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The Partnership for the 21CSC Announces 2020 Winners of 21CSC National Distinction and Champion of the Year Awards

Annual award recognizes resource management professionals for their efforts to help develop the next generation of resource professionals, outdoor enthusiasts, and community leaders

 

Contact:
Hannah Traverse
The Corps Network
1275 K St NW – Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20005
202-737-6272
htraverse@corpsnetwork.og

 

December 19, 2020 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) today announced the 2020 recipients of the 21CSC National Distinction Award and Champion of the Year Award. Honorees will be recognized during the annual Partnership for the 21CSC meeting, taking place February 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. This meeting is part of The Corps Network’s 35th annual National Conference.

The 2020 National Distinction Awardee is Patrick Schulze, Grants Management Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2020 Champions of the Year are Garry Cantley, Archaeologist, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Region; Kathy Mick, Regional Program Manager for Volunteers, Service, Conservation Education and Interpretative Services, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region; Kim Wren, Assistant Manager/Environmental Manager, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; and Jim Ziolkowski, Roads and Trails Foreman, Mount Rainier National Park, National Park Service.

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21CSC Champion of the Year, 2020 – Kathy Mick

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2020 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2020 National Conference. RSVP to attend the annual meeting by clicking here.

 

Kathy Mick
U.S. Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region

Kathy Mick is the Regional Program Manager for Volunteers, Service, Conservation Education and Interpretative Services for the Pacific Southwest Region (California) of the U.S. Forest Service. In this role, Kathy works to connect, national, state, and local partner organizations with the 18 national forests in California. She is passionate about finding ways to engage veterans and young people in learning about the Forest Service through meaningful service opportunities. Kathy was instrumental in developing a strategic plan for volunteerism and service to increase the scope of regional partnerships with Corps. She also helped increase regional resources allocated to forests for youth program and leveraged resources to incentivize local units to work with Corps to help them meet critical performance metrics. With Kathy’s support forests in the region have worked with numerous 21CSC organizations, including California Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Urban Corps of San Diego, the Watershed Center, and others.

“Kathy has served over 17 years in the Pacific Southwest Region and has been a critical leader in the expansion of Service Corps partnerships and collaborations. During this time, she has served in numerous details on forests and with California state government that have informed her ability to work with an expanding network of 21CSC partners.”
– Merlene Mazyck, U.S. Forest Service

Continue reading for a Q&A with Kathy

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21CSC Champion of the Year, 2020 – Patrick Schulze

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2020 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2020 National Conference. RSVP to attend the annual meeting by clicking here.

 

Patrick Schulze
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
National Wildlife Refuge System, Headquarters

Patrick Schulze is a Grants Management Specialist based out of the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service (FWS) headquarters outside Washington, DC. In this role, Patrick helps coordinate youth-related grants and agreements. He has worked directly or indirectly with numerous 21st Century Conservation Service Corps member organizations. His responsibilities include helping place interns and crews and ensuring refuges have the support to provide young adults a positive, career-building experience.

Almost single-handedly, Patrick moved the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Natural Resource Conservation Careers Program from a concept on a piece of paper to competitively awarding national cooperative agreements to 21CSC partners across the country. Our participants now have a clearer and more direct pathway to careers in natural resources through federal civil service.”
– Chris Warner, Great Basin Institute

Continue reading for a Q&A with Patrick

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21CSC Champion of the Year, 2020 – Garry Cantley

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2020 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2020 National Conference. RSVP to attend the annual meeting by clicking here.

 

Garry Cantley
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Western Region

Based out of Phoenix, AZ, Garry Cantley is an Archaeologist for the Western Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Garry has worked in this position since 1994, helping protect cultural resources, fight against looting, and assist in the reparation of human remains and funerary objects. Garry has been instrumental in helping Conservation Legacy, a co-chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC, establish an Ancestral Lands Corps program for Hopi youth. Upon first meeting with Conservation Legacy, Garry quickly recognized the impact a Corps could have both on Hopi young people and on the lands and cultural resources of the region. Garry has been a champion for the program, supporting ways to engage the Corpsmembers in education and meaningful service.

“Garry is an incredibly supportive partner and has been a huge asset in the development of our program. With his help, we have been able to serve both our youth and community in a greater capacity. We want to thank Garry for his understanding of our home community and for directing needed resources to our community in order for our small program to grow and continue growing. Kwak-Kwa (Thank You).”
– Marshall Masayesva, Hopi Program Coordinator, Ancestral Lands, Conservation Legacy

Continue reading for Q&A with Garry

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21CSC Champion of the Year 2020 – Kim Wren

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2020 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2020 National Conference. RSVP to attend the annual meeting by clicking here.

 

Kim Wren
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR)

Kim Wren serves as the Assistant Manager/Environmental Manager for the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida. In this role, Kim ensures that operations, resource management, restoration and conservation goals are met for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). She also oversees management of the region’s eleven aquatic preserves, as well as the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve. Kim was a foundational partner in the development of Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast and Conservation Corps of the Emerald Coast (both programs of Franklins Promise and the GulfCorps initiative).

“Kim Wren is is committed to the success of the young people in these programs, serving not just as a technical expert in coastal conservation, but as a mentor and teacher.”
– Joseph Taylor, Executive Director, Franklin’s Promise Coalition

Continue reading for a Q&A with Kim

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21CSC Champion of the Year, 2020 – Jim Ziolkowski

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2020 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2020 National Conference. RSVP to attend the annual meeting by clicking here.

Jim Ziolkowski
National Park Service
Mount Rainier National Park

Jim Ziolkowski had a transformative experience as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) member at Mount Rainier and went on to work there. In his current role supervising the park’s roads, trails and auto shop, Jim is a tireless advocate for Corps. He regularly uses his budget to find ways to engage several different 21CSC organizations, including SCA, American Conservation Experience, Northwest Youth Corps, and Washington Conservation Corps. Jim works across divisions at the park to consistently build a thriving youth program at Mount Rainier. He takes care to explore ways to make connections between various youth organizations and among the young people themselves. He also makes an effort to build the Mount Rainier professional trail crew with alums from Conservation Corps.

“Jim champions our work internally and externally; down the chain and up the chain. Always speaking from the heart, he is an eloquent spokesman about the impact youth conservation service had on him and the essential need to pass it forward.”
– Jay Satz, Senior Director of Partnerships and Innovation, Northwest Youth Corps

Continue reading for a Q&A with Jim

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21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act Signed into Law

Legislation will help grow Service and Conservation Corps movement by expanding the Public Lands Corps authority to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), establishing an Indian Youth Service Corps initiative, and improving coordination between Corps and agencies under Public Lands Corps Authority

 

Hannah Traverse
The Corps Network
1275 K Street, NW – Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Email: htraverse@corpsnetwork.org

March 13, 2019

 

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, or 21CSC Act, was signed into law yesterday as part of the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), a broad public lands package of more than 100 bills. The 21CSC Act assists the Service and Conservation Corps movement by allowing federal land and water management agencies to create formal, more flexible partnerships with Corps; ensuring better tracking of data and accomplishments; and increasing enrollment in Corps among Native American youth and veterans.

Under the 21CSC Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join the Departments of Interior and Agriculture as part of the Public Lands Corps (PLC) Authority, giving NOAA and the Secretary of Commerce increased flexibility in partnering with qualified Corps to complete maintenance and improvement projects.

Among other provisions, the 21CSC Act also establishes an “Indian Youth Service Corps.” This will allow federal resource management agencies to enter into cooperative agreements with tribes or qualified Corps for the administration of Corps programs that primarily engage Native American young people.

Other key provisions of the legislation include a requirement that the resource management agencies under the PLC Authority each designate a coordinator to facilitate partnerships with qualified Corps; as well as a requirement that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) report to Congress every two years with important data on Corps. This includes enrollment numbers and information about the types of service performed by Corpsmembers. Collecting this information will help demonstrate the impact and value of Corps.

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Q and A with Craig Young: 2019 Champion of the Year

Q and A with Craig Young: 2019 Champion of the Year

Craig Young is a Terrestrial Program Leader with the National Park Service. Craig is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2019. 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 2019 Champions of the Year will be recognized at the annual Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting, happening February 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. This event is part of The Corps Network National Conference.

Learn more about Craig – Click here.
Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award – Click here.


Tell us about your current role.
In my current role, I work with the National Park Service (NPS) as an ecologist and program leader. More specifically, I work for the Heartland Network, one of 32 inventory and monitoring networks within NPS. In this capacity, I lead a small team of excellent plant ecologists who monitor plant communities, wetlands, rare plants, and invasive plants across 15 national park units in the Midwestern U.S. I also manage a small, but energetic Exotic Plant Management Team. This team assists parks with designing, planning, and implementing invasive plant control and restoration projects in those same 15 parks.

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation/land and water management?
Growing up on military bases as a child, I was always able to explore places with woods, rocks, water, and creatures. After writing to the U.S. Forest Service as a junior in high school (this is pre-internet!) to learn about forestry careers, I planned to study forestry. Finding myself at a Centre College, a liberal arts school in Kentucky, the most similar course of study was biology. So, biology it was. During this time, I was given amazing opportunities to work closely as a research assistant for Dr. Robin Kimmerer. That work allowed me to experience field work in the Adirondack Mountains and the Ecuadorean Andes. These experiences inspired me to want to learn more about, enjoy, and protect natural areas. Looking back, I also experienced the power that mentorship can have on a career path as well as a life more broadly. I continued my studies, pursuing bryophyte ecology under Kimmerer’s direction at SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry where I completed a master’s degree in forest biology. That was the start.

Tell us about how you have engaged with Service and Conservation Corps.
My supervisor in the NPS, Mike DeBacker, and regional I&M/EPMT coordinator Carmen Thomson encouraged me to look at young adults organizations as partners for our EPMT work. We already had a history of working closely with numerous high quality individuals through American Conservation Experience and Student Conservation Association. In all of these cases, the interns immersed themselves in our work, contributed, and almost always found a natural next step in their career. One of my most important interactions with Service and Conservation Corps really started in 2010 through a partnership with the Iowa Conservation Corps (ICC). As this program was finding its feet as an extension of the legendary Minnesota program, we were also finding our feet as the Heartland Exotic Plant Management Team. Our team began to train with the Corps members and spend more face-to-face time with their leaders. Through this interaction, I began to understand the deep vision and care that they brought to young adult development. As a result, we have worked with ICC to broaden the range of stewardship activities and educational opportunities for Corps members. The equation of young adults + parks + stewardship = outcomes that are good for parks, good for the public, and formative in so many ways for the Corps members. This is the opportunity that working with Service and Conservation Corps has provided.

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.)?
My advice to land and water management agencies would be that an investment in partnership with the Service and Conservation Corps can actually be strategic. That is, Corps have strengths that federal agencies may not have. For example, Corps can amass large groups for a job that requires operational flexibility. On the other hand, federal land managers provide sites of unrivaled conservation value and a history of leadership in conservation. In my experience, forming a more strategic partnership has required commitment from federal and Corps leadership to openly discuss their vision and to grow that vision over time.

While I initially thought of the Iowa Conservation Corps more as a service provider that could provide natural resource graduates a first opportunity in the field, my view was limited. I now see Corps as able to form hard-working teams of young adults from many different educational and personal backgrounds. The experiences of working with land managers in national parks prepares members for numerous, yet unknown paths. All of this happens while meeting the objectives of important conservation projects on federal lands. This is a win-win.

What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?
The 21CSC really carries on the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Even now, I often see the mark of the CCC in national parks: structures built, forests planted, trails blazed. To think that those CCC workers so skillfully and painstakingly laid stones along trails that I walk on now is humbling. This is the same work that 21CSC offers now – investments of time, energy, skill, and care that will endure into the next generation. The public service mission of the 21CSC expands the capacity of federal land managers to meet the demands of investing in public lands for the enjoyment and inspiration of all our visitors.

What advice would you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?
My sense is that young people are often discouraged as they begin to pursue careers in land and water management because the career path looks less clear than those found in medical, engineering, or accounting fields. I think this is combined with perhaps less certainty on life-time career earnings or career advancement. All of that can be discouraging and disconcerting for youth and their families.

From being in this field for over 20 years, I can assure young people that there is opportunity here. I think some of the uncertainty in how to get started or in predicting career outcomes stems from the abundance rather than the lack of different opportunities in land and water conservation. Because distinct geographies and local cultures strongly shape conservation jobs, they vary more compared to more standardized careers. This is a reality of environmental conservation work that must be embraced in order to find a place in the field.

So my advice is simple, but challenging (even for me at this point in my career) – commit to the work and not to a job or a salary. The career will follow. To prepare, first spend time being in nature and working in nature – in wild places, urban places, rural places. Give yourself the gift of time to begin to develop an intuitive sense of nature in its greatness and smallness. Prepare yourself through formal and informal education. Then learn about the range of actions that people and organizations are taking to integrate the care of land, water, creatures, and people – from scientists, environmental justice activists, land trust officers, impact investors, to green business leaders. Begin your work somewhere, but early on in your career continue to look at job announcements, network, and listen in order to find the slipstream where your talents can best be used. Find a mentor that can help you navigate some of the differences in jobs, organizational cultures, and, yes, salaries. This is a field where everyone needs to knock on many doors throughout a career. Don’t be discouraged – keep knocking!

The Partnership for the 21CSC Announces 2019 Winners of 21CSC National Distinction and Champion of the Year Awards

Annual award recognizes resource management professionals for their efforts to help develop the next generation of resource professionals, outdoor enthusiasts, and community leaders

Contact:
Hannah Traverse
The Corps Network
1275 K St NW – Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20005
202-737-6272
htraverse@corpsnetwork.og

 

January 23, 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) today announced the 2019 recipients of the 21CSC National Distinction Award and Champion of the Year Award. Honorees will be recognized during the annual Partnership for the 21CSC meeting, taking place February 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. This meeting is part of The Corps Network National Conference.

The 2019 National Distinction Awardees are Lisa Norby, recently retired as Energy and Minerals Branch Chief, Geologic Resources Division, National Park Service; and Greg Sanders, Job Corps and Veterans Fire Programs Workforce Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service. The 2019 Champions of the Year are Tate Thriffiley, Ecologist, De Soto National Forest, U.S. Forest Service; Jennifer Wheeler, Botanist, Arcata Field Office, Bureau of Land Management; and Craig Young, Terrestrial Program Leader, Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network, National Park Service.

The 21CSC is a bold national effort to put thousands of America’s young adults and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing our communities and natural spaces. At the heart of the 21CSC are over 230 nonprofit and government-operated “Corps.” Corps are organizations that – through partnerships with resource management agencies, conservation organizations, and the Corporation for National and Community Service – annually engage roughly 25,000 young people and veterans in maintenance, improvement and disaster response projects in communities and on public lands and waters.

The existence of the 21CSC depends on partnerships between Corps and project partners that are committed to engaging young adults in the preservation of America’s natural, historic and community treasures. The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award recognizes individuals from partner organizations – including nonprofits and government agencies – who have gone above and beyond to engage Corps and support the training of the next generation of resource management professionals, community leaders, and outdoor recreationists. Champions are selected through a nomination process.

This is the fifth year the Partnership for the 21CSC will present the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award and the fourth year for the National Distinction Award. The Champion of the Year Award recognizes regional leaders; the National Distinction Award recognizes leaders whose work has touched 21CSC organizations across the country.

Led by The Corps Network and Conservation Legacy, the Partnership for the 21CSC is an advisory group of key federal, state, local and nonprofit leaders that support the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of being a preeminent strategy for addressing America’s most pressing conservation and disaster response needs.

“The young people and veterans currently serving in 21CSC organizations will one day be the people managing America’s most cherished natural and cultural resources. On behalf of the Corps community, I extend deep gratitude to Lisa, Greg, Tate, Jennifer and Craig for inspiring the next generation and helping create more opportunities for future resource managers to gain invaluable skills and experience,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “Congratulations to all our honorees. Your efforts to engage 21CSC organizations is integral to the long-term sustainability of our parks and forests.”

In addition to honoring the 21CSC National Distinction Awardees and Champions of the Year, the 2019 Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting will feature remarks from, among others, Holly Bamford, Chief Conservation Officer, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Ray Foote, Vice President, National Forest Foundation; Will Shafroth, President & CEO, National Park Foundation; and Elamon White, one of The Corps Network’s 2019 Corpsmembers of the Year and an AmeriCorps alumna of Mt. Adams Institute.

 

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About the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)
The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is a bold national effort to put thousands of young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

The 21CSC is based on public-private partnerships between federal resource management agencies and the private sector. The goal of these partnerships is to increase civilian national service positions on public lands and encourage the use of Corps to meet the maintenance needs of land and water management agencies at no additional cost to taxpayers. Learn more at www.21CSC.org.


About Conservation Legacy
Conservation Legacy is a national organization dedicated to supporting locally based conservation service programs. We operate and support programs that provide service and work opportunities for a diverse group of individuals to complete important conservation and community projects for the public benefit. Founded in 1998 to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, Conservation Legacy programs include: Southwest Conservation CorpsGreat Appalachian Valley Conservation CorpsSoutheast Conservation CorpsArizona Conservation CorpsPreserve America Youth Summit and BRIDGE Network.


About The Corps Network
Established in 1985, The Corps Network is the national association of service and conservation Corps. Our 130+ member Corps annually provide over 25,000 youth and veteran Corpsmembers the opportunity to serve our country through work-based conservation, resource management, lands access, recreation, and disaster response projects on public lands and in rural and urban communities. Through their service, Corpsmembers obtain in-demand skills and advance their education.

The Corps Network supports Corps by advocating on their behalf, providing access to funding and project opportunities, and by offering expertise in Corps operations and programming. Learn more at www.corpsnetwork.org

 

 

 

Q and A with Greg Sanders: 2019 Champion of the Year

Q and A with Greg Sanders: 2019 Champion of the Year
Greg Sander is the Job Corps and Veterans Fire Programs Workforce Program Manager with the USDA Forest Service. Greg is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2019. 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 2019 Champions of the Year will be recognized at the annual Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting, happening February 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. This event is part of The Corps Network National Conference.

Learn more about Greg – Click here.
Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award – Click here.

 

 


Tell us about your current role.
I work in Fire and Aviation Management with the USFS in Washington, DC. I am the Program Manager for Veterans and Job Corps Fire Programs.

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation/land and water management?
I started with the Forest Service right out of high school, working as a seasonal firefighter in Oregon. I grew up on a farm, but my Dad encouraged me to give it a try as he had also worked for the Forest Service while he was in college and really enjoyed it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was hooked.

Tell us about how you have engaged with Service and Conservation Corps.
In addition to working directly with Job Corps, where we have wildland fire programs established on all 25 of our Civilian Conservation Centers, I also engage with various 21CSC organizations as part of the Veterans Fire Corps.

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.)?
I would encourage partnering with a 21CSC program if given the opportunity. Contact the Service and Conservation Corps groups in your area to see what kind of projects they can help you with. Their team member and supervisors are very motivated, and are committed to do the best job they can.

What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?
In addition to getting work done on projects you may have, it exposes the members of those programs to your organization and the work you do. It is also a great way to recruit talented individuals for prospective employees into your agency.

What advice would you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?
Talk to a number of people in the kinds of careers that you might be interested in. Ask them about the good aspects of their jobs, but the downsides as well. When you’re trying to land your first job, apply for a number of positions. While you may not get an offer for a job and/or location on the top of your list, there may be other great opportunities for you to start a career in.