the state, wanted to do a project with greater visibility and enlisted the aid of Carroll College students in late September. The group assembled at Helena’s Centennial Park for the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

With shovels and sweat, they and other volunteers, numbering 112 in all, created Vigilante Bike Park, Helena’s bike park.

T&E The Cat Rental Store provided a “skid-steer,” a small piece of machinery that’s been compared to a mini-bulldozer, that Joe Robbins drove that day. Chris Charlton of Jefferson City brought one too and helped move dirt for the first track at the bike park, said Will Harmon, who has long wanted to see a bike park in Helena and participated in the effort to make it a reality.

Only a small portion of the 3.9 acres set aside for bicycling at Centennial Park was used to build this first track.

By the end of that day, a rider gave the track a test drive. It passed the test.

The track isn’t just for mountain bikes; it is designed for those who relish the chance to jump and flip and twist on smaller BMX bikes.

Amy Teegarden, Helena’s parks and recreation director, said she’s heard the track has been called “sick,” a designation that pleases her.

In the vernacular of those who ride, she explained, this is a compliment.

The first track is what’s called a “pump track” and relies on a rider’s initial momentum and the spacing between rises and dips in the track and berms instead of pedaling to keep a rider speeding along.

Riders push down on their handlebars and pedals as they descend from each rise on the track to accelerate and then rise up from that squat position as the bike crests the next hill. The result of this physical workout converts gravitational force into speed.

But that’s the scientific explanation for what riders say is fun.



 

“It’s like a mini-roller coaster for bikes,” Harmon said.

“It’s like the craziest mountain biking you’ve ever been through, but it’s condensed into a 300 foot loop,” he added.

Get him talking about the course and the excitement is evident in his voice. Harmon is an avid bicyclist himself, as are his two sons, and he has bicycles specially designed for the type of riding he will do. One of them is intended to be taken to the top of ski slopes in the summer and ridden to the bottom. He grins when he explains this. His trio of bicycles, he said, is worth more than his car.

This first pump track is one of three that will be built, say Harmon and Pat Doyle, the Helena Tourism Alliance’s community outreach director. One of the other two pump tracks will be less challenging and intended more for children who are just beginning to develop their bicycling skills. The third pump track will be more advanced and have more of those features that BMX riders want to see.

Having a bike park that is appealing to BMX riders is important.

Centennial Park was built atop a former city landfill. A few feet beneath the surface is a liner that keeps snowmelt and rain from leeching contaminants out of the buried garbage. As plans were made for how to convert the site into a recreational attraction, an area for BMX riders was proposed, Teegarden said.

However, in the five years that she’s been the parks director, that focus has shifted to mountain biking.

Despite that shift, providing for BMX riders has remained important because without a place to practice, these riders have been using the skate park as a place to ride.

The skate park, however, wasn’t built for multiple use, Teegarden said.

The bike park isn’t intended to be just a place to ride, said Doyle, but a place for people “to get more comfortable on mountain bikes before they go out on trails.”

A skills track is planned for the bike park that will also allow riders to traverse a portion of city history. Granite slabs salvaged as old buildings were demolished in the 1970s during the urban renewal movement will be incorporated into this design.

“We’ve incorporated it into various parks including the walking mall,” Teegarden said of the granite slabs.

Bike park features are being designed by the city with suggestions from those who ride mountain bikes, Harmon said. Industry standards for bike park features are being used in the design.

“One of the really unique things about this process is that it’s on city land,” Doyle said.

Other communities, he explained, have struggled to find locations for their bike parks. Doyle predicts communities will see the value of bike parks and embrace them in the coming years even if for now it has yet to blossom as an accepted urban recreation.

“It’s a very proactive thing for the city to do,” he added.

Some 2,000 cubic yards of dirt will be needed to make the entire park a reality, as will about $180,000.

The installation of the first pump track cost about $5,000. This is less than was anticipated because of the volunteer labor, Teegarden said.

The city contributed land for the bike park and some $20,000.

Doyle and Harmon say they see a return on the community investment in a bike park.

Having the first track in place at the bike park gives people more of an idea of what the facility will offer, Doyle said, and will help with fundraising.

He said he sees the bike park as a tourism attraction and said, “This bike park will be the first of its kind in the state.”

“People are always looking for other places to ride,” he continued. “Helena is already an incredible place to ride.”

“Right now, it’s a little bit of an underground tourism niche,” Harmon said of those who seek out bike parks.

But he, too, sees the potential.

“The people who do this stuff aren’t shy about spending money on their sport,” Harmon said. “And they travel.”

Centennial Park has become more than a showcase for urban recreation. The area set aside for dogs to run off-leash was made possible by donations as was the installation of a roughly 11-foot-tall climbing boulder. Making the bike park a reality will rely on the same sorts of community support.

Donations are being accepted by the Helena Recreation Foundation, which has a nonprofit tax status allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to the bike park, Doyle said.

Harmon looks for the first two phases of construction to be completed in about a year from now. He and Doyle say they appreciate the city’s efforts to make the bike park a reality.

“We can’t thank Craig (Marr, Helena’s parks’ superintendent) and Amy enough. They’ve been tremendous,” Harmon said, adding, “The city is lucky to have them, not just as employees, but as people with vision and insight.”

Montana Conservation Corps helps build "Vigilante Bike Park"


 

Taken from the Helena Independent Record 
By Al Knauber, PHOTOS by Eliza Wiley, Independent Record

More than a year’s worth of planning became a reality in about five hours of work.

The Montana Conservation Corps, which has helped build trails across the state, wanted to do a project with greater visibility and enlisted the aid of Carroll College students in late September. The group assembled at Helena’s Centennial Park for the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day.

With shovels and sweat, they and other volunteers, numbering 112 in all, created Vigilante Bike Park, Helena’s bike park.

T&E The Cat Rental Store provided a “skid-steer,” a small piece of machinery that’s been compared to a mini-bulldozer, that Joe Robbins drove that day. Chris Charlton of Jefferson City brought one too and helped move dirt for the first track at the bike park, said Will Harmon, who has long wanted to see a bike park in Helena and participated in the effort to make it a reality.

Only a small portion of the 3.9 acres set aside for bicycling at Centennial Park was used to build this first track.

By the end of that day, a rider gave the track a test drive. It passed the test.

The track isn’t just for mountain bikes; it is designed for those who relish the chance to jump and flip and twist on smaller BMX bikes.

Amy Teegarden, Helena’s parks and recreation director, said she’s heard the track has been called “sick,” a designation that pleases her.

In the vernacular of those who ride, she explained, this is a compliment.

The first track is what’s called a “pump track” and relies on a rider’s initial momentum and the spacing between rises and dips in the track and berms instead of pedaling to keep a rider speeding along.

Riders push down on their handlebars and pedals as they descend from each rise on the track to accelerate and then rise up from that squat position as the bike crests the next hill. The result of this physical workout converts gravitational force into speed.

But that’s the scientific explanation for what riders say is fun.



 

“It’s like a mini-roller coaster for bikes,” Harmon said.

“It’s like the craziest mountain biking you’ve ever been through, but it’s condensed into a 300 foot loop,” he added.

Get him talking about the course and the excitement is evident in his voice. Harmon is an avid bicyclist himself, as are his two sons, and he has bicycles specially designed for the type of riding he will do. One of them is intended to be taken to the top of ski slopes in the summer and ridden to the bottom. He grins when he explains this. His trio of bicycles, he said, is worth more than his car.

This first pump track is one of three that will be built, say Harmon and Pat Doyle, the Helena Tourism Alliance’s community outreach director. One of the other two pump tracks will be less challenging and intended more for children who are just beginning to develop their bicycling skills. The third pump track will be more advanced and have more of those features that BMX riders want to see.

Having a bike park that is appealing to BMX riders is important.

Centennial Park was built atop a former city landfill. A few feet beneath the surface is a liner that keeps snowmelt and rain from leeching contaminants out of the buried garbage. As plans were made for how to convert the site into a recreational attraction, an area for BMX riders was proposed, Teegarden said.

However, in the five years that she’s been the parks director, that focus has shifted to mountain biking.

Despite that shift, providing for BMX riders has remained important because without a place to practice, these riders have been using the skate park as a place to ride.

The skate park, however, wasn’t built for multiple use, Teegarden said.

The bike park isn’t intended to be just a place to ride, said Doyle, but a place for people “to get more comfortable on mountain bikes before they go out on trails.”

A skills track is planned for the bike park that will also allow riders to traverse a portion of city history. Granite slabs salvaged as old buildings were demolished in the 1970s during the urban renewal movement will be incorporated into this design.

“We’ve incorporated it into various parks including the walking mall,” Teegarden said of the granite slabs.

Bike park features are being designed by the city with suggestions from those who ride mountain bikes, Harmon said. Industry standards for bike park features are being used in the design.

“One of the really unique things about this process is that it’s on city land,” Doyle said.

Other communities, he explained, have struggled to find locations for their bike parks. Doyle predicts communities will see the value of bike parks and embrace them in the coming years even if for now it has yet to blossom as an accepted urban recreation.

“It’s a very proactive thing for the city to do,” he added.

Some 2,000 cubic yards of dirt will be needed to make the entire park a reality, as will about $180,000.

The installation of the first pump track cost about $5,000. This is less than was anticipated because of the volunteer labor, Teegarden said.

The city contributed land for the bike park and some $20,000.

Doyle and Harmon say they see a return on the community investment in a bike park.

Having the first track in place at the bike park gives people more of an idea of what the facility will offer, Doyle said, and will help with fundraising.

He said he sees the bike park as a tourism attraction and said, “This bike park will be the first of its kind in the state.”

“People are always looking for other places to ride,” he continued. “Helena is already an incredible place to ride.”

“Right now, it’s a little bit of an underground tourism niche,” Harmon said of those who seek out bike parks.

But he, too, sees the potential.

“The people who do this stuff aren’t shy about spending money on their sport,” Harmon said. “And they travel.”

Centennial Park has become more than a showcase for urban recreation. The area set aside for dogs to run off-leash was made possible by donations as was the installation of a roughly 11-foot-tall climbing boulder. Making the bike park a reality will rely on the same sorts of community support.

Donations are being accepted by the Helena Recreation Foundation, which has a nonprofit tax status allowing for tax-deductible donations to be made to the bike park, Doyle said.

Harmon looks for the first two phases of construction to be completed in about a year from now. He and Doyle say they appreciate the city’s efforts to make the bike park a reality.

“We can’t thank Craig (Marr, Helena’s parks’ superintendent) and Amy enough. They’ve been tremendous,” Harmon said, adding, “The city is lucky to have them, not just as employees, but as people with vision and insight.”

TCN and Earth Conservation Corps Participate in Great Outdoors America Week event on the National Mall



 

On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, The Corps Network and Earth Conservation Corps participated in the Kids, Youth and the Great Outdoors Festival and Walk on the National Mall in recognition of GO Week (Great Outdoors America Week, June 24 – June 27, 2013). Earth Conservation Corps demonstrated two birds from their Raptor Education Program, while other organizations offered activities ranging from knot tying to mountain biking and kayaking lessons.

The purpose of the event, sponsored by OAK (Outdoors Alliance for Kids), was to celebrate youth in nature and raise awareness about the importance of outdoor recreation and various efforts to ensure that all kids and families have opportunities to get outside.

A press conference on the NE lawn of the Washington Monument included speeches by Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army; Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club; Jamie Williams, President of The Wilderness Society; Jackie Ostfeld, Chair of OAK; and Arturo Cervantes, Outdoor Nation Youth Ambassador. Following the press conference, guides from GirlTrek led Festival participants on a walk to the Capitol. See below for photos from the event. 

 




Mountain biking lessons

 


Mountain biking lessons

 


Secretary Jewell

 


Daryl Wallace of Earth Conservation Corps with Skye the hawk

 


Secretary Jewell

 


Chair Nancy Sutley

 


Knot tying exhibit

2013 Project of the Year, Flying Weed Warriors of LACC


What do helicopters, paintball guns, and inner city youth have to do with invasive plant removal? A lot actually. Corps often engage in projects to fight the advance of non-native species in our parks and forests, but Corpsmembers involved in Los Angeles Conservation Corps’s Flying Weed Warriors project quite literally went to battle against invasive plants.

Invasive plant removal usually involves Corpsmembers trekking through forests to cut down or pull out the offending species. What makes the Flying Weed Warriors project different is that they used a cutting-edge land management technique known as Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT). HBT involves shooting paintballs filled with high concentrations of herbicide from modified paintball guns. Shooting the guns from a helicopter enables all infestations to be accessed and treated quickly. Using the helicopter also provided an ideal vantage point to detect any new invasive species. Corpsmembers with the Flying Weed Warriors project used HBT to treat over 100 pampas grass infestations on Santa Cruz Island – the largest and most biologically diverse of California’s eight Channel Islands.

Flying Weed Warriors was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, The Nature Conservancy Santa Cruz Island Preserve, the University of Hawaii, Native Range, Inc., and the generous support of the JiJi foundation. In addition to successfully helping stop the spread of a harmful species in one of America’s most environmentally unique areas, the partnerships of the Flying Weed Warriors project connected a wide range of people who otherwise would have never met.

“Although the project’s focus was research based conservation, it also helped bridge educational and socio-economic gaps between participants, leading to friendships and mentorships that would be unlikely without this unique collaboration” said Dan Knapp, Los Angeles Conservation Corps’ Deputy Director. “For this particular project, Corpsmembers were not just a labor force or mechanism for successful conservation work; they were members of a cutting edge research team.”

In many ways, the Flying Weed Warriors project was an eye-opening experience for the Corpsmembers involved. Before the project, none of the Corpsmembers had ever been to the Channel Islands, ridden on a boat, or flown in a helicopter. During their down time, Corpsmembers went snorkeling and explored the island – a place that has many endemic (and endangered) plant and animal species. The project was also an eye-opener for the researchers involved. Corpsmembers and researchers, including Dr. James Leary from University of Hawaii and Dr. Guy Keiser from University of California Davis, all lived together for up to four days at a time. This allowed members of the academic community to engage and teach members of a historically disenfranchised population.

Corpsmembers involved in Flying Weed Warriors participated in important research that supports efforts to get the use of HBT permitted throughout California. One of the project partners, Native Range, Inc., is now eager to hire Corpsmember participants once they receive State Herbicide application licenses. Native Range has even offered to help with preparation for the state licensing test.

In addition to gaining exposure to new places, new ideas, and new kinds of people, Corpsmembers in the Flying Weed Warriors project simply had a lot of fun. After all, what’s not to like about flying around in helicopters with paintball guns in the name of science?

 

Veterans-youth conservation partnership to restore Colorado’s public lands

 

Taken from Pagosun.com - by Jennifer Freeman, Special to the SUN  

The Conservation Lands Foundation and the Colorado Youth Corps Association have announced the launch of their new Veterans-Youth Conservation Corps Partnership at a celebration and kickoff in Denver.

Nearly 100 supporters gathered to launch this new public-private collaboration that unites the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), conservation corps, private industry and veterans groups to provide Colorado veterans and youth with employment and job training opportunities working to restore and maintain Colorado’s public lands.

“When you take Colorado youth corps, tie them in with veterans, mix that with the Bureau of Land Management staff that’s in Colorado, then you begin to get a pretty rich soup,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, addressing the crowd. “Mix in some private industry funders to provide resources or donations, add the Conservation Lands Foundation. Now it’s seasoned, now it’s got heat and energy.”

Working on Colorado’s public lands, including the McInnis Canyon and Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Areas and Canyons of the Ancients, corps members will work 10-hour days, four days a week on a variety of projects. The veterans and young people will be fixing trails, improving wildlife habitat, restoring wetlands and rivers, and cutting out unhealthy trees or undergrowth that would readily feed forest fires.

“This partnership is about training and employing our veterans and young people; they are our future conservationists, our future resource managers, and having the opportunity to hone their skills in this setting is invaluable,” commented Jennifer Freeman, executive director at the Colorado Youth Corps Association. “We look forward to expanding job opportunities for young people and veterans who want to serve the people and lands of Colorado.”

Colorado BLM is providing some funding for the veterans and youth corps for 2013. The Conservation Lands Foundation is leading an effort to seek additional funding from energy companies that work in Colorado and other private industries in order to expand funding for this partnership.

In addition to Gov. Hickenlooper, two current conservation corps members — former Marine Corey Adamy and Western Colorado Conservation Corps crew leader Eddica Tuttle — also spoke at the event.

Tuttle has worked since 2011 for the Western Colorado Conservation Corps near Grand Junction, earning AmeriCorps Education Awards for higher education and the opportunity to be the first in her immediate family to attend college. Adamy is a Marine Corps veteran and leads a crew of veterans in the Durango-Farmington area in a wildlands firefighting program for the Southwest Conservation Corps.

Adamy talked about how veterans often miss the camaraderie and physical activity they experienced in the military. Many need to transition back into civilian life, want to physically work outdoors and they enjoy the teamwork and structure of a conservation corps.?

“The agencies (such as BLM) love the veterans crews and our work,” Adamy stated. “We’re doing great work on the ground with our wildlands fire program that they couldn’t get done with just the funds they have.”

Charlotte Overby, with the Conservation Lands Foundation, sees the partnership as a great way to invite the private sector to show their support for veterans and young people, be good stewards of some of the state’s most treasured public lands and take pride in what they accomplish.

“This is an ideal partnership with the potential to be robust and productive in job creation and habitat restoration,” Overby stated. “Colorado’s public lands are part of our shared outdoor heritage and so important to our economy, and preserving them for future generations must be a priority. This partnership will create immediate job opportunities and prepare our future natural resource stewards to carry out that mission.”

"Little things that the Conservation Corps changes about you that make a big difference" - Kenny Mai, Corpsmember of the Year 2009


Where are they now? - Catching up 2009 Corpsmember of the Year,

Kenny Mai

Kenneth Mai, a former member of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, won Corpsmember of the Year in 2009 for his commitment to service and self change. Read below to find out what he's been up to since accepting his award, or find out more about Kenny and his Corps experience by reading his bio from our 2009 national conference.

Kenny Mai admits that he was once headed down a bad path. He was affiliated with a gang when he was a teenager and experimented with drugs and alcohol. He faced homelessness and an unstable family life. Kenny, who moved to Los Angeles from Belize when he was 13, also dropped out of high school due to his frustrations as a non-native English speaker. Fortunately, he was able to turn things around with the help of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC).

Kenny joined LACC in 2007 after hearing about the program from a friend. By this point Kenny had already participated in Job Corps and earned his GED. However, he still saw room for self-improvement and needed to break ties with his gang background. LACC’s program, which offers youth the chance to go back to school while also gaining work experience and earning a little money, seemed too good to pass up. While he was with LACC, Kenny became competent in carpentry, roofing, plumbing, irrigation and drywall installation. In addition to job skills, Kenny also learned important life skills.

“They taught me really everything that I know now. They’re the ones that took me out of the streets. It was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had,” said Kenny. “The most important thing I learned was to be a leader and I got work skills. They taught me how to be on time. A lot of the training they gave me I’m still using today.”

These days, Kenny works for the Koreatown Youth and Community Center. With KYCC, Kenny has planted trees, removed graffiti from public places, and participated in community cleanups and landscaping projects. Kenny is also currently contracted through KYCC with Southern California Edison’s Energy Conservation Program. Kenny works in an Edison warehouse driving forklifts and managing inventory, but he mainly helps organize crews that go out and provide free retrofitting services to Edison customers.

Kenny left the Los Angeles Conservation Corps in 2009 and went straight to KYCC, but he says that his experience with LACC still impacts his day-to-day life.

“It’s funny because me and my coworker always talk about this. There are little things that the Conservation Corps changes about you that make a big difference,” said Kenny. “Now I can’t litter! I always find a trashcan because I’ve done the work of cleaning up trash. I’ve gone from not worrying about it to seeing how littering is a real problem and I’m adding to it. Now I’m more conservative. It used to be ‘whatever,’ but now I’m thinking ‘save the planet.’ Now I’ve got to worry about my kids.”

Looking back at his time with LACC, Kenny is most proud of a tree planting project he participated in near his home. The Corps’ goal was to plant 500 trees in a single day, but they ended up planting 600. Kenny says the trees are still standing and it’s a great feeling to walk past them.

Kenny is also proud of his time as president of the Conservation Corps’ Leadership Council. He says his presidency was an important learning experience that taught him leadership skills he uses today. During his presidency, Kenny managed to change how the council is run and organized.

“When I started, they were paying the Corpsmembers to be in the council – giving them a stipend. But I said, I don’t think the leaders should be getting paid to be leaders. I didn’t think they should get the stipend – if they want to be in the council, they should join out of their own will,” said Kenny. “Before that, there were like six people in the council all getting the stipend, and when I came in there was like 18 people in the council just a month later and they weren’t getting paid. That was really cool. They inspired me and I inspired them.”

Through his position on the Leadership Council, Kenny became an important recruiter for LACC. He reached out to youth who were dealing with many of the same issues he had experienced before joining the Corps.

“I got to get a lot of Corpsmembers off the street and keep them in the programs. Because when they saw me doing it, they could say ‘if he can do it, I can do it,’” said Kenny. “I would tell them about how they can learn to be a leader, and they can learn work skills, and they can do their community service part. They can have mentors there. What we go through in the street, it was the same for the people that work [at LACC]. Many of the staff were Corpsmembers, so what you’ve been through – they’ve been through.”

Kenny is busy with KYCC and Southern California Edison, but he still finds time to volunteer. Recently, he has helped construct a new community garden near his home. He hopes to eventually go back to school to earn a business degree – he has thought about one day opening his own small business, perhaps a carwash. Kenny also still hopes to work with LACC, the organization that he feels changed his life.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t have these work skills,” said Kenny. “I’d probably be in jail, to tell you the truth. I wouldn’t be working. I would be in the streets with a gang or something if I didn’t get into the Conservation Corps.”

Kenny is now 26-years-old. He has one son and a second son on the way.

Conservation Corps Exchange Program: New Mexico to Texas


Picture taken from the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps Facebook page: RMYC members visiting the American YouthWorks Corps in Austin, Texas

Austin’s American YouthWorks’ Texas Conservation Corps program is hosting a youth crew from Taos, New Mexico at Bastrop State Park this week.

(Press Release from American YouthWorks - November 7, 2012)

Austin, TX -  Austin’s American YouthWorks’ Texas Conservation Corps program is participating in an exchange that brings youth from Taos’ Rocky Mountain Youth Corps program to Bastrop State Park for a week of work rebuilding the park’s trails.  As the first part of the exchange, the Texas crew worked in the Carson National Forest near Taos, NM last month.

The Texas program has been working hard for one year to bring the central Texas State Park back to it’s former glory after last year’s Labor Day fire.  They have rebuilt trails, felled hazard trees, protected park culverts and other infrastructure from flood damage, managed volunteer days, and fashioned the park’s drought and fire killed trees into new park footbridges.  The crew is a part of American YouthWork’s Texas Conservation Corps.  There are similar Conservation Corps programs nationwide, especially across the American West, and many of them get together to share best practices.  During one of these sessions, the idea for a crew exchange was born.  The American YouthWorks team travelled to Taos on October 21st to spend a week of sub-freezing nights in the mountains of northern New Mexico.  They worked as a chainsaw crew alongside the Taos-based Rocky Mountain Youth Corps on a hazard and diseased tree thinning project in a mixed conifer forest in the Carson National Forest. 

On Monday, November 5 the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew travelled to Bastrop State Park and joined the American YouthWorks crew to complete additional trail work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at Bastrop State Park.  They will be working on reconstruction of trail footbridges that were lost in the fire.  At the end of their week, they will also spend Saturday with the Travis County Audubon Society installing hundreds of new native plants in east Austin’s Blair Woods Preserve.


MEDIA CONTACTS at AMERICAN YOUTHWORKS:

Corpsmembers Complete Park Upgrades

From the October 2012 edition of Corps Connection - the Sequoia Community Corps Newsletter 

In August, the Sequoia Community Corps completed work on 1800 square feet of concrete sidewalk for Mulcahy Park in the City of Tulare.  The sidewalk was six feet wide and 300 feet long.  The project, contracted by the City of Tulare, took one supervisor and four Corpsmembers eight working days to complete.
 
The new sidewalk is part of the City of Tulare’s new Mulcahy Park.  When complete, the park will have sports fields, lighted walking trails, shade arbors and covered play areas for young children.
 
The concrete sidewalk installed by the Sequoia Community Corps will provide an easy and safe way for area residents to pass from the south end of the park to the north.  It will also be included in the walking path that totals 1/2 mile.
 
Congratulations to the City of Tulare on this exciting project!

San Francisco Conservation Corps completes work in Buena Vista

After three months of hard and rewarding work, San Francisco Conservation Corps Corpsmembers have completed the Buena Vista Project. SFCC partnered with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's Capital Division to identify and area of erosion and safety concern in the oldest park in San Francisco, the Buena Vista. Their work included deconstruction and re-building of stairways and retaining walls. See a slide show about their work here.

2011 Project of the Year: Savings and Solar Power to Cash-Strapped Park

 

Winner: Los Angeles Conservation Corps

In 2010, Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) greatly increased its capacity to assist and implement solar installation projects. In a four way partnership with theL.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation, Permacity Solar, and Los Angeles Trade Tech College, a 50 killowatt commercial solar installation project was completed at Obregon Park. It was the first project of its kind in the county, and has proven so successful that more projects seem likely.

Obregon Park , located in the impacted community of East Los Angeles, is the cornerstone for recreation and residents in the area. By saving on electrical costs, a depleted parks department will be able to use excess money to provide more recreation programming to the residents in the area.

At the beginning and end of the program, community members were contacted by LACC Corpsmembers who went door-to-door to explain the value of the project. In addition to helping educate members of their community about the value of solar power, LACC Corpsmembers were able to shadow a Permacity Solar crew on the project. They participated from start to finish with planning and installation, working alongside the company’s technicians. They also received training in solar installation and theory from Los Angeles Trade Tech College.

Permacity Solar technicians and managers were impressed by the character, confidence, and commitment of the Corpsmembers toward the project. In fact, two of the Corpsmembers who worked on the project were subsequently hired in permanent positions by the company. As a direct result of this project, the County of Los Angeles has decided to pursue funding to install 10 similar systems in other county parks. These systems could result in as much as $2 million of projects directed toward LACC Corpsmembers.

In addition to the success of this project, LACC has benefited by building their own capacity to complete solar installations beyond residential homes. The Corps now has the ability to complete commercial applications. Currently the Corps is installing a 410 kilowatt commercial system at CBS Studios.

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