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:

Blog Post - Wyoming Conservation Corps: A Wyoming Tradition in Public Land and Conservation

Evan Townsend
Wyoming Conservation Corps

Originally published on the Wyoming Conservation Corps website on September 2, 2016
 

I know what you are thinking – another blog post celebrating the National Park Service’s 100 year anniversary. Or, yet another post from the WCC describing how important our work is and how good we look while doing it. Well, you are partially, right. It is a big deal that the United States of America is celebrating its famous park service that so many countries across the world have mimicked in some way or another. And, it is a big deal that the United States was the first industrial country to create the idea and implementation of public land. Most of all, it is a big deal that Wyoming holds the territory and statehood allowing for these world first’s.

Among some of the most treasured “first’s” that Wyoming has produced, one of them permitting women the right to vote, are the state’s first’s in public land. Forty-four years before the National Park Service took its beginning steps as an federal agency in 1916, the world’s first national park – Yellowstone (1872) – opened American eyes to the possibility of land to be sanctioned for the primary use of recreation administered by the federal government. Respectively, the first USA land set aside for pure recreation to be run by a state government was Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove in 1864 – a beacon of hope and pride in the midst of the bloody Civil War.

  • 1872 – World’s first national park – Yellowstone NP (Wyoming)
  • 1891 – World’s first Timber Reserve turned into a public National Forest – Shoshone NF (Wyoming)
  • 1906 – World’s first recreation based national monument – Devils Tower NM (Wyoming)
In the first decades of the national parks and public land in general, access had become a trademark of the wealthy and upper-class with the famous inns and lodges built to accommodate the elite. Then, the Great Depression hit Americans and the world in 1929 through the entirety of the 1930s and into the 1940s. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was born out of a need to create jobs and worth for young men around the country from all walks of life or neighborhoods, build infrastructure on our public lands that accommodate all social classes, and promote the American ideal of liberty and pride through service for one’s country. Out of the 1,300 CCC camps across the country, 136 of them were located in Wyoming. One of the bigger Wyoming camps was located in Guernsey State Park and evidence of their amazing stone work can still be seen today.

The CCC years marked a new era for public land use. People from the middle-class and working-class could afford the time, money, and energy to visit our public lands and parks thanks both to a renewed interest in nature-based vacations and the wide-spread integration of the automobile. In 1971, the Youth Conservation Corps then came to exist employing young men AND WOMEN from all over the united states of all social classes, even youth as young as 14 years old, to continue the legacy of the CCC. You will never guess where one of their first projects were – Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

In the 1990s, semi-private non-profit conservation corps were being established all neighboring Wyoming and working on Wyoming’s public land. It was not until 2006 that Wyoming had it own conservation corps (WCC) to aid the other neighboring corps in working on the vast network of public land in Wyoming. We work diligently to work with project partners all over Wyoming, federal, state, and private, to improve public lands while empowering young adults to lead by example.

Every swing of our pick mattock, or axe bit chipping out wood, or evening campfire with glowing faces from various backgrounds and states, is an exercise in conservation and legacy.

 

Wyoming Conservation Corps Prepares Trails for Summer

Taken From: laramieboomerang.com,

Orginal Link: http://www.laramieboomerang.com/news/local_news/article_41695640-0cc1-11e5-8120-833d4ce14125.html

Wyoming Conservation Corp prepares Trails for Summer

 

Thousands of Wyoming residents and tourists enjoy the trails meandering through the many state parks. But not everyone thinks of the time and work needed to make the paths — which is where the Wyoming Conservation Corp comes into the picture.

This summer, 24 college students from around the country plan to travel throughout the state, working to improve the state parks around Wyoming. “Improving” usually entails a chainsaw, said Patrick Harrington, project coordinator for the Conservation Corps.

“They’ll be working with state parks, camping out 65 days in the summer,” he said.

Jobs are set to include removing brush or other debris from trails, installing fencing, clearing a path for a new trail or anything else that needs to be completed.

“We’re taking care of the trails, doing maintenance on the established ones,” said Alek Angele, University of Wyoming junior and Laramie native. “We’re just about finished on a new trail. We also have a lot of chainsaw work, like clearing old brush.”

Some people might think a trail appears after enough people walk on it, Angele said, and don’t know the work needed to create something of that scale.

“From the tourist perspective, it’s very superficial,” he said. “They see the finished project. They don’t see the behind-the-scenes stuff, about taking an environment and how to make a camping site fit in with the natural scenery — seeing how everything will flow together.”

Working outdoors for most of the summer can be rough for some, Harrington said. The Wyoming Conservation Corps is not for everyone.

“Leaders go out at 5 a.m. and start making breakfast and coffee,” he said. “They wake up the crew, eat and pack their lunches together. They’re working by 7 a.m.”

A 10-hour work day follows, digging trails and chainsawing shrubbery.

“It’s a really challenging job,” Harrington said. “At 5 p.m., they’re done for the day, but it’s kind of superficial.”

After going back to camp, two volunteers make dinner while the rest do other chores, like filtering water or cleaning the camp.

“There are a million different behind-the-scenes things that are just as critical,” Harrington said. “They should finish everything by 7:30 p.m.”

The groups work 10 days straight, then get a four-day respite before going back out.

“We’re living the job,” Angele said.

Education days are normally integrated into the schedules, Angele said, to provide experience in something other than the day-to-day work.

However, some of the experiences come from being out in the wilderness for days on end.

“The craziest experiences of my life were out there,” Harrington said. “It’s crazy seeing something no one has ever seen, something no one has ever experienced.”

One of those was during his first year as a team leader near Pinedale.

“There were two male pronghorn doing their dance only 30, 35 feet away,” Harrington said. “They would clash horns, then run away at 45 miles an hour, then come back and do it again.”

While the outdoor experiences could bring unforgettable memories, work connections are an important takeaway that could provide job opportunities for graduates.

“I’ll meet some good contacts and plenty of people that have a lot of experience,” Angele said. “I’m hoping to come away with a new outlook so I can pursue it after I graduate.”

Author: Thaddeus Mast

Reflection on Diversity: a blog post from Wyoming Conservation Corps

By Evan Townsend - Wyoming Conservation Corps
- Originally posted on the Wyoming Conservation Corps blog, April 28, 2015


 

When I first hear diversity, my first thought these days is not human, ethnic, or gender diversity but biological. This could be because much of what the WCC does is to help biological diversity seen in our work for habitat restoration, stream banks, beetle kill mitigation, wildlife fencing, and noxious weed removal.

Turns out biological diversity along with racial, linguistic, and cultural diversity need one another. They are symbiotic relationships tied to the success of one another. In a study 2012 study by L.J. Gorenflo et al., the research is there to prove that the areas labeled biological hotspots by UNESCO are the same areas with the most diversity in languages and culture. Click the map below to enlarge and see for yourself. Gorenflo et al.’s study is one of many proving this point.Linguistic_biological_diversitySo if biological diversity is ensured by cultural diversity, how could this translate to environmental organizations in the USA? Do I insulate myself from worrying about human diversity by working for an environmental organization? In a recent report headed by University of Michigan’s Dorceta Taylor, PhD titled State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations, the numbers are pretty clear that even environmental organizations dedicated to both people and the environment are dismally mono-cultured.

TRG-001_Web-Scroll_0727_10A mono-culture is never a sustainable template for biodiversity let alone business stability or social balance.

TRG-001_Web-Scroll_0727_08Not too long ago, I was tabling for the WCC at a job fair and watched a prospective worker a few tables down from us receive laughter in inquiring about an environmental biology positions for a environmental consultant firm dedicated to energy companies in Wyoming. She watched the male in front of her have an engaging 15 minute conversation with the potential employer. When it was her turn to step up after the young male, she found laughter in asking to hear about the same position. Working through the off putting laughter, she went into her rehearsed spiel about why she was interested in the position when she was interrupted after she said “I have a degree in environmental biology.” He interjected with a the snide question of “how is that workin’ out for yeah?” I wish I was making this up. While women are increasing in numbers and ratios for bigger and better jobs in the workforce, almost 77% of presidents in environmental organizations are male and 71% board members for these organizations are male too. After looking at the numbers given by the Taylor report, this conversation we are having now is not happening enough. Last night for our 4950 Leadership in Natural Resources class, our crew leaders had a fruitful discussion about race and gender both abstractly and as it relates to our positions as AmeriCorps, a conservation organization, and a youth program.

The WCC does a good job but like nearly all conservation corps, we have a long way to go. The WCC is almost 50/50 male to female but all Caucasian. We are not alone, most conservation corps function this way but this is changing. In a press release by the Corps Network highlighting a statement by Sally Jewel, former CEO of Recreation Equipment Incorporated (REI) now US secretary of the Interior, she mentions the pressing need to have our public lands be represented by the people who represent this country. In other words, the USA is a melting pot of cultures and races yet our public lands seem to boast little proof of this.

America’s conservation corps are a vital puzzle piece to incorporating more diversity in environmental organizations and the workforce in general.

Our conservation corps are beginning to be one of the agents of change in this regard. We are recruiting more men and women of various backgrounds fit for the various jobs we do as youth conservation organizations. Programs like the WCC and the many other conservation corps in the country are acknowledging the issues and working toward Sally Jewel’s dream of our public lands representing the USA of today. We have to, the sustainability of our planet and our societies depends on getting as many people as possible interested in solving issues centered around climate change, social justice, food distribution, and water scarcity. Without a connection to green spaces, both wilderness and municipal parks or even backyards, our coming generations might have less drive to make these critical decisions related to climate and food. Our world depends on it. The WCC and Wyoming in general does a great job of making outdoor landscapes accessible to our public but we need more people to be doing our work.

Thanks for listening.

University of Wyoming Students Take Part in 18 Wyoming Conservation Corps Projects

Article appears on University of Wyoming website.

June 19, 2014 — University of Wyoming students are gaining valuable leadership and outdoor skills this summer while working on 18 Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC) projects ranging from constructing trails at Big Horn National Recreation Area and bark beetle spraying in Sinks Canyon State Park to conducting historic restoration work at Fort Bridger.

Administered by Residence Life and Dining Services in UW’s Division of Student Affairs, WCC is a grant-supported program that engages students in conservation-based projects throughout the state, says Director Patrick Call. WCC has been supported by the Corporation for National and Community Services’ AmeriCorps program, Wyoming State Legislature and cooperating partners including the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites, national parks and some industry, corporate and nonprofit organizations.

This summer, three crews already have begun work to complete 18 10-day projects. Patrick Harrington, WCC project coordinator, says 10 of the projects are sponsored by the State Parks and Historic Sites, traditionally the cooperating agency that supports the most WCC work projects each year.

“Some students have told me that working on WCC projects has been a life-changing experience,” Call says. “They are able to go out there and connect with the land and the environment, and be able to do things and give back to the greater good.”

Founded in 2006, the WCC continues the civil service tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and Youth Conservation Corps of the 1970s. Nearly 300 students have completed more than 200 projects relating to energy, wildlife, recreation, grazing, timber management, property restoration and maintenance, and water and air quality.

Projects being completed this summer are:

May 26-June 4 -- Beetle kill mitigation at Sinks Canyon State Park; fencing work at Red Canyon Ranch; and pine beetle mitigation at Guernsey State Park.

June 9-18 -- Two trail construction projects at Hot Springs State Park; beetle kill mitigation at Curt Gowdy State Park.

June 23-July 2 -- Trail construction with the Casper Rotary Club at Bridle Trail on Casper Mountain; trail construction projects at both Platte River trails and Glendo State Park.

July 7-16 -- Fuel thinning and fencing at Devon State Lands near the Green Mountains in Fremont County; trails construction at Guernsey State Park; and fuels thinning for a UW/Forest Service research site that studies how forests respond to fire and treatments to increase the rate of recovery.

July 21-30 -- Trail construction and Curt Gowdy State Park; and two projects to restore trails and a historic orchard at Big Horn National Recreation Area.

Aug. 4-13 -- Historic restoration at Fort Bridger; fencing and sage grouse inventory for the Buffalo Bureau of Land Management; and fencing at Buffalo Bill State Park.

Students working on the WCC crews, listed by hometown and major area of study, are:

Boise, Idaho -- Lea Steiner, nutrition and dietetics.

Buffalo -- Natalie Perkins, psychology.

Cape Charles, Va. -- Clelia Sheppard, psychology.

Casper -- Shane Nielsen, physiology.

Centennial, Colo. -- Lindsay Patrick, engineering.

Cheyenne -- Gaige Braden, kinesiology.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Karl Maes, undeclared.

Evanston -- John Evans, physics.

Grand Junction, Colo. -- Travis Keune, rangeland ecology.

Green River -- Tiffany Adamski, English.

Houston, Texas -- Ross Bulawa, undeclared.

Laramie -- Alanna Elder, ecology.

Lincoln, Neb. -- Madison Graulty, civil engineering.

London, Ohio -- Matthew Pritchard, rangeland ecology.

Longmont, Colo. -- Seymone O’Brien, ecology and environment and natural resources.

Loveland, Colo. -- Katie Brose, music education.

San Diego, Calif. -- Billy Sanford, journalism.

Scotland, S.D. -- Rhiannon Jakopak, wildlife and fisheries biology.

Scottsbluff, Neb. -- Ben Weibe, communications.

Sheridan -- Phil Klebba, environment and natural resources and ecosystem management.

St. Louis, Mo. -- Jim Fried, geography and environment and natural resources; Brian Walser, environmental studies; and Nancy Davidson, geography.

Venice, Fla. -- Maggie LeFrance, political science.

Photo:
Wyoming Conservation Corps crew members work on a fencing project during an orientation week at Curt Gowdy State Park. From left are Sam Murray of Casper, a field supervisor; Seymone O’Brien, Longmont, Colo.; and Madison Graulty, Lincoln, Neb. (WCC Photo)

Wyoming Conservation Corps Takes a Step Back in Time


A crew of eight students from the Wyoming Conservation Corps is working on rebuilding the Mason-Lovell Ranch at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. The students got a taste of being a homesteader/rancher at the turn of the century, installing a large corral at the ranch that had become dilapidated over the years and was eventually torn down. Though they used an auger and other power tools to help with the construction, the students were performing essentially the same work that Lovell did when he designed the original corrals and hand-dug holes for the railroad tie posts. “Our vision was for state and other agencies to use them to do construction projects,” Harvey said, adding that another purpose of the WCC was to peak students’ interests in resource management. “So the students would come to love the land and through science learn what the land needed.” 

Read more in the Lovell Chronicle.