Next Generation of Aquatic Restoration Leaders: Abbey Toomer

 

Operated by Trout Headwaters, Inc., Waders in the Water (WitW) is an interactive, webinar-delivered training that instructs students in common restoration industry tools, techniques, and processes, workplace safety, and proven, practical, & innovative habitat enhancement. WitW graduates have a path to projects, jobs, and careers in the $10B/Yr restoration economy. Corps that offer the WitW training are better positioned to participate in the growing number of public-private restoration partnerships with for-profit, non-profit and government entities.

This summer, The Corps Network and THI are partnering on a blog series to highlight young adults who have benefited from the WitW experience.

 


She grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where she loved to fish Lake Norfork and the White River with her Dad and Grandfather, “Pa”. It was this draw to nature and the outdoors that, in 2011, led Abbey Toomer to join Florida’s Community Training Works, Inc., also known as Young American Conservation Corps. 

Starting as an office assistant in 2011, Abbey, now 28, learned the ins and outs of financing and managing a Corps. After three years in this position, she transitioned to working in the field and training other crewmembers.

Over the years, Abbey numerous certifications and completed trainings in proper ax usage, Wilderness First Aid and CPR, and wildland firefighter basic management. She also completed the Waders in the Water training, which introduced her to water safety and the concept of how all environmental systems are connected. With this experience, Abbey spent three months in Mississippi training new Corpsmembers with Climb CDC Conservation Corps in skills such as endangered species tracking, processing, handling, and cataloging invasive species.

Abbey has worked mostly in the Florida Panhandle, but has also worked in Ft. Lauderdale, St. Augustine, and on the Florida National Scenic Trail. Recently, she and her crewmembers are worked with the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory to expand Living Dock; a learning platform used by thousands of school children, marine biology and aquaculture students, and medical and scientific researchers. They also recently partnered with Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory on oyster restoration, coastal restoration and trail maintenance.

Abbey believes the Waders in the Water program provided her insight into new perspectives on nature. While she has always considered herself environmentally conscious and tries to live as “green” as possible, Abbey’s made some changes since the training. She now uses a “First, Do No Harm” approach in her work, pausing to assess both the environment and proposed solutions before taking any action. She asks herself, “Is this solution really the BEST thing to do for nature and this particular habitat?" Abbey strives to help Mother Nature heal herself, instead of counting on nature to fix whatever problems humans impose. She now considers the unique qualities and needs of each project location, knowing that, in restoration or rehab work, one size rarely fits all. 

The professional training she has received through WitW gave Abbey greater confidence to work on bigger restoration projects and communicate more knowledgably with land and project managers. She is excited about continuing Gulf Coast restoration work and looks forward to, along with her team, applying the knowledge she gained through WitW.

“So many folks living in rural Arkansas, and other communities throughout the US that struggle with crippling high unemployment, could really benefit from this training,” reflected Abbey. “These folks would not only become better job candidates for organizations and companies restoring lands and waters, but they would also improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities, for many years to come.” 

Gulf Coast Corpmembers Awarded Scholarships to Participate in Waders in the Water Training

Members of the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast install a living shoreline
 

Waders in the Water Certified Corpsmembers Partner to Help Private Land Owners 

Waders in the Water graduates from the New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg restore a riparian buffer 
 

Submitted by Luke Frazza
Trout Headwaters, Inc.

In another creative private-public partnership, Waders in the Water (WitW) graduates from the New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg partnered with the New Jersey Audubon and the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority/Wallkill River Watershed Management Group to work with private landowners in the Highlands region to restore habitat and improve water quality. The planting project will help reduce excess phosphorous, considered by the EPA, "one of America's most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems."  

Register Here for the Waders in the Water class

Graduates have participated in the WitW interactive, webinar-delivered training that instructs students in:

  • Common industry tools, techniques, and processes 
  • Workplace safety
  • Proven, Practical, & Innovative Habitat Enhancement 

Certified graduates have a path to projects, jobs, and careers in the $10B/Yr. restoration economy and certified corps are better positioned to participate in the growing number of Public-private Restoration partnerships

What creative private-public partnerships await your trained and certified corpsmembers?
 


The next two-day training takes place:      

Mon.  June 20, 2016 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EDT

Tues. June 21, 2016 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EDT

This Training meets 2 times. Attendees are expected to attend both sessions.

 
Class size is limited so Register Here Today!

Contact info@troutheadwaters  with any questions.

Out There - Florida's Backcountry

By Crew Leaders, Abbey Toomer & Shane Murphy, who along with Andrew Oliver (pictured above) and their crew participants from Community Training Works (CTW) & Young American Conservation Corps (YACC) have worked along the Florida National Scenic Trail, Apalachicola National Forests, Osceola National Forest and trained crew at CCFC's first project in City of Apalachicola, to name a few locations.

Being crew leaders working Florida’s backcountry can be both exhilarating and miserable. We’ve been on the job from the swamps of Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve to the tall pines and ravines of the panhandle.  Florida’s climate provides an awesome year round growing season but leaves us with only 5 to 6 months of cooler weather for a safe working environment in the thicket of lush vegetation one finds in the southernmost state.

Since the sheer volume of work potential is staggering on a peninsula over 500 miles long and 160 miles wide, we just focus day to day maintaining trails, creating new trails, building and repairing footbridges, adding blazing and signage, or installing farm fence. These are just a few of the projects we've done in our couple years as a Forestry crew. While front country projects can be approached as any normal work day, most of the sites have been in the remote backcountry where commuting is unfeasible requiring hiking in fully equipped to camp overnight on “hitches” from 2 days up to 2 weeks. Out there we’ve encountered hot and freezing temperatures, dangerous thunderstorms as well as rambunctious wildlife and swarming insects. The upside is the food tastes better over a hot campfire and the stars really do grab your attention on a clear night. So with a positive attitude plus training and resources we were able to be successful with each project helping to preserve these less travelled forgotten environments of Florida.

As the season winds down and the typical hotter months return there are opportunities for further certifications in Wilderness First Aid & CPR, Wild land Fire training, Trout Headwaters “Wader’s in the Water Basic & Level 2 and advanced chain saw training.  It’s a great time to meet with other corps to share ideas and learn new methods of back country work and lifestyle.  It has been a privilege to train new corps members in their local communities and we welcome members from other corps to check out our projects in the sunshine state!  Roughin’ it and lovin’ itl!
 

 

Trained Corpsmembers Work on Climate Resilience Across the Nation

Submitted by Luke Frazza
Trout Headwaters, Inc.

 

Please join us in wishing good luck to the first ever group of Resilience AmeriCorps as they join Waders in the Water (WitW) graduates across the country working on-the-ground to help develop and implement local climate resilience plans.

Waders in the Water (WitW) graduates from a broad spectrum of conservation corps nationwide have been battling climate change since WitW was deployed almost two years ago.

Certified corpsmembers have worked on climate resilient projects including:

  • Wetland mitigation projects in multiple states to offset adverse development impacts
  • Stream restoration with the New Jersey Audubon Society
  • NFWF Wetland Restoration project in Washington, DC
  • Coastal stream and ecological data collection to support the Corps Network’s own Coastal Streams and Habitat Restoration and Management Initiative in the Gulf.

WitW was designed to introduce students to sustainable aquatic restoration techniques by teaching them how to improve the climate-resiliency of our streams, rivers, and wetlands while inspiring participants to become the next generation of stewards of our natural and cultural resources. It offers an opportunity to earn the only private restoration industry-recognized credential in the installation of aquatic restoration projects.

The planet we share, and the growing restoration economy needs a trained workforce now.      

         Register Here for an upcoming Waders in the Water class

The next two-day training takes place:       

Mon.  Jan. 25, 2016  - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST

Tues. Jan. 26, 2016  - 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST

This Training meets 2 times. Attendees are expected to attend both sessions.

Class size is limited so Register Here Today!

Contact Luke Frazza with any questions luke@troutheadwaters.com

New Policies Create Opportunities for Waders in the Water-trained Youth

Submitted by Luke Frazza
Trout Headwaters, Inc.


New Waters in the Water students can now take advantage of a revised syllabus, a new edition training manual, and numerous EcoBlu Analyst platform updates. All these improvements coincide with the just announced federal conservation policies by the White House, and immediately echoed by the Dept. of Interior, that will create many new opportunities for Waders in the Water certified Conservation Corpsmembers.

These new directives mandate federal agencies to give preference to advance compensation mechanisms like mitigation banks to offset unavoidable environmental impacts from new development, infrastructure, and energy exploration.

Michael Sprague, Trout Headwaters CEO and Waders in the Water instructor, consulted with DOI, USFWS, and BLM for several years before issuance of these new directives. The new policies incorporate many of the principles of compensatory mitigation outlined in the National Mitigation Banking Association's Universal Principles of Compensatory Mitigation report released in July of 2015 which Sprague co-authored.

Let your Corpsmembers train with those who truly understand the restoration economy.   Register Here Now!

The restoration community is ramping-up in response, and increasing investments in conservation projects on private and public lands, adding to the already rapidly expanding U.S. restoration industry that now creates more than 120,000 jobs and nearly $10B in direct economic activity every year.

In response to the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps' (21CSC) effort to put young people and veterans to work nationwide, the Waders in the Water green jobs training and certification was specifically designed under a public-private partnership between The Corps Network and Trout Headwaters, Inc.

Waders in the Water:

  • introduces students to sustainable aquatic restoration techniques by teaching them how to improve the climate-resiliency of our streams, rivers, and wetlands
  • offers them an opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential
  • is the only private restoration industry-recognized program for the installation of aquatic restoration projects
  • inspires participants to become the next generation of stewards of our natural and cultural resources

According to Adam Davis, Partner and Director of Research, Policy, & New Markets for Ecosystem Investment Partners in San Rafael, California:

"A highly-trained Youth Corps workforce will be a powerful tool for the restoration economy. There is certainly no shortage of work to be done." 

And Michael Gaffney of the White Mountain Youth Corps remarked:

"I think the training/certification gives our partners and potential partners more confidence that we're serious about restoration work and that we can be a trusted source for their restoration implementation plans." 

The Restoration Economy is calling. Register Here for an upcoming Waders in the Water class

The next two-day training takes place:       

  • Thurs. Dec. 17, 2015 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST
  • Fri.      Dec. 18, 2015 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM EST

This Training meets 2 times. Attendees are expected to attend both sessions.

Class size is limited so Register Here Today!


Contact Luke Frazza with any questions luke@troutheadwaters.com

 

Waders in the Water Aquatic Restoration Training Interactive Support — Now Easier and More Powerful

From our partners at Trout Headwaters, Inc. comes news about enhancements to the Waders in the Water aquatic restoration training they offer to Corpsmembers.

The Waders in the Water online support tool has been newly upgraded to improve system features and ease-of-use. EcoBlu Analyst 2.0, the cloud-based big data system for the Waders in the Water green jobs training and certification program, is now easier to use than ever. The intuitive, interactive maps of member Corps, conservation projects, and potential restoration industry employers are now faster and more user-friendly, and new resources include feeds for conservation jobs and internships.  

Every Waders in the Water student receives password access to the platform so they can explore opportunities in the growing restoration economy and access a wealth of support material to refresh or expand their knowledge, including stream, river, wetland, coastal, and estuary restoration drawings and specifications, resume templates, environmental glossary and more.  WisCorps’ Garrett Shears took the online class and told us “The web based resource is an incredibly valuable tool.” 

This sample interactive map shows various U.S. Conservation Corps which are Waders in the Water certified.

Presently Corpsmembers and leaders in 23 states are applying their new certification and are using EcoBlu Analyst 2.0 to both understand the restoration economy, and to partner with fellow Corps on projects.

White Mountain Youth Corps Founder Mike Gaffney: “I think the training/certification gives our partners and potential partners more confidence that we're serious about restoration work and that we can be a trusted source for their restoration implementation plans.”

Wyoming Conservation Corps Assistant Director Patrick Harrington echoed the values. “Trout Headwaters has developed a truly unique training for the Conservation Corps world,” he said. This platform is just one of the support tools already deployed for the Waders in the Water Level I training.  

Expect an announcement soon on release of the new Waders in the Water level II training. In the meantime, many corps told us early April was a great time to train and certify newly arriving Corpsmembers in aquatic restoration and the green jobs economy.

To participate in the next online webinar training:

Members of The Corps Network can Register Here for the April 6 & 7, (10 am –1 pm EDT) Waders in the Water Level I class.  

The private-public training program continues to offer on-site sessions for groups of 20-40 students to accommodate individual corps needs. Please contact Luke Frazza for more information.

Contacts:

Marie Walker, Vice President, The Corps Network
(202) 737-6272
mwalker@corpsnetwork.org

Luke Frazza, Project Development, Trout Headwaters, Inc.
(703) 244-7460
luke@troutheadwaters.com

Boiler Plate: 
From our partners at Trout Headwaters, Inc. comes news about enhancements to the Waders in the Water aquatic restoration training they offer to Corpsmembers.

Act Now… Time Is Running Out!

Washington, DC – The Corps Network’s Waders in the Water live, online webinar training and certification is filling-up fast.
 

Online Delivery Slashes Cost of Green Jobs training!

 

Online Delivery Slashes Cost of Green Jobs training!

Download PDF version of thie Press Release

Industry Support Grows for Restoration Private-Public Partnership

Corps Network Vice President Marie Walker (C) and NJYC Phillipsburg members participate in a Waders in the Water class. To view video, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnW0CWV1UCI
 
Washington, DC – August 28, 2014 - Aquatic restoration businesses continue to express excitement as Youth Corps nationwide are receiving training and certification for climate-ready aquatic restoration. Graduates of the Waders in the Water training program, created by The Corps Network and Trout Headwaters Inc., will be skilled in aquatic safety, knowledgeable about installation techniques, and ready to provide business and government reliable restoration on streams, rivers and wetlands across the U.S. This industry-recognized credential will build important bridges to enable youth to enter conservation careers by learning how to improve the health, productivity, and climate-resiliency of our streams, rivers, and wetlands.

Trout Headwaters President Mike Sprague said: “I’ve been impressed by the excitement from businesses and government alike who have long wished for such a trained and skilled national workforce. It’s very gratifying to see such widespread support for this important program.”

Doug Lashley, CEO of GreenVest LLC and immediate Past President of the National Mitigation Banking Association, the leading organization in the country engaged in ecological restoration and conservation banking says “this movement presents an incredible opportunity to engage the youth of America to help reverse trends and conditions that impact our waters, streams, rivers and all forms of biodiversity.” Lashley added “Educating youth at an early age on best management practices and an appreciation of the environment will equip them for future jobs in the outdoors, enhance local economies, and most importantly, encourage an appreciation of the restoration of water quality impacting all forms of life. Corporate America can help support this opportunity through Public Private Partnerships as a method of complying with their growing internal sustainability initiatives. It is an investment with no limit on the returns.”
 
Building on the great traditions of the Civilian Conservation Corps since 1933, the Waders in the Water training and certification was built to further the goals of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps which aims to have 100,000 young people and veterans working to improve public lands and waters everywhere.
 
Youth Corps believe this training will enable their members to be hired for projects previously unavailable to them. Because Waders in the Water offers professional training from a third-party industry expert, clients can be confident in the quality of the workforce they are contracting.
 
Director of the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg (NJYCP) Michael Muckle said “I see this program improving not just the quality of our environment, but the quality of the lives of the people in service”. Muckle went on to say “While implementing streamside restoration measures might seem like trying to control the chaos of the natural order of things, we hope to show the participants that by making substantive, small improvements, the ripple effect downstream – literally and figuratively - are sometimes exponential.”
 
Trout Headwaters, Inc.

Trout Headwaters Inc. is the industry leader in sustainable approaches to stream, river, and wetland renewal and repair. As one of the oldest firms in the industry, THI has pioneered approaches using natural materials and native vegetation that can reliably replace hard, invasive treatments that often damage our nation’s streams and rivers. Besides developing and refining new techniques, THI is a staunch advocate for greater sharing of information and more consistent use of assessment and monitoring tools, providing greater certainty of environmental benefits to restoration.
 
Contact:
Luke Frazza, Project Development, Trout Headwaters, Inc.
703-244-7460
luke@troutheadwaters.com
 
New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg

Founded in 1998, New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg provides municipal support to the Town of Phillipsburg, NJ while offering hundreds of youth the opportunity to earn their GED as they serve their community. NJYC Phillipsburg’s conservation projects have included urban tree planting, Delaware River clean-ups, riparian buffer restorations, and assistance with the ecological maintenance of the White Lake Natural Resource Area and other Warren County properties.

Contact:
Michael Muckle, Director, New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg
(908) 859-2969
njycphil@verizon.net

 

Boiler Plate: 
Washington, DC – August 28, 2014 - Aquatic restoration businesses continue to express excitement as Youth Corps nationwide are receiving training and certification for climate-ready aquatic restoration.