The Corps Network’s Great Outdoors Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital Recap

Last Friday, June 14, The Corps Network held its first annual Great Outdoors Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital. This event took place during Great Outdoors Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing the beauty of our natural landscapes. The Corps Network’s Day of Service provided an opportunity to inspire American’s to use service as a strategy to protect our nation’s great outdoors.

Despite chances of rain, the day started off sunny with the kickoff event at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, where Corps from the nearby area and as far as Los Angeles joined volunteers in service projects around the Capital. Participants were encouraged to sign a shovel, which was then given, on behalf of Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, to David Jayo, Jewell’s Senior Advisor, as a symbol of both TCN and our member Corps’ support of the work that her and her administration do for Service and Conservation Corps around the country.

During the kickoff event guests listened to a number of prominent speakers who spoke about the importance of service and conservation work across the country. Speakers included Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network, Derrick Crandall, President & CEO of the American Recreation Coalition, Gerard Gabrys, CEO of Guest Services Inc., Butch Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps, Tina Terrell, National Forest Service Job Corps Director, and Jenn Kays, Volunteer Program Manager for National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Wrapping up the kickoff event, Corpsmembers and volunteers enjoyed lunch provided by Guest Services Inc. and split off to work on three service projects in the Nation’s Capital. The first project included painting fence, chains, and posts at the FDR memorial while a second group traveled to the Tidal Basin to provide cleanup. The third service project, at Fort DuPont, enlisted Corpsmembers to clear a path for future outdoor exercise equipment. All the projects got off to a great start but had to end early when a large thunderstorm entered the area. Despite the rain, everyone had a great time serving in the outdoors and meeting other Corpsmembers and volunteers!

The Corps Network would like to thank those who spoke at the kickoff event, the National Park Service, USDA, US Forest Service Job Corps, American Recreation Coalition, GSI, and most of all – the Corps and volunteers that participated and made this Day of Service a success. President & CEO Mary Ellen Sprenkel says, “The Corps Network’s First Annual Day of Service in our Nation’s Capital, as part of Great Outdoors Month was a great success – even in the pouring rain!  It provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the power of Service and Conservation Corps in a very public and high profile setting and enabled Corpsmembers from across the country to feel a part of something much larger – the “Corps Movement.”  Big thanks to all of the Corps that participated and to all the partners that made it possible!  We are already looking forward to next year!”

TCN would also like to thank anyone who participated in our Twitter campaign #dayofservice even if they couldn’t be at the event in-person. The first annual Day of Service was a success and The Corps Network looks forward to next year’s event!

Blog Slideshow: 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Employees Teamed Up With Conservation Corps Minnesota to Plant Seed Bombs

Photo: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota employees planted seed bombs at Patrick Eagan Park. Article appeared in Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa's newsletter.

On the sunny afternoon of May, 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota employees teamed up with Conservation Corps and the City of Eagan to plant more than 100 dozen seed bombs at Patrick Eagan Park in Eagan. The Corps’ first and largest seed bomb making event took place at the Blue Cross CareFest last fall where employees made more than 70 dozen seed bombs, and other native seed balls were created by more than 200 volunteers in 2013. Seeds in the 'bombs' (which were stored over the winter) contain more than a dozen varieties of native flowers and grasses that attract honeybees and butterflies and prevent soil erosion ― perfect for the park’s native habitat. The area planted was recently treated with a prescribed burn to remove invasive species.

Thanks to Blue Cross employees and Gregg Hove, Supervisor of Forestry for the City of Eagan, for all their hard work. Check out a photo gallery of the event.

Earth Day 2014

EarthCorps Corpsmembers “spread some Earth Month love” with students.

A Roundup of Earth Day News

Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, writes about green service opportunities in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. In the very first paragraph she mentions none other than Mike Bremer, a 2012 Corpsmember of the Year.

Like many transitioning service members, Mike Bremer was having a tough time finding work after he came home. Then he joined AmeriCorps, serving on the all veterans fire team with the Southwest Conservation Corps. With the skills he learned, Mike was able to secure a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a full-time firefighter. Read more

Watch an Earth Day video chat with Mike Connor, recently confirmed Deputy Secretary of the Interior (P.S. tune in at 2:35 to hear a question submitted by Harry Bruell, CEO and President of Conservation Legacy, and jump to 28:35 to hear a question from Levi Novey, Director of Communications and Marketing at The Corps Network).


A few highlights of Corps Earth Day projects...

The entire month of April is Earth Month for EarthCorps. In total, they will host 22 events and mobilize more than 1,800 community volunteers in habitat restoration in community parks and green spaces.  Events will take place in the cities of Seattle, Everett, Mercer Island, Federal Way, and Tacoma. Activities mostly include invasive species removal. 


Kupu – Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps
On April 19th, volunteers with Kupu removed marine debris from Oahu's dirtiest beach. Kahuku Beach has more plastic than any other shoreline on Oahu.


New York Restoration Project – NYRP
New York Restoration Project planted trees in Astoria park on April 22nd.


American YouthWorks - Texas Conservation Corps

In the days leading up to Earth Day, a Corps Network-AmeriCorps crew from the Texas Conservation Corps teamed up with a neighborhood group and Boy Scout troop to install a new trail through a native prairie landscape in a historic central city park and museum in Austin, Texas.  The new 300 foot accessible trail at the Ney Museum was built by the Corpsmembers using native materials, including a natural plant-based stabilizer that created a more accessible and erosion resistant trail.  The trail will be quickly put to use to interpret the natural history of Central Texas to the thousands of school children and other visitors who tour the historic site each year.


Western Colorado Conservation Corps – WCCC

On April 11th, Western Colorado Conservation Corps generated 87 volunteer hours doing rockwork on the Tabeguache Trails System. Putting in place large rocks to deter mountain bikers, the volunteers created a connector trail specifically for hikers. This is one of the first trails of its kind in the area. In total, the crew constructed 200 feet of new trail, 2 retaining walls, 2 staircases and 1 armored section of trail.

“It’s awesome that we were able to move two ton rocks and disguise it like nothing happened,” said Chi Yun Takaki, an Assistant Crew Leader.


Youth Conservation Corps – YCC

Youth Conservation Corps spent the day "greening" their location in Waukegan, IL.  They built raised beds, filled them with soil and compost, and then planted them with flowers and vegetables. They also planted native prairie grasses around the building, along with bushes and other plants.