This summer we plan to highlight several of the participants in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. To view all Faces of the 21CSC stories, please click here. The following story was provided by Utah Conservation Corps, a 21CSC program operator.
Jessica Gibbons is the AmeriCorps crew leader for the Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) bike crew. Originally from the Midwest, graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Biology and Environmental Science.
Jessica learned about the UCC and the Corps movement a few summers ago through a person she worked with from Green Corps Chicago. She joined the UCC as a crew member in August 2014 and completed the fall season removing Russian olive as part of the multi-corps Escalante River Watershed Project. She stayed on for the winter season that was highlighted by a project in Bryce Canyon National Park completing corridor work felling trees for multi-use path.
She became interested in the concept of the bike crew when UCC staff were pitching the idea to members last winter as she rode a bike a lot during her time in Chicago. This interest in cycling included a tour from Chicago to San Francisco in the summer of 2013. Jessica said the concept of a crew completing conservation projects with a bicycle as transportation made sense as it “tied together two things I really love.” This summer she is most excited about “getting to see more of Utah by bike” while leading the nation’s first pedal-powered crew.
After UCC, Jessica would like to be involved in fire work and possibly obtain a master’s in Forestry. She has appreciated her time in the UCC as it has added depth to undergraduate degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies “seeing the work first-hand that goes into conservation.”
When asked advice she would give to other young people thinking about joining a Conservation Corps she states “conservation projects are a great way for young people to realize what a work setting is and communication lessons that are part of it. Conservation Corps provide invaluable experience because you can go anywhere in the country and have a unique experience. You get to meet unique people. It’s hard work and a lot of fun!”
Jessica also stresses the importance of Conservation Corps providing training and certifications for members along with the chance to “talk to people that work with the BLM, Park Service, etc…that’s almost more important making those connections.”
Want to know more? You can listen to an interview with Jessica about the bike crew with 90.9 FM KRCL by clicking here.