Ben Baldwin is the Youth and Volunteer Programs Manager for the National Park Service Intermountain Region. Ben is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2018. This Award recognizes individuals from agencies and organizations that partner with 21CSC programs to help engage the next generation of conservation and community leaders in service, education and training.
The 2018 Champions of the Year will be recognized at the annual Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting, happening February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. This event is part of The Corps Network National Conference.
- Learn more about Ben– Click here.
- Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award – Click here.
Tell us about your current role.
I am the NPS Intermountain Region (IMR) Youth and Volunteer Programs Manager. In this role I support the 85+ parks across this eight state region. My job is never the same each day; it includes providing policy interpretation, assisting with reporting, advocating for park issues, highlighting successful programs and projects, maintaining relationships and managing fund sources. It is a very rewarding and challenging job. The IMR has a strong and active youth culture which provides a great foundation for the work that we do.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation/land and water management?
I grew up as a ranch kid in Southern Utah. Most of my childhood was spend recreating and working on public lands and I developed my love of rangelands, red rocks and wide-open spaces. This pragmatic personal relationship with land management grew into undergraduate and graduate degrees that provided the technical content and context for conservation.
Tell us about how you have engaged with Service and Conservation Corps.
In my position I had the great opportunity to work with Harry Bruell, former CEO of Conservation Legacy (a Co-Chair organization of the Partnership for the 21CSC). Harry provided me with a great introduction to the inner workings of Corps, what is possible, and the opportunities for the future. Under Harry’s mentorship, I focused on Corps as an important piece of the youth culture in IMR. I continue to invest in the NPS IMR relationships with all of the Corps in our region and consider them a critical part of our workforce and how we do our work in the future.
What advice would you offer to other employees from land/water management agencies and nonprofits that are interested in partnering with 21CSC programs (What to expect, etc.)
The best advice I can give is to communicate. The 21CSC programs are our partners with service-wide master agreements. This allows a different relationship than with contractors or other partners. More importantly they share common goals and objectives to engage and employ youth and conserve public lands. They are part of our workforce and provide an adaptive, creative, and flexible way to achieve our important work.
What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?
21CSC is an effective, creative, flexible and important partner. They provide us new tools and programs to focus on the conservation mission. They get work done on the ground, provide youth with great opportunities, and respond quickly to changing challenges. Because of the large amount of Corps that are geographically distributed, there are many options and tools available. Corps provide local solutions built on local relationships, technical knowledge and passion for conservation.
What advice would you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?
Connect your passion to proactive management of your career. Often NPS and other federal jobs are the focus for careers in conservation. If conservation of public lands is your goal, widen your perspective of what positions and organizations can help you achieve that goal. Align what is best for you and best for conservation; personal sacrifice is not the key to a successful career. Taking care of yourself allows you to take care of conservation. Alignment of helping people and public lands will provide fuel for your passion and lead to a much more productive and enjoyable career.