Single Identity-Based Crews Research: Update from the Road No. 3


Members of Southwest Conservation Corps' Ancestral Lands program
 

As part of her studies at the University of Oregon, graduate student Jordan Katcher plans to create a toolkit that provides resources for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E,I) within Conservation Corps programming. To do this, Jordan hopes to combine academic research with insights from the field.

During the summer-fall of 2017, Jordan is traveling throughout the country to visit several Corps that operate identity-based programs (e.g. Veterans Crews, ASL Inclusion Crews, Native Youth Crews, LGBTQ Crews, All-Female Crews, etc.). She'll be conducting interviews and gathering information about innovative and effective practices. The Corps Network is hosting a blog where Jordan will share her experiences from the road.

 


By Jordan Katcher

Hello all! My name is Jordan Katcher and I am a current Community & Regional Planning graduate student at the University of Oregon. For my master’s degree, I’m focusing my research on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E,I) within the outdoors. This summer, I traveled across the country, and conducted site visits with conservation corps that have implemented/are implementing single identity-based initiatives for marginalized populations within the conservation world. To read more about my research project, check out my first blog post here, and my second blog post here.

For my third trip, I ventured through the Southwest region to conduct site visits with Conservation Legacy, Utah Conservation Corps, and Idaho Conservation Corps. Below is a brief snapshot from the visits:

 

VISITS IN THE SOUTHWEST
 

Conservation Legacy (CL) Site Visits – Durango, Colorado

As a previous program coordinator for Conservation Legacy, I was so excited to visit Durango and see so many familiar faces! Given Conservation Legacy’s large size, I was also eager to learn about their multiple single identity-based crews: Ancestral Lands, Veterans Fire Corps, and their brand-new Wyoming Women’s Fire Corps.

ANCESTRAL LANDS
Ancestral Lands began in 2008 with an emphasis on local relationship-building for Native American communities located primarily in the Southwest. For Conservation Legacy, the need for this program was born out of an equity initiative to meet the needs of tribal youth, while also providing them with the necessary technical and professional development skills to potentially launch careers in natural resource conservation. This goal, however, is met with a handful of barriers, one of which is: will natural resources career opportunities be located within these reservations, or would these opportunities require Corps alumni to leave their homes in hopes of employment? Understanding the end goal of these crew opportunities is crucial in providing skills and professional development experiences that are desired by the Corpsmembers themselves.

Ancestral Lands is very intentional about promoting cultural awareness for their members and staff. For example, members serving during the recent eclipse were given the day off for their traditional beliefs. The program would also like to expand into increased language immersion with their staff, but funding creates limitations for this. They’d also like to develop professional certificates for native restoration and “traditional ecological knowledge” (TEK) that recognize the importance of Indigenous knowledge within the environment. A large asset that has grown out of this program is the embeddedness of storytelling, especially across multiple tribes that historically may not have seen eye-to-eye. These barriers are being broken down through relationship-building, shared experiences, and crew work.
 

VETERAN’S FIRE CORPS
The Veteran’s Fire Corps initially ran just like other crews within Conservation Legacy. Over time, however, staff realized that the needs of their veteran crew members required a shift towards professional development and certifications. Additionally, in recognizing the challenges veterans face when reintegrating into civilian life, it seemed ideal that this transition could be accomplished within a safe space, serving on a fire crew. Conservation Legacy has also been intentional in raising the stipends for their veteran crew members, as they understand the limitations that come with such low incomes. The organization also takes great strides in their recruitment and screening processes, and asks necessary questions to ensure that potential members are both emotionally and physically ready for the program.
 

WYOMING WOMEN’S FIRE CORPS
After ongoing conversations about gender balances, especially regarding a need for increased diversity within the Bureau of Land Management, an opportunity arose to create an exclusive Wyoming Women’s Fire Corps. In the 10 years that the Veteran’s Fire Corps has been running, only about five of their members have been female veterans. The launch of this new crew is essential to providing a place for female veterans to connect with one another within the intersection of their female and veteran identities.

 


Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) Site Visits – Logan, Utah

In 2005, Utah Conservation Corps had a crew leader, Andy Zimmer, who, while riding his bike back from dinner in downtown Logan, UT, was hit by a car. The accident resulted in a C6 spinal fracture, thus paralyzing him from his shoulders down. After Andy underwent physical therapy, he came back to UCC with the intention of completing his assignment. This tragic accident was the impetus for UCC’s Disability Inclusion Crew, where UCC had to ask themselves: What would this experience look like for a member serving in a wheelchair? What unmet needs can they serve through this experience? And how can they bring the traditional conservation corps experience to a member with a physical disability?

At the time, UCC was a fairly small program, yet they had a combination of experience and passion to help get the program off the ground. Assistant Director Kate Stephens had served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Options for Independence (and helped start Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, which does adaptive outdoor work for members). Additionally, Program Director Sean Damitz had the personal experience of growing up with a father who had MS. The two of them shared inherent values that pushed them to really examine their organization and ask themselves how to move beyond the typical “burly, white male” crew member, and make UCC a more welcoming and inclusive space for a diverse population of corps members.

To UCC, a successful inclusion crew starts with having really meaningful projects that involve a dedicated, passionate sponsor that sets goals and takes ownership of the project (which leaves program expansion up to the sponsor base). The inclusion crew integrates both members with disabilities and members that are able-bodied, which utilizes the strengths of all crew members. Members with disabilities are trained through the Forest Service with iPads to assess campsites and trails and input USFS database information, and the members that are able-bodied undergo chainsaw training for trail development. What’s so fascinating about this crew is that not only are the members with disabilities creating access within these sites for themselves, but they’re also transforming trails, campsites, restrooms, and more to provide access for tourists with disabilities to experience these areas as well.

In the beginning, the crew members were about 50/50, but lately, it has been imbalanced given the difficulty of recruiting individuals who may have physical disabilities. Recruiting locally has really been the best solution, since members with disabilities have ADA-compliant living quarters and are familiar with the area. Asking someone to move to a different state, secure ADA-compliant temporary housing, and ensure that their medical needs are met (especially for a 300 to 500-hour service positon on an AmeriCorps living allowance) is truly a large struggle.

UCC said that they’ve heard of other corps thinking about starting Disability Inclusion Crews, but they also understand that it’s a steep learning curve that requires a great amount of resources, time, and consideration. For these crew members, though, these crew experiences have made a considerable difference in their lives, which makes it all worth it in the end.

 


Idaho Conservation Corps (ICC) Site Visits – Boise, Idaho

The idea for the brand new ICC Women’s Crew came from an assistant crew leader-turned program coordinator- who realized the change in dynamics when more females were involved in crew positions. With approval from Northwest Youth Corps, the Women’s Crew was designed with the intention of creating spaces where everyone can have an equal share in their own growth and development.

It was noticed that on co-ed crews, things that were more technical (lifting rocks, working on engines) were often taken on by the men of the crews. The designated Women’s Crew was a space for females to learn those same skills and apply them on their own. The hallmarks of a successful Women’s Crew, while similar to other crews, focuses on getting more women into leadership positions, which don’t have to necessarily be within ICC, but within any land management agency, or at whatever previous job they were in.

Due to the constraints of losing a fellow program coordinator before the launch of their summer crews, some of the goals of the Women’s Crew did not come to full fruition. For next year, however, they’d love to hire a female crew leader months in advance to set up relationships within the broader community and ask female leaders to conduct lessons or just discuss their professional journeys as women in the natural resources workforce.

During the interview process for potential crew members, a main question that was asked (and not asked for any of the other crews) was, “Do you have a very specific reason to enter this space?” The program coordinator was looking more for someone that had a specific experience of feeling uncomfortable in male-dominated spaces, someone that wanted to grow their technical skills, or someone looking to get into land management positions; and for the most part, those that reached out to her were those kinds of applicants.

The biggest struggle they encountered during their first run this summer was retention. The crew went through eight different members that quit, which resulted in only two members staying on. However, those two remaining members were promoted to leadership positions, which was truly at the heart of this new crew. There are a few speculations of why retention was a struggle this year, but the hope for next year is to restructure the experience from perhaps seeming like a summer camp to, instead, focusing on leadership building. Moving forward, ICC would like to have more input from members themselves on what specific skills they’d like to develop, and would also like resources on marketing this crew to a population that isn’t already in the corps world; because some their most solid corps members were previous bank tellers, and now they’re using chainsaws in the woods, which is awesome.


Now that I’m back in Eugene, OR, I’ll be conducting Northwest site visits throughout the fall term, so stay tuned! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions related to my research, always feel free to reach me at jkatcher@uoregon.edu. Thank you for reading!

Corps and National Forests - Video and Blog Post

Travis Wick, an intern serving out the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region (Region 4), created this film about the partnerships between Corps and the Forest Service. Corps help complete mission-critical projects at National Forests throughout the country; this video specifically looks at Corps serving at Forests in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Below, read a blog post from Wyoming Conservation Corps related to this work. 

 

Conservation Corps in the Rocky Mountain West

Evan Townsend, Wyoming Conservation Corps
(April 13, 2017)

FOR THOSE of us who have participated in conservation corps, we know how formative those summers or even 10 months are for our lives. Imagine crews of 4, 6, or 8 people from all over the country coming together to serve their country, communities, and public land (and waters). Young people and military veterans from all walks of life come together for a common cause – to serve others before themselves and in doing so, that service makes us better people.

Katie Woodward, a crew leader for the Utah Conservation Corps, speaks in 2016 but these words could have easily come from a member in the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s:

“Conservation work serves a duel purpose of one hand doing a critical part to take care of our lands but also to serve something for ourselves.”

Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service’s Travis Wick for directing this video and also to the Northwest Youth Corps for posting this. The conservation corps of the Rocky Mountain West are proud to have such great neighbors and we are proud to serve our country with them. Featured in this video are members from this video:

Engaging Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Youth in the Outdoors



Inclusivity in the Corps World

Everyone faces small daily challenges and uncertainties. Fortunately, for many of us in this country, our troubles are relatively trivial. For those in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community, however, communication barriers can make it prohibitively difficult to participate in basic interactions. In recognition of Deaf History Month, we’re looking at steps taken by America’s service and conservation Corps to make the workplace and the outdoors more accessible for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.

Unfortunately, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals have fewer employment options due to a lack of resources in the workplace and preconceived notions about their abilities. It can be particularly difficult for a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing young person with limited job experience to gain a foothold in the workforce. Recognizing this issue, the Corps community has gradually increased the presence of inclusive crews since the mid-1970’s and early 1980’s.

Based on the model of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, modern Corps are locally-based organizations that engage youth and recent veterans in service projects that address conservation and community needs. Through their service, Corps participants – or “Corpsmembers” – gain work experience and develop in-demand skills. Corpsmembers are compensated with a modest stipend and have access to mentors and counselors.

There are over 130 Corps across the country. While not all Corps have the resources to offer disability inclusion programs, several have made concerted efforts to expand their inclusivity. There are currently five Corps across the nation that provide employment, service, and volunteering opportunities for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing youth and young adults. Corps with such programs include, Northwest Youth Corps (OR/WA), Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (MN), Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM), Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VT), and Utah Conservation Corps (UT). We reached out to these organizations, as well as CorpsTHAT, a non-profit specializing in helping Corps develop ASL-inclusion programs.

How it Works

Corps typically operate under a “crew model” in which Corpsmembers serve together in small teams under the supervision of trained adults. ASL inclusive crews typically consist of hearing participants, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing participants, and ASL interpreters. Members of these crews work together on building and improving trails, restoring habitats, removing invasive species, and numerous other conservation projects. Projects usually take place on public lands and waters, including properties managed by agencies like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

Through inclusive crews, Corps help people in the Deaf community explore the outdoors in a safe, welcoming manner. In addition to learning about cultural differences, participants in inclusive crews gain valuable leadership and communication skills as they create bonds with those who may be different from themselves.

“It gives members a chance to gain empowering real-life skills through a meaningful employment experience,” said Sean Damitz, Director of Utah Conservation Corps.  

The primary goal for Corps that provide these programs is to diversify populations they serve and promote cultural exchange among youth in their programs. Although some youth are pushed out of their comfort zones, learning new ways to communicate and work with others is extremely valuable.

Progression of Inclusion Practices

In the Midwest

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa has served youth in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community since the mid-1970s. What started as a business relationship between the Corps and local summer camps for the Deaf, flourished into the inclusion of Deaf individuals in CCMI programs over the last thirty years.

Under CCMI's crew model, the majority of Corpsmembers and crew leaders are Deaf, but there are a few hearing youth, as well as a crew leader who interprets. Other Corps, such as Northwest Youth Corps, have crews comprised entirely of Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing youth, with the occasional participant who is the child of Deaf adults. Still other programs incorporate a few Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing youth into a crew comprised predominately of hearing youth. All of these models provide participants of different abilities the opportunity to teach one another about their different cultures while working towards the common goal of completing the conservation project at hand.

Keeping Deaf individuals in leadership positons has proven to be a challenge for CCMI. Jonathan Goldenberg, CCMI’s Summer Youth Corps Program Manager explains, “As we do not have a full-time office staff member who is fluent in ASL, it becomes harder to share our program with the Deaf community.”

Working with new project sponsors has also been somewhat of a challenge. Project sponsors are usually local, state and federal resource management agencies that engage the Corps in conservation service. In the beginning, sponsors are a little unsure how to interact with the inclusive crews. After that initial awkwardness, however, a comfort level develops between both groups. The essential goal for CCMI’s inclusion program is to transcend fear of communication with those of various backgrounds.

“Many hearing youth have never had the opportunity to interact with Deaf youth, and the Deaf youth have the opportunity to share their language and culture with hearing youth who are super excited to learn (and in that, the Deaf youth learn from the hearing youth as well),” said Goldberg.

In the Pacific Northwest

In 2013, with the help of CorpsTHAT founders Emma Bixler and Sachiko Flores, Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) began their first disability inclusion crew. Although the first season was small, over the years it has grown into a renowned program, winning The Corps Network’s 2017 Project of the Year Award.

NYC’s success comes from offering two programs: one consisting of youth ages 16-19, the second with adults ages 19-24. Participants in each session work for five to eight weeks, which allows two sessions each summer. Crews travel throughout Washington, doing various types of restoration work in state and national parks and forests. The initial goal of starting a program like this was to provide Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing individuals support, a comfortable space, and an equitable environment to experience the outdoors in our hearing-dominant world.

Even though NYC has experienced many successes with this program, they continue to face lack of support. Inclusion Coordinator, Darian Lightfoot states, “The largest challenge I’ve seen is people being unaware of Deaf culture and how to support equitable communication. All the information that hearing people are exposed to should be accessible to people using ASL, and that doesn’t always happen.”

Despite the communication barrier, hearing youth request to be on the ASL inclusion crew. This is a prime example of how valuable inclusive crews are to everyone involved. Lightfoot explains, “These hearing youth are able to see that the participants in the ASL inclusion crew are their peers and enjoy all the same things as them.”

In New England

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) continues the progression of inclusive crews, recently winning a Public Lands Alliance Award for their partnership with the US Forest Service (USFS) to engage the Deaf community. Last year, VYCC expanded their partnership with USFS through a collaboration with the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens, NY. Through these partnerships, VYCC provided a cutting-edge inclusive conservation program. Youth completed various conservation projects at Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests in Vermont and New York.

During the four-week program, hearing members quickly adapted to using sign language, and Hard-of-Hearing youth were provided the support to successfully complete the projects at hand. Executive Director Breck Knauft states, “Having Deaf and hearing Corpsmembers work side-by-side exemplifies our belief that bringing people from different backgrounds together in service creates conditions for powerful learning.” VYCC also serves youth with different types of disabilities, including those with learning disabilities, vision impairment and blindness.

“The most rewarding aspect is watching people grow through their experience and overcome challenges they found daunting at the start of their service. Seeing the changes someone may go through in just 4 weeks is amazing. Also, talking with people whose lives were impacted be the program in the past, I often hear stories of people who were on a crew long ago and it changed their outlook on life”, Patrick Pfeifer, Conservation Program Director.

Barriers to Inclusion

“Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Corps programs are very important because Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people are often excluded from serving country and community due to the barriers and lack of opportunities,” said Emma Bixler and Sachiko Flores, founders of CorpsTHAT. “Corps programs help open great opportunities for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people to volunteer, show their community involvement on their résumés, and use their experience to obtain jobs.”

However, developing a successful inclusion program is not easy. Created in 2007, the Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) inclusive crew has seen its fair share of setbacks in terms of procuring funding and sponsors to run their program on an annual basis. Even so, their main challenge continues to be the accessibility of recreational sites. Their program engages individuals with various types of physical disabilities, not just those from the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community.

UCC developed a disability inclusion toolkit to inspire Corps around the country to develop their own inclusive programs. UCC credits accessibility condition surveys as the critical first step in determining if spaces are safe and welcoming for disabled participants on their crew. These surveys include a variety of tests and measurements: Are trails passable by a wheelchair? Do videos in the interpretation center have closed captions? In 2009, UCC assisted the U.S. Forest Service in developing a national database of information on the accessibility of public lands.

As opposed to more obvious structural issues that may limit the work of other inclusive crews, CorpsTHAT considers people’s assumptions and misunderstandings as the major barriers faced by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing crews specifically. For the most part, the average hearing person has limited or no experience working with Deaf individuals. Both parties face fears of miscommunication, inaccurate assumptions, and lack of confidence in their ability to perform.

“When Deaf participants have full access to communication and are on the crews with other Deaf participants, the uncertainty is removed and all participants are able to have a barrier-free experience,” Said Bixler and Flores.

CorpsTHAT believes inclusion crews have unique benefits hearing crews lack. For example, inclusion crews’ productivity and attention level is at a higher rate than hearing crews. Due to their inability to comfortably communicate and work at the same time or hold side conversations, interruptions are scarce; all their focus and energy is geared towards completing the task at hand. Another benefit of inclusion crews is the strength of Deaf crew members’ visual-spatial abilities, which aid in solving problems or completing projects faster.

Though inclusive crews offer numerous benefits, one of the most rewarding aspects is providing all individuals – regardless of their abilities – the opportunity to serve our country through conservation efforts. Feeling safe and comfortable working outdoors is something many of us take for granted; these programs make conservation work something that more people can experience. Inclusive crews at Corps demonstrate that any workplace can adjust be more inclusive. The young people on these crews start off as strangers, but they face communication barriers head on and take the time to understand one another, despite cultural differences.

Utah Conservation Corps Kicks off Bike Crew

Taken From a Press Release from Utah State University

The Utah State University-based Utah Conservation Corps will launch the nation’s first pedal-powered bike crew at a kickoff event at noon on June 3, 2015 at Mamchari Kombucha (455 South 400 West, Salt Lake City). UCC AmeriCorps members serving on the bike crew will be demonstrating how they will load cargo bicycles to carry their tools and camping supplies for conservation projects. The event will feature speakers, light refreshments, and music.

The UCC secured a $20,000 grant from Utah State Park’s Recreational Trails Program for this four-person AmeriCorps crew based out of UCC’s Salt Lake City field office. The project is also being sponsored by Black Diamond, Hammer Nutrition, ProBar, Clif Bar and Keen Footwear.

The crew will use cargo bicycles to transport themselves, tools, food and camping gear to Utah State Park sites 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. It is anticipated that the crew will complete two miles of trail construction and five miles trail maintenance.

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.

 

 

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.

Success After Service: Former Corpsmembers Turn Into Business Owners

Colin MacDonald, a ’99 alum of EarthCorps, owns a private consulting firm with Steven Humphreys. Restoration Logistics takes a private approach to the environmental restoration work that EarthCorps and other nonprofits complete. The business works to bridge the gap between the science of ecology and the restoration projects taking place on the ground in the Puget Sound region. Working on both the consulting and contracting sides of ecological restoration, Restoration Logistics designs plans to improve and maintain natural habitats.

 

Aisha Dorn, an alum and graduate of Civic Works Community Lot program and B’more Green Environmental Certification program, now owns her own environmental management business, Lifeline Environmental, with her husband. Before starting her own business Aisha worked with a temp agency just one week after she completed her training. At her new job she met her husband Marc, who was injured at a worksite due to unsafe practices. Safety is important to Aisha and she felt that she could enter the industry on her own, making the jobs safe, correct, and efficient. It was this passion that led her and Marc to start Lifeline Environmental and since its creation they have seen much success. Many of her clients are nonprofits, including Civic Works where Lifeline was hired to help with the Clifton Mansion renovation process. Says Aisha, “it’s just such a strong network to be a part of.”

 

Revan Qajar, a graduate and former staff member of Urban Corps San Diego, started his own photography studio in El Cajon! His business, San Diego Stars Photography, provides professional photography and cinematography packages for all occasions.

 

Christy Jensen, an alum of Utah Conservation Corps, started her own craft kombucha brewery (lightly fermented tea with probiotic qualities) in Salt Lake City. Her business, Mamachari Kombucha, has gotten off to a great start, being sold in local restaurants and farmers’ markets. She has even found the need to expand and move production to a larger space! “Mamachari” means “mother’s bicycle” in Japanese, which reflects Christy’s love of bikes. Aside from her business, Christy also started a Womyn’s Wrench Night where women can bring their bikes and learn how to fix them. 

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.

VIDEO: Corps Partner to Restore the Escalante River Watershed

VIDEO: Corps Partner to Restore the Escalante River Watershed

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