The Corps Network and Montana Conservation Corps Congratulate Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) on his Confirmation as Secretary of the Interior

The Corps Network and Montana Conservation Corps congratulate Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) on being confirmed as Secretary of the Interior through a 68-31 vote in the United States Senate on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

The Corps Network Responds to Nomination of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) for U.S. Secretary of the Interior

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, President-Elect Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to be the next Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Mary Ellen's Blog: Play, Learn, Serve and Work - What Corps Do Best

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Miami's Mayor Tomas Pedro Regalado with Greater Miami Service Corps. Miami is one of 50 cities where The Corps Network, YMCA, National League of Cities and the Department of the Interior are partnering to get more youth outdoors.

For over a hundred years, the YMCA has provided communities with the resources and facilities to help people of all ages lead healthier, more active lifestyles. Through classes, camps, organized sports and programs offering everything from youth counseling to healthy cooking tips, the Y helps individuals and families find fun ways to exercise their bodies, minds and spirits. The Y is more than a gym; it’s a community hub.

With such a strong history of engaging people in play and activity, it only makes sense that YMCA would be involved in promoting Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s initiative to bridge the divide between America’s youth and the great outdoors. Since last spring, the Y and the National League of Cities (NLC) have been working in partnership to advance the Secretary’s goal to get more youth playing in parks and participating in outdoor recreation, learning in nature’s classroom, volunteering on public lands, and working to preserve and restore our natural resources. American Express committed $5 million to this project just last week.  Now, with additional support from the Department of Interior, The Corps Network will join YMCA and NLC by integrating the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) into their efforts. 

The Corps Network has been actively involved in the DOI’s youth initiative ever since Secretary Jewell announced it in the fall of 2013. Service and Conservation Corps are essential to meeting the initiative’s Service and Work goals to bring the 21CSC to scale and develop the next generation of conservation stewards and land managers by engaging 100,000 youth and veterans in projects that protect, restore and enhance America’s natural and cultural resources. Now, through this partnership with DOI, YMCA and NLC, The Corps Network will be more directly involved in meeting the youth initiative’s Play and Learn goals.

Over the next three years, member organizations of The Corps Network will place individual Corpsmembers at YMCA branches in 50 cities across the country. These Corpsmembers will assist the Y's Community Coordinators, building off YMCA and NLC relationships with community organizations and local leadership to develop opportunities for people to get outdoors and participate in environmental service projects. The goal is for each Community Coordinator to engage 10,000 to 20,000 volunteers in each of the 50 selected cities. Some of these service projects will undoubtedly be with Corps.

I am excited about this new partnership and believe it will prove to be an effective way to introduce a new audience to Corps, outdoor recreation and the importance of conservation. It will allow Corps to shine for what they do best: engaging people in service that improves communities and the environment. This initiative will result in more youth playing in parks and learning about nature through outdoor exploration; more volunteers protecting and enhancing their local natural spaces; and more people engaging with their local Corps.

The Corps Network and its member Corps have been helping people develop strong, lasting connections to nature for many years. Now, with the creation of the Community Coordinator position and a role for Corpsmembers in assisting these Coordinators, Corps will be able to expand their important role in helping people play, learn, serve and work outdoors. 

The Corps Network Praises White House for Nominating Michael Connor as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Credit: BOR

10 Conservation Corps Receive New Funding from Department of the Interior

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announces new project funding at an event with Northwest Youth Corps.

Last week we previewed an announcement of grants to be made by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that she made at an event with Northwest Youth Corps (see more photos here).

Ten conservation corps who are members of The Corps Network were among the recipients of new grants to support youth employment and stewardship on federal lands. They include

Montana Conservation Corps
Student Conservation Association (California)
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM)
Southwest Conservation Corps
Northwest Youth Corps
Nevada Conservation Corps
San Joaquin Regional Conservation Corps
Western Colorado Conservation Corps 
Los Angeles Conservation Corps
Urban Conservation Corps (Southern California Mountains Foundation)

Full descriptions of each project that was funded (including those of the Corps above) can be seen here. We congratulate all of our members on this great success!   


Sally Jewell Confirmed by Senate as Secretary of the Interior

Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Sally Jewell as Secretary of the Interior. With a vote tally of 87 to 11, Jewell was easily confirmed (more at The Washington Post).

As we wrote at the time of Jewell’s nomination, “Sally Jewell has been a vocal advocate of Service and Conservation Corps. In 2009, Ms. Jewell testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in support of the Public Lands Service Corps Act. Sitting on a panel with two former Corpsmembers she said, ‘The young people represented up here and the organizations they represent…  the amount of work that they do is nothing short of amazing.’ Of the Public Lands Service Corps Act, she said, ‘We have a dearth of diversity on our public lands, our public lands are not represented by the people who represent this country, and we have parks, public lands and open spaces that are desperately in need of help, and so this bill represents a trifecta of opportunity to solve this.’”

“We congratulate incoming Secretary Jewell on her appointment, and look forward to working with her and agency staff on a range of projects relevant to youth corps, including the continuing effort to build a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, getting young people and kids outside at a greater frequency, and improving access to our nation’s renowned public lands,” said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President and CEO of The Corps Network.

Jewell is only the 2nd woman to head the Department of the Interior (although Lynn Scarlet, led the agency briefly as an “acting” Secretary). Gail Norton was the first woman to serve in this cabinet-level position from 2001 – 2006. For additional information about Sally Jewell’s background, we recommend this Washington Post profile.

Salazar Establishes Enduring America's Great Outdoors Program at Department of Interior

From the Department of the Interior

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed a Secretarial Order establishing the America’s Great Outdoors program in the Department of the Interior, formalizing the department’s support for President Obama’s landmark initiative to create a 21st century conservation and recreation ethic to reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the natural world.

“From conserving working landscapes from Montana to Florida, to creating a new generation of dynamic and accessible urban parks from New York to Los Angeles, to establishing a network of national water trails and blueways, we have worked closely for the last three years with states, local communities and other partners to preserve America’s natural heritage and open up more opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Salazar said. “By formally establishing the America’s Great Outdoors program, we are ensuring that these efforts have high standing and visibility within the department and continue to be a high priority for years to come.”

President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors initiative in 2010, focusing on making the federal government a better partner with states, tribes and local communities to support community-driven conservation and outdoor recreation efforts.

The Secretarial Order identifies projects in all 50 states that the department will help leverage its resources to get over the finish line, including conserving working landscapes; restoring rivers; and helping to create a new generation of urban parks.

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