Over 100 Volunteers – Including Young Adults from Across the Country – to Participate in Maintenance Projects on National Park Sites in Washington, DC

An official event of Great Outdoors Month, The Corps Network’s 4th Annual Great Outdoors Day of Service to raise awareness about maintenance backlog on public lands and the role of volunteerism and national service programs in maintaining parks. Chief of the U.S. Forest Service Thomas Tidwell to speak.

 

New Character, “Eli the Elk,” Traveling Nationwide to Promote Funding for National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Numerous Members of The Corps Network Participating in National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 28th is National Public Lands Day, and several members of The Corps Network are helping to lead events! Below you will find links and brief descriptions of the events that Corps will be helping to organize and make successful. You can also find a list of projects near to where you are by using the search tool on the National Public Lands Day website.

American Youthworks / Texas Conservation Corps (Austin, Texas)

Please join Texas Conservation Corps and Austin Parks Foundation for National Public Lands Day this Saturday, September 28th, 2013.
There are over 25 work projects across Austin that will be followed with an awesome lunch and after party at Zilker Park.  There will be food, drink, t-shirts and a give away of 20 3-day passes to ACL fest!
Flex Austin's volunteer muscle by celebrating this 20 year anniversary of National Public Lands Day!

Register at NPLD/Austin

Civic Works and The Student Conservation Association (Baltimore, Maryland)

Be a part of Maryland's Day to Serve initiative by giving back to Baltimore's public green spaces! In partnership with Civic Works, The Student Conservation Association will lead a group of volunteers in trail restoration work at Baltimore's own Gwynns Falls Leakin Park! Volunteers should be sure to wear long pants and closed toed shoes that they don't mind getting dirty! Snacks and lunch provided. Sign up today!

When: Saturday, October 5th, 2013 (9am – 1pm)

Where: Gwynns Falls Leakin Park, 4600 North Franklintown Rd, Baltimore, MD 21289

What: Trail cleanup and maintenance

To register contact SCA's Service Event's Manager Lori Robertson at lrobertson@thesca.org or 703-524-2441

Greening Youth Foundation (Atlanta, Georgia)

The Greening Youth Foundation will be helping to take part in activities at Martin Luther King National Historic Site, and will be joined by special guests Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and music star Cee Lo Green! They will also host their "Urban Campout." Campers will engage in an overnight urban camping experience & camp site fun that includes instruction, entertainment, and food! Send contact information to Rkitchen@gyfoundation.org or Lbrown@gyfoundation.org if you’re interested in participating with this event. *Open to High School  students and approved chaperones only.

Montana Conservation Corps (Throughout Montana)

Helena: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/centennial-park

Kalispell: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/pompeys-pillar-national-monument-0

Billings: http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/pompeys-pillar-national-monument-0

Missoula: Fort Missoula Regional Park

Bozeman: Gallatin County Regional Park

Southwest Conservation Corps (Colorado and Arizona)

In Durango, Colorado:

Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) and community volunteers will participate in a day of community service to celebrate 15 years of serving the Four Corners and the 20th annual National Public Lands Day.  Twenty-eight SCC AmeriCorps Volunteers in addition to SCC staff and other volunteers will work on Chris Park trails (Hwy 550 N) in San Juan National Forest on Saturday morning to improve our public lands while celebrating this event with local community partners and participants.  Volunteer crews will be working on Haviland View Trail and Chris Park Trail to improve conditions and make trails more sustainable for all users including hikers, horses, and bicycles.  The event will take place from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., followed by a lunch celebration near the Chris Park campground. 

As part of the national movement to support and maintain public lands while enjoying nature, SCC volunteers will be among the more than 175,000 volunteers contributing to public lands on this day throughout the United States. Southwest Conservation Corps strives to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment and has been accomplishing conservation work throughout the region for 15 years, improving local lands while impacting the lives of more than 4,500 AmeriCorps Volunteers. 

Volunteers from the Durango and surrounding communities are welcome to join SCC this Saturday morning to get their hands dirty.  Volunteers should RSVP with Kevin Heiner, 970-403-0145, kevin@sccorps.org and arrive at the Chris Park Group Campground on Saturday at 8am with boots, water, and rain gear. Tools and food will be provided.  

In Arizona (Molino Canyon):

The Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District along with REI and the Southwest Conservation Corps will be hosting a volunteer event Saturday, September, 28 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.  Come join us as  we work on cleaning up the Catalina Highway’s vistas,  trail heads, and parking pullouts.  Snacks, water, and lunch will be provided!  See you there!

Additional Information

The Student Conservation Association (Nationwide)

The Student Conservation Association is hosting events in Chicago, Anchorage, Houston, Moab, Seattle, and Richmond.

All of the details here! 

Boiler Plate: 
Saturday, September 28th is National Public Lands Day, and several members of The Corps Network are helping to lead events! Below you will find links and brief descriptions of the events that Corps will be helping to organize and make successful.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Passes Public Lands Service Corps Act, Clearing Way for Vote by Full Senate

On Tuesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee amended and passed S.360, the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013.  An expanded Public Lands Service Corps program will provide more opportunities for thousands of young Americans to gain valuable workforce and career development while assisting our nation’s land and water management agencies to address critical maintenance, restoration, repair and rehabilitation needs in a cost effective manner.

The committee agreed to amend S. 360 to allow military veterans up to the age of 35 to participate in the Public Lands Corps program and inserted the authority of the Secretary to establish a preference for Corps that recruit members local to the state or region.  The amendment also stripped unnecessary language allowing residential centers and temporary housing for Corps in an effort to lower the potential cost of the legislation.  You can find the amendment here.  
 
The legislation will next be “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and then be scheduled for Senate Floor consideration.  The CBO “scorekeeping” process includes calculating the budgetary effects of the legislation and impact on the budget resolution. The Public Lands Service Coalition estimates that implementing this legislation will not bring the need for additional appropriations and will in fact help stretch the land and water management agencies operating budgets and looks forward to CBO’s scorekeeping. Research conducted by the National Park Service’s Park Facility Management Division found that using Conservation Corps to complete maintenance and trail projects provided a cost savings of over 50%.  
 
The Public Lands Service Coalition commends Chairman Wyden (OR) and Ranking Member Murkowski (AK) for agreeing to a bipartisan amendment and passing this critical legislation.  We look forward to the legislation being scheduled for floor action and signed into law by the President.  Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ-3) and has 32 cosponsors and awaits action by House Committee on Natural Resources.   

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to their Senators on the committee in support of the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013.    

Additional information about the PLSC Act can be found here.

[Video] Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell Highlights The Corps Network and Student Conservation Association for Volunteer Opportunities in Earth Day Chat

On Monday of this week, our new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell participated in a special Earth Day webchat.

When asked a question about the Department of Interior partnering with nonprofits and corporations to boost volunteerism on public lands, here's what Secretary Jewell had to say:

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.”

The America's Great Outdoor Initiative: from Conversation to Action

 

Leaders from Federal Land Management agencies discuss their plans for increasing youth involvement as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. From left to right: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Youth Office Director at the U.S. Department of the Interior; Will Shafroth, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Interior; Meryl Harrell, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Harris Sherman, Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Monday, leaders from U.S. federal land management agencies made the Forum one of their key venues for announcing their next steps of action in response to findings from a nationwide listening tour. As part of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the tour helped assess what Americans perceive to be obstacles to getting outside and enjoying America’s public lands both in cities and in rural areas.

A major component of the listening tour and initiative is getting young people further involved as stewards of America’s public lands. According to the speakers at the session, across the nation, over 2,000 young people provided feedback in 21 different listening sessions. Several common themes emerged. One was that government websites are not engaging and user-friendly. The government must use social media and modern technology to better appeal to youth and encourage them to get outside. Another theme concerns how it is challenging for many young people to find and win federal jobs with land management agencies — making it less likely that they will consider outdoor careers.

To begin addressing these problems, one solution that speakers talked about is a new website called youthgo.gov that is hoped to help make finding federal job opportunities easier for young people. Another is the creation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps, modeled on the Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The Corps Network will be a major partner in providing ready-to-go positions for individuals who will join the 21st Century Conservation Corps. It will essentially represent an effort to bring conservation corps to scale on a greater national level. 

A highlight of the day’s activities was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s keynote address. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Corps Network that will allow members of the network to fast-track cooperative work agreements with federal land management agencies.

The Corps Network’s Service and Conservation Corpsmembers of the Year look on as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signs a Memorandum of understanding with Sally Prouty, President of The Corps Network.