NPS Week 2017 - A Project with NJYC Phillipsburg

Name of Corps
New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg


Location of project
Gateway National Recreation Area – Sandy Hook Unit


When did the project take place?
Summer/Fall 2015


Describe the project. What did the crew do?
The NJ Youth Corps of Phillipsburg (NJYC) has long wanted to work with the National Park Service in some capacity. When we saw the developments within the Dept. of Interior’s ‘Youth Initiative’ to Play, Learn, Serve & Work in our national parks- we saw the perfect opportunity to do so. Through our relationship with the Corps Network (TCN), and previous experience with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on a Hands-On Preservation Experience (H.O.P.E.) Crew project at Hinchliffe Stadium, we were presented with a unique opportunity to perform historic preservation activities in a National Park- in this case, a complete demolition and reconstruction of the porch of the Park Headquarters (Building 26) Gateway National Recreation Area’s Sandy Hook Unit.

Gateway was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and is still recovering. Fort Hancock Historic District (a decommissioned US Army base at Sandy Hook) is comprised of over 60 structures in varying states of decay after seeing years of harsh weather given its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The Park HQ building (formerly the Commanders Quarters) was severely compromised because of storm damage. Given its essentiality of function, and its prevalence as the primary structure in the Unit that visitors interface, NPS allocated resources from Hurricane Sandy relief funds to reconstruct the porch on the HQ building. Even with funding, NPS staff at Sandy Hook would be hard pressed to perform the task given due to additional backlog of routine maintenance work to be performed. Enter the NTHP, and the H.O.P.E. Crew program – which would secure the services of an approved historic preservation expert to guide and train NJYC members in the craft of preservation.

NJYC embarked on this project with high hopes and a lot of enthusiasm. We were challenged both physically & mentally. We learned about historic preservation and about the region in which we were working. We also learned about ourselves and what we were capable of. We came away from the project with a newfound respect for the diligence and exacting detail of recreating our history. We discovered in ourselves a respect for not only the craft, but for the process. Working with wood and stone, our labor echoed traditions that humans have been performing for millennia. Through preserving history, we are also ensuring the legacy of our work will continue; not only through the results of our efforts, but also in the hearts and minds of our Corpsmembers who developed an appreciation for hard work through the lens of recreating the past.


How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
The immediate impact of this project in the community at Gateway was complex; First, and most prominently there was the visual impact – both NPS Staff and visitors of the park noticed what was going on and it fostered many conversations that might not have otherwise happened. The porch of the Sandy Hook Unit's Headquarters was dilapidated, damaged and in in need of serious repair. Improving the image of the very building representing the

public's interface with the park was imperative! Park Service employees even seemed excited that there was a presence of a program like Youth Corps on site, prompting many conversations on how NJYC could serve at Gateway in other capacities. From a visitor’s perspective, our presence offered opportunities for interactions with the public that allowed us to explain why were there. For example, CM’s were able to converse with one gentleman, Mr. Peter Bach – a visitor to the park and business owner from Sydney, Australia- He commented on the crews’ hard work and how it related to a business owner like himself – he would’ve hired any of our guys.

Secondly, the project had a lot of people promoting it. The NPS, TCN and NTHP were all promoting the project via emails, newsletters, websites and social media. We even had NJTV news do a story on the project. This promotion through varied mediums garnered a lot of attention and became a great recruitment tool as well.



What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?
All aspects of construction: Framing, Trim work, Roofing, Painting, etc., Basic Masonry, pointing

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Michael Muckle, Program Director at NJYC of Phillipsburg said, "Our HOPE Crew Project at Sandy Hook was, in retrospect, my proudest accomplishment to date in NJYC. Having wanted to partner with the NPS of any project for the longest time, I found the synergy arising from this multi-faceted partnership of the NPS, The Corps Network, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and NJYC was infectious. As a program director, it opened my eyes to what was possible."


Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
Sandy Hook Unit Coordinator Pete McCarthy said of our work:

“The National Park Service has enjoyed hosting the New Jersey Youth Corps as part of the HOPE program, the crew has done a great job in the rehabilitation of the Building 26 porch which has created an outdoor laboratory for the group to expand their skills in historic preservation and construction.”

Additionally, John Harlan Warren, External Affairs Officer for the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway NRA said:

“The Building 26 porch restoration would not have happened nearly this soon, or at this little cost, if it wasn't for New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg and HOPE. Gateway National Recreation Area's Sandy Hook Unit was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and it is still recovering. While we work on water supply, housing for park employees and other major points, we have set aside issues like the dilapidated front porch of our Headquarters building, which was structurally unsafe and looked terrible to visitors. By restoring the historic porch, not only do NJYC youths learn valuable career and workplace skills, but they also make us in the National Park Service look good---literally."

Gateway NRA Superintendent Jen Nersesian said at the ribbon cutting event,

"We couldn't be more happy with the results of this project. The work that was done in spectacular!"


Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

Corpsmember Khalil Little expressed, “We actually get the privilege to get to come here and work on this building. We get to learn about our history, and learn those things to make us better employees as well. Plus, we get to be at the Jersey Shore for the summer, getting paid to do all this. How could you not appreciate that?”

Corpsmember Phil Young said, "I thought I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts, but after this – I’d have to consider construction as well.”

Corpsmember Tyler Corter was thankful for the opportunity. Having some experience on construction crews before, he gained a heightened appreciation for the level of detail in some of the trim work. “I never thought I’d be able to participate in something as satisfying as this. I’m having fun.”




Major Preservation Efforts Underway for HOPE Crew Project at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Article, written by Victoria Hill, appears in Q2 News. Published July 30, 2014.

CROW AGENCY - Settled below Last Stand Hill at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, headstones mark the graves of more than 5,000 veterans and their loved ones.

A major headstone preservation project is underway at Custer National Cemetery after decades of natural wear and tear. 

"They go through periods of freeze and thaw that deteriorate their condition," explained Christopher Ziegler, chief of resource management at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. "They sink, they settle, they get stained heavily."

It's all part of a new project by the National Trust for Historic Preservation called HOPE, or the Hands-on-Preservation-Experience.

The battlefield is one of the first national parks to participate.

"It's very hard work here in the sun," Ziegler said. "The headstones weigh around 150 pounds a piece and many of them are stuck in the ground really good and require lots of cleaning."

It takes one hour to get one headstone dug up, cleaned, settled back into the ground, leveled out.

"Almost 100 years ago, a lot of these were placed here and now they need work and it's a respect thing that we'd like to show," said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Clay Skeens. "It's definitely worth the time and effort. It is a lot of work but like I said, it's worth it."

Skeens, 30, is one of six veterans helping with preservation efforts through the Montana Conservation Corps.

When Skeens arrived to lend a hand, it was only his second time at the battlefield.

"We never got to shake these guys' hands and thank them," Skeens said. "So this is our way of thanking them for their service and just showing people that veterans help veterans whether they are alive or dead."

Crews began preservation efforts mid-July and are scheduled to continue into August. The entire project will be divided over the next four years and eventually all of the stones will receive maintenance.

"The amount of pride that I have in the groups that are doing this work, the amount of pride and satisfaction I see in the work they're accomplishing and how much we are now going to better represent the significance of this site, it just really makes me proud of all the work they're accomplishing," Ziegler said.

A total of $500,000 is budgeted to preserve all of the headstones and monuments throughout the park.

How Youth Corps Are Saving Historic Places: Restoring Clifton Mansion with Civic Works

Article, written by Lauren Walser, appears on the National Trust for Historic Preservation website.

Jamal Banks leans in to study two pieces of rotted wood recently removed from the third-floor ceiling of historic Clifton Mansion in Baltimore.

"See how these pieces fit together? This is called a mortise and tenon joint," explains John Ciekot, special projects director of Civic Works, a nonprofit youth service corps headquartered in the mansion.

Banks' eyes light up as he runs his hand along the crumbling wood.

"I see," he says. "So it was put together like a puzzle." He studies it a second longer. "Wow," he adds. "This wood is old."

This is the sort of detail that excites Banks these days. Since February, the 23-year-old has been helping to restore Clifton Mansion as a Civic Works AmeriCorps member. He's been removing and saving floorboards that date to 1812 and tearing down drywall added in the 1960s, uncovering architectural elements and the bones of a centuries-old structure in the process.

Teaming with master carpenters, Banks and his fellow corpsmembers are preserving the local landmark that has served as Civic Works' headquarters for more than two decades. They're developing valuable construction skills that will give them an edge in the job market. And considering the delicate nature of working inside a house as old as Clifton Mansion, they're also receiving a crash course in historic preservation.

“You can really feel the age as you walk through the building. It’s like a time machine,” says Banks. When he’s done with his day’s work, he likes to wander through the mansion, exploring the original footprint of the Georgian-style house and its later Italianate-style additions. The house was built between 1801 and 1803 by Captain Henry Thompson, a merchant and ship owner. Philanthropist Johns Hopkins, who founded the well-known Baltimore university of the same name, made the additions in the 1840s and '50s.

Banks laughs as he points to the school across the street. “That's where I went to high school,” he says to Ciekot. “I always used to see this mansion. I walked by it every day, but I never knew what it was. Now, here I am working on it.”

More than 25,000 young people each year, including Jamal Banks, benefit from job and leadership training (and, in some cases, academic programming) in service corps programs like Civic Works. The 21-year-old nonprofit is a member of The Corps Network, a national association that advocates and provides support for more than 100 youth development programs modeled after the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. These organizations engage young people, ages 16 to 25, across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (For veterans, the age limit is 35.)

“Some of our young people come into corps with maybe a high school diploma or GED, some come in at the third-grade reading level, or from foster care or incarceration, and some come in having graduated college,” says Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network. “So the corps try to address a wide range of needs for a diverse set of young people.”

The scope of work undertaken by the corps programs is just as wide-ranging as the young men and women who enroll. They tackle projects ranging from trail building and habitat restoration to community gardening and disaster response.

Preservation work has entered the repertoire of some member corps, like Civic Works. For instance, five young members of the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa helped restore the icehouse at the 1912 vacation home of architect Charles Buechner on Lake Superior's Sand Island last summer. And in 2011, the Southwest Conservation Corps received The Corps Network's annual Service Project of the Year award for its Tribal Preservation Program. Located at Acoma Pueblo, which is part of the National Trust Historic Site Acoma Sky City in New Mexico, the program trains young Native Americans to preserve historic and prehistoric sites.

But many corps programs simply don’t have the time, the resources, or the know-how to take on these sorts of large-scale preservation projects.

Enter the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Working with The Corps Network, the National Trust recently launched its Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew. This new initiative connects with The Corps Network's member groups to teach young people skills they can use to save historic places.

“The goal of the HOPE Crew is to engage a new set of future preservationists,” says Monica Rhodes, the National Trust’s manager of volunteer outreach, who has taken the HOPE Crew from concept to reality. “And in doing so, we're opening up the field of preservation to an audience that might not get exposure to it.”

On March 10, the HOPE Crew broke ground on its very first project: the restoration of Skyland Stable, a rustic wooden structure built in 1939 near Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. The HOPE Crew teamed young corpsmembers from the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia with Fred Andreae, a preservation architect from Front Royal, Va., who served as the group's preservation adviser. David Logan of Vintage, Inc., a building company that specializes in historic restoration, joined Andreae on the project to teach corpsmembers the ins and outs of preservation construction as they restored the deteriorating stable.

“The students already have experience with construction, but just not on historic sites,” Rhodes explains.

The HOPE Crew allows The Corps Network to expand the scope of the job training its member corps can offer. It also increases the number of projects each corps can tackle. And the more work the various corps can take on, the more young people they can engage.

“It's a win-win for everyone,” Sprenkel says. “There’s obviously no shortage of historic sites that need work, so making sure there's a new generation of workers who can take care of these places — and making sure there's a new generation of people who care about them, period — I think is pretty important.”

Though significant, the work undertaken by young corpsmembers is hardly glamorous. At San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas, members of the Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC) have been hard at work repointing the mortar on the stone walls of 18th-century missions. They have performed the same task on the Espada Acequia, a Spanish Colonial irrigation ditch built by Franciscan friars in the 1740s and the oldest Spanish aqueduct in the United States. The corpsmembers mix mortar while sweating profusely under the boiling Texas sun, hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of the material over to the missions' walls. They chip out the old mortar and replace it with a fresh batch. Repeat.

“It was grueling,” says Josh Conrad, who served in the TxCC (then called Environmental Corps) back in 2008. “We're talking manual labor to the max. It was great.”

Conrad was an inaugural participant in TxCC’s masonry apprenticeship program. Young corpsmembers there train alongside master stonemasons, which have included the just-retired, Scottish-born John Hibbitts. (Hibbitts worked on the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the world's sixth-largest cathedral.) The veterans teach their apprentices the masonry techniques needed to preserve stone structures throughout Texas' state parks.

Hibbitts and masons from the National Park Service are more than eager to pass on their rare and highly specialized skills — skills they fear are being lost with each successive generation.

And for Conrad, who had taken a year off from architecture school at the University of Texas at Austin, the experience was eye-opening. When he returned to UT-Austin the next year, he began pursuing a second graduate degree: a master's in historic preservation.

“When you're in architecture school,” Conrad says, “you're working on paper, working on a computer, and you don't really get to deal with the actual building as much as you might want. So I took to this masonry internship as a way to explore that idea, that need I had to work on buildings and understand them. And when I was out there working, I was like, 'This is great. This is what I want to do.’ So I went back to school and really focused myself.”

Today Conrad, 32, is a preservation specialist at Hardy Heck Moore Inc., a historic preservation and cultural resources management consulting firm in Austin. He also maintains the Austin Historical Survey Wiki, a historic properties database he helped create as a graduate student that is now in use by the city of Austin.

And many of Conrad's fellow TxCC members also have found their professional calling through the masonry program. Some have gone on to take jobs with the National Park Service or with stonemasons in Austin. Others have joined the staff of American YouthWorks (TxCC’s parent organization, in conjunction with AmeriCorps), continuing their commitment to service.

In fact, corps all over the country are jump-starting careers. In Charleston, S.C., 28-year-old Kedrick Wright found a new calling of his own: making homes more energy efficient.

Though he now works as a firefighter for the city of North Charleston, Wright spent more than two years serving with The Corps Network member Energy Conservation Corps (ECC). This AmeriCorps-affiliated program of the Charleston-based Sustainability Institute trains and certifies young men and women to retrofit low-income homes with energy-efficient systems.

Despite his demanding schedule, Wright also continues to work part-time with CharlestonWISE, another energy auditing and contracting program within the Sustainability Institute. After all, he says, “There's still more I want to learn. I want to grow as an energy auditor and get [further] certification.”

Listening to Wright rattle off the different options for insulating historic homes, or the step-by-step process of conducting an energy audit, or even the differences he notices between the construction of Charleston's newest houses and its oldest ones (“Those old houses are made to endure the weather here,” he marvels), it’s hard to believe that when he entered the ECC just three years ago, he had no experience in either construction or weatherization. But with a toddler to support and few job prospects, Wright signed up to work with the ECC and got hooked. He found he especially enjoyed his work on Charleston's many historic homes.

“It's considerably more difficult,” he says. “These homes were made to breathe and made to swelter in the South with the high humidity here. So when you change the dynamic of a house, you can run into problems like mold, or things like condensation in areas that weren’t sweating before, because you sealed it up too tight. We have to come up with innovative ways for dealing with these old houses to make them more energy efficient without changing their overall character. It’s really cool.”

Beyond inspiring new career paths, the years these young people spend serving in corps programs build pride and confidence. The work provides a sense of accomplishment that they carry with them for life. “It may not seem that significant while you're doing it,” says Parc Smith, CEO of American YouthWorks in Austin since 2010. “But then you step back a minute, and you realize, wow, the work you just did was on one of the oldest buildings in Texas, and maybe one of the oldest in the country. What [the corpsmembers] are doing today is going to be here for the next hundred years or more for future generations to enjoy. They're going to take their children back to see the projects they worked on across the state.”

The communities benefit, too.

“Most of our members grow up here, they stay here, they'll raise their families here,” says Jay Bell, program manager of the ECC. “So they’re doing work that will impact their families and their community for many, many years down the road. They'll always have that. Having a program like this [in Charleston] is, I think, one of the best things to happen here. We're preserving our communities.”

John Ciekot at Civic Works seconds that notion. “When you walk in the door of Clifton Mansion,” he says, “you're going to be hit with not only history, you're going to be hit with the future: Here's what you can do to serve and improve the community.” He sees the young corpsmembers’ role in restoring Clifton Mansion as a catalyst for a larger transformation in Baltimore.

It's impossible to say who gains more: the corpsmembers, who learn new job skills and find new directions in life, or the communities that see their historic properties cared for by the next generation of stewards. To many corps leaders, this question is beside the point. “Young people are so rarely asked to do anything significant,” Parc Smith says. “And here, we're asking them to take care of some of the nation's oldest buildings. That's an important job.”


Delaware North Companies Announces Significant Commitment to HOPE Crews at Gettysburg Summit

This past week at the Aspen Institute's Gettysburg Summit on National Service, Delaware North Companies Principal, Jerry Jacobs Jr., in partnership with Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, announced a $3 million commitment to additional HOPE Crew projects.

This announcement follows a successful HOPE Crew pilot project in Shenandoah National Park, where a crew from Harpers Ferry Job Corps in collaboration with Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia restored the historic Skyland Stables. The project was recently featured on PBS Newshour, and also according to HOPE Crew partners resulted in cost savings of 25% when compared to what it would have cost for the park to work with a traditional contractor to restore the Stables.

Most of the new Delaware North funded HOPE Crew projects will take place in Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Olympic, and Shenandoah National Parks.

"Delaware North Companies should be applauded for continuing to support the HOPE Crew initiative with such a substantial and meaningful commitment," said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. "Combined with the other HOPE Crew projects that have recently occured and will also soon get under way in places including New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, and Virginia, there is already significant proof that these partnerships yield cost-effective training for youth to gain historic preservation skills, while also getting meaningful projects done that Americans can appreciate."

[Video] HOPE Crew Partnership Featured on PBS Newshour

Earlier this week, PBS Newshour aired a segment about our new HOPE Crew Partnership with the Trust for Historic Preservation and many other partners. The five minute piece focuses on the historic stable project in Shenandoah National Park, that was recently completed by a Harpers Ferry Jobs Corps / Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia HOPE Crew. We think it's a great watch and encourage you to view it below.

Mission Accomplished! Historic Stables in Shenandoah National Park Restored by 1st HOPE Crew

Photos by The Trust for Historic Preservation and The Corps Network

On Wednesday, June 4th, members of the first HOPE Crew participated in a ribbon-cutting event at the historic Skyland Stables, where they had recently completed a variety of projects to restore the stables. Corpsmembers seemed immensely proud of their work, and the skills they had gained. Some even had bonded with horses, and planned to visit them again for a ride over the summer (Sugarfoot the horse seemed to have been particularly fond of the Corpsmembers).

The historic preservation project was made possible by a large number of partners, including The Trust for Historic Preservation, Delaware North, Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia, Harper's Ferry Job Corps, Shenandoah National Park, and The Corps Network. Leaders from each organization attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition to the earlier article about the project featured on, an article on covered the story. Enjoy the before and after photos below and we look forward to additional HOPE Crew projects having similar levels of success.



National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards the Texas Conservation Corps a Preservation Grant for Work at LBJ’s Grandparent’s Cabin

Press Release Issued by Texas Conservation Corps and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Johnson City, Texas (Wednesday, March 14, 2014)—Today, the Texas Conservation Corps was awarded a $ 5,000 grant by the  National Trust for Historic Preservation for a Hands-On-Preservation-Experience (HOPE) Crew project.  These grant funds will be used immediately to make repairs on a cabin at Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park originally inhabited by LBJ’s grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, in the 1860’s.

This HOPE Crew project, overseen by craft  experts  from the  National Park  Service’s Western Center for Historic Preservation, is taking place this week in Johnson City, Texas. The project will result in critical repairs to the cabin while also transferring these unique historic preservation skills to the workforce of the next generation.  AmeriCorps members from the Texas Conservation Corps are hewing new wooden porch beams and making other repairs using tools that would have been used in the original construction in the 1860’s.  The Texas Conservation Corps is a program of American YouthWorks in Austin, Texas   that  places  teams  of  youth  and  young  adults  on  experiential  conservation, preservation and disaster response projects across the region.

"Programs like the Texas Conservation Corps help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "We are honored to provide a grant to the program which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage."

Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds range from $2,500 to $5,000 and have provided over $15 million in preservation support since 2003. These matching grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach campaigns.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s

Preservation Fund grants, visit:

About American YouthWorks

American YouthWorks is an education and jobs training nonprofit based in Austin, Texas.   The agency has been serving the community since 1981 and offers a diverse set of programs for young people, ages 16 to 28, who want to change their lives through education, workforce training, and service to their country. For more information see

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed  to protecting  America’s  rich  cultural  legacy  and  helping  build  vibrant,  sustainable communities that reflect our nation’s diversity. Follow us on Twitter  @presnation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

Boiler Plate: 
Johnson City, Texas (Wednesday, March 14, 2014)—Today, the Texas Conservation Corps was awarded a $ 5,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for a Hands-On-Preservation-Experience (HOPE) Crew project. These grant funds will be used immediately to make repairs on a cabin at Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park originally inhabited by LBJ’s grandparents, Sam and Eliza Johnson, in the 1860’s.

New Jersey Youth Corps Participates in HOPE Crew Volunteer Day at Historic Stadium

Written by Michael Muckle, Executive Director of the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg.

Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey is a historic 10,000-seat municipal stadium built from 1931–32 on a dramatic escarpment above Paterson's National Historic Landmark Great Falls. It is one of only a handful of stadiums surviving nationally that once played host to significant Negro league baseball during America's Jim Crow era. The stadium was designated as a National Historic Landmark in March 2013 and a Paterson Historic Landmark in May 2013.

On April 16th, under the guidance of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Hands-On Preservation Experience HOPE Crew program, New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg & of Paterson, along with hundreds of other volunteers, helped paint Hinchliffe Stadium as part of the venues' National Historic Landmark Dedication Ceremony. Over the years the stadium has hosted all types of sporting events, from baseball, boxing, wrestling...even auto racing! We were honored to be part of history and look forward to following the progress and eventual return of this historic venue to its former glory! More photos below.  #SaveHinchliffe  

Mary Ellen's Blog: The Next Generation of Historic Preservationists

April 7, 2014

By now, many of us who are familiar with the conservation world have heard the numbers:  as of 2012, a full 38% of the Department of the Interior’s workforce, 35% of the Department of Agriculture’s workforce and 25% of the Bureau of Land Management’s workforce became eligible for retirement, and these numbers only continue to grow. Fortunately, every day thousands of young people across the country learn about conservation and develop green skills through Service and Conservation Corps programs. By providing teens and young adults the opportunity to serve outdoors, Corps foster the growth of America’s next – and more diverse – generation of environmental stewards.  

 By training the future protectors of our natural spaces, Corps help ensure that our parks and waterways are preserved for generations of American’s to enjoy. Now, through The Corps Network’s partnership with The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Corps will also help ensure that America’s historic buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes will also be preserved for future generations. 

Right now, Corpsmembers with the first Hands On Preservation Experience (HOPE) Crew are working alongside preservation experts of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service to restore the Skyland Stable at Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. At the completion of this project, the newly-repaired 1930’s stable will connect the public to over 200 miles of equestrian trails, and the first HOPE Crew cohort will be trained in craft skills and important preservation techniques.   

The Skyland Stable restoration project is just the beginning: the goal is to complete 100 HOPE Crew projects throughout the country by 2016. Working with the Trust, the Park Service and private funders, members of The Corps Network will have the opportunity to engage their Corpsmembers in the preservation of structures and places that are important to the history of our country.

Corps already provide much needed help in addressing the billions of dollars of backlogged maintenance work in our national, state and local parks. HOPE Crews represent another way that Corps will make a real and lasting impact on the places that define our communities. For decades, Corps have helped young people gain skills in land and water management. They have helped Corpsmembers understand and appreciate our connection with the natural world. It’s exciting to know that now, by serving in HOPE Crews alongside craft professionals, Corpsmembers will also gain skills in historic preservation and learn the importance of our connection with the past. I’m excited to be a part of the Corps movement as Corps play a larger role in developing not only the next generation of conservationists, but also the generation of preservationists. 

The Corps Network Partners with The National Trust for Historic Preservation to Train Next Generation of Preservation Professionals

Through “HOPE Crews” (Hands On Preservation Experience Crews), young people in Service and Conservation Corps programs nationwide will work with The Trust for Historic Preservation and other partners, including the National Park Service, to help protect and save America’s historic places.