Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) – Natural Resources Department, Navajo Regional Office
Dr. Calvert Curley is a Natural Resource Manager for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Navajo Regional office. He has also worked as a Natural Resource Manager for BIA Navajo Ft. Defiance Agency and as an Air Toxics Department Manager for the Navajo Nation EPA. He is Navajo (Dine) from Ganado, AZ. Dr. Curley has worked with 21CSC youth programs in his former capacity with the BIA Ft. Defiance Agency, as well as in his current capacity. He was one of the first BIA Managers to partner with Southwest Conservation Corps to field Ancestral Lands crews on the Navajo Nation. Ancestral Lands is a SCC program that specifically engages Native American youth in meaningful conservation projects on Tribal lands. Thanks to Dr. Curley’s support, the Ancestral Lands Navajo Program has grown and thrived, demonstrating to other BIA offices that partnerships with Corps can be an effective way to complete agency work while also empowering local youth. Dr. Curley has become a national leader for the engagement of Native youth in 21CSC programs.
Q&A with Calvert Curley
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation and preservation?
Growing up in a ranching family, my father continues to improve his ranch by re-seeding, water development and addressing erosion on his ranch. He implemented an erosion control structure such running silt fence lines and using straw bales. He did this to protect the grass field which produces over 1,000 bales of hay annually.
This basically gave me the motivation to work in the field of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
I was fortunate to receive a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Agriculture, and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctoral in Business Administration (DBA).
My Dissertation study is available on the website titled: “Mixed Method Research Study on the Navajo Nation Grazing and the Correlation of Quantitative Data Analysis”.
What advice would you offer to resource management agency units and nonprofits interested in partnering with 21CSC programs?
- What should one expect when partnering with a 21CSC program?
The partnership is a valuable experience for our local youth and that it is important to tap into the youth when they are still in high school so they can build upon the experience from the conservation service corps.
- Where can those interested in working with the 21CSC turn for resources?
Individuals interested in working with the 21CSC can receive resource information from the local 21CSC conveniently located in Gallup, NM.
What advice do you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in preservation and land/water management?
I usually let them know that it is important that as Native American Indian, our traditional way of life is embedded with Natural Resources. Protection of water and traditional medicinal plants is vitally important.
What drives you to support the 21CSC and youth engagement on public lands?
Being in the Natural Resource Management, I have seen there is a need to get more young individuals into the Natural Resource arena. Universities are not producing as many Soil scientist and Range Management Specialist any more.
What do you see as the future of Service and Conservation Corps?
I believe the future outlook for Conservation Corps will continue to impact the Natural Resource Conservation in a positive way. Being able to tap into the youth at an early stage will positively impact the youth and will be able to succeed in their education.