Category Archives: 21CSC Champion of the Year

Calvert Curley, 21CSC Champion of the Year

CCurleyCalvert Curley is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2017.

 

Calvert Curley
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.

  

Carter Smith, 21CSC Champion of the Year – 2017


Carter 2012
Carter Smith is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2017.

Carter Smith
Director – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

As the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Carter Smith oversees 3,100 professionals across 11 divisions. In this role, he has been a significant proponent of the Texas Children in Nature initiative, created in 2010 to combat the disconnect between children and the natural world. Smith helped form public-private partnerships uniting natural resource agencies with the non-profit, health, education and business communities. Thanks to Smith and TPWD, the initiative is today comprised of nearly 400 partner organizations across the state that annually help 4 million kids get outside to play, learn and grow in nature. Additionally, Smith has developed a longstanding partnership with the Texas Conservation Corps at American YouthWorks to connect youth with conservation work on TPWD lands. Under his tenure, a dedicated year-round trail crew was created to engage Corpsmembers in full-time trail building and maintenance in parks across the state. Smith has also leveraged private funding to involve additional crews in wildfire recovery and restoration work.


Q&A with Carter Smith

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation and preservation?

I grew up with one foot in the city and one foot in the country and always thought I had the best of both worlds in terms of exposure to recreation and conservation issues in both rural and urban settings.  My family farmed and ranched in central and south Texas, so I spent much of my youth outdoors working, hunting, fishing, and playing, as did most all of my friends.  That interest in conservation was undoubtedly influenced by my parents and grandparents, who were strongly connected to and interested in the land, wildlife, and nature.  I was first inspired to think about a career in conservation by a state wildlife biologist and game warden.  Both men were consummate professionals and teachers, and it was obvious to me, even at a young age, how much they loved what they did for a living.  Ultimately, I elected to pursue a degree in wildlife biology in college, and after a series of technician related jobs assisting with research projects involving desert mule deer and pronghorn antelope, I was forever hooked.

How did you become involved with the 21 CSC/with Service and Conservation Corps?

I had my first exposure to the Service and Conservation Corps through my friend Parc Smith, the director of American Youthworks and the Texas Conservation Corps.  Parc approached me about them partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help build trails on various state parks.  Money at the time was tight, but the demand and needs were huge, so we figured out a way to get started.  We launched a series of relatively small trail building projects at select state parks around Texas, and Parc and his eminently capable and motivated team of budding professionals vastly exceeded our expectations.  Today, the Texas Conservation Corps has full time crews working all across our state parks system on projects ranging from habitat restoration to invasive species control to trail and bridge building to disaster response and a whole lot more.  Looking ahead, we have great ambitions for additional projects involving larger capital infrastructure projects, as well as restoration projects helping to mitigate long term impacts from the Deepwater Horizon spill.  All of these initiatives are being developed with an eye to engaging and developing the next generation of land and water stewards.

What advice would you offer to resource management agency units and nonprofits interested in partnering with 21CSC programs?

First, get familiar with the programs and services that your area Conservation and Service Corps offers.  They are undoubtedly offering something that you need, whether one is working for a federal, state, local, or non-profit entity.  The quality of work is exceptional.  The fee for services is inherently affordable and competitive.  The young professionals and their supervisors are talented, motivated, and deeply committed to what they do.  And, it is a great opportunity to identify new talent and prospective employees for one’s agency.  I simply can’t say enough good about them and what they do.

What advice do you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in preservation and land/water management?

I have a couple of guiding principles that have served me well and which I have always imparted to others seeking advice about whether to pursue a career in conservation.  At the top of the list is a reminder that the work we get to do in this realm is measured in generational terms and benefits, not large paychecks.  For the most part, our proverbial paychecks come in the forms of pretty sunrises and pretty sunsets, along with a deep satisfaction in giving back to the lands and waters and communities of our Home Ground.  If ever there was a vocation that planted trees so that others could enjoy shade, this field is it.  Second, whatever you are out there looking for is also out there looking for you.  Don’t settle and be persistent following your ambitions and desires to work in conservation.  Last, but not least, find an experienced mentor or mentors who you trust, look up to, and have confidence in.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, and counsel.  Pursue and engage with networks of other experienced professionals who can assist you in identifying, recommending, and vetting job opportunities that may be of interest to you.  All of us have been given a helping hand along the way and “giving back” to the next generation of conservation leaders is something most of us take great pride and pleasure in doing.

What drives you to support the 21CSC and youth engagement on public lands?

What I have appreciated most about our partnership with American Youthworks and the Texas Conservation Corps is the tangible nature of their contributions.  As a body, the Conservation Corps are all action, and the fruits of their work and contributions on State Parks are readily apparent for everyone to see.  Not only can they mobilize quickly, but they get things done right.  New hiking trails and bridges.  Erosion control structures.  Restored habitats–More wildlife.  Fewer invasive species–More native plants.  All of these things take dedicated, committed, talented professionals to accomplish.  And, the CSC Programs accomplish these kinds of projects in very timely, affordable, and high quality ways.  In addition, the Conservation Corps attracts a very diverse, inclusive, and talented demographic of young people interested in conservation and environmental careers.  As such, they are a great fit for prospective jobs within our agency.  Suffice to say, we get our investment back many times over.

What do you see as the future of Service and Conservation Corps?

I have always thought of the Service and Conservation Corps in the same positive light of the historic Civilian Conservation Corps that were responsible for building and developing many of the state and national parks across the United States.  They are just a contemporary version of them, bringing the same kinds of high quality projects, innovations, and contributions to these extraordinary public places and landscapes across America.  Today’s Corps members are the stewards of tomorrow.  They bring talent, motivation, and a bright, bright future to the conservation arena.  Their land and work ethic gives me great hope about our future and the collective heritage we will pass along to future generations.

 

The Partnership for the 21CSC Announces 21CSC Champions of the Year for 2017

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

The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) Announces 2017 Winners of 21CSC Champion Award

Award recognizes leaders within agencies and organizations with which 21CSC organizations partner

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, January 12, 2017, The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) announced the 2017 winners of the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award. Recipients include both National and Regional honorees. Awardees will be recognized on February 14th during the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC. This meeting is part of The Corps Network 2017 National Conference.

The 21CSC is a bold national effort to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing the great outdoors. At the heart of the 21CSC are over 200 nonprofit and government-operated Corps that, through partnerships with resource management agencies and conservation organizations, annually engage roughly 25,000 young people and veterans in maintenance and improvement projects on public lands and waters.

The existence of the 21CSC depends on partnerships between Corps and project partners that are committed to engaging youth in the conservation and preservation of America’s natural and historic treasures. The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award recognizes individuals from these partner organizations – including nonprofits and resource management agencies – who have gone above and beyond to engage Corps and help train the next generation of conservation and preservation professionals. Champions are selected through a nomination process.

This is the third year the Partnership for the 21CSC will present the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award. Led by The Corps Network and Conservation Legacy, the Partnership for the 21CSC is an advisory group of key federal, state, local and non-profit leaders that supports the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of being a preeminent strategy for addressing America’s most pressing conservation needs.

“The 21CSC is based on agreements between Corps and project partners, but the real backbone of the 21CSC are the relationships developed between the young people enrolled in Corps and the public lands on which they serve,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “We in the Corps community are incredibly grateful to the many project partners who understand the importance of giving America’s young people the opportunity to serve their country and build meaningful connections with the natural world. Thanks to the efforts of extraordinary people like those we honor with this award, today’s Corpsmembers are developing the skills to become tomorrow’s conservation and preservation experts.”

“Thank you Merlene, George, Calvert, Lamar, Joni and Carter – and to all of the 21CSC Champion of the Year finalists – for believing in the 21CSC,” said Harry Bruell, CEO and President of Conservation Legacy and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “Corps depend on your dedication to thinking creatively and finding new and different ways to engage 21CSC programs to build our rural and urban economies and strengthen America’s unique and vital natural assets.   We sincerely appreciate all that you do to make new 21CSC projects possible and provide opportunities for all Americans to serve their country.”

The 2017 winners of the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award are:

*National Distinction Awardees

Merlene Mazyck
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) – National Office

As the Volunteers and Service National Program Manager for the U.S. Forest Service, Merlene Mazyck provides strategic leadership and policy guidance for a program that annually engages more than 100,000 volunteers and service members on America’s 175 national forests and grasslands. Through her advocacy, leadership, and innovation, Mazyck provides support within USFS to implement the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC). She advocated for and acquired millions of dollars for youth and veteran programs in the Forest Service. Since 2014, USFS investments of $61.3 million leveraged partner contributions of $51.4 million to engage 30,000 youth and veterans in protecting, restoring, and enhancing Forest lands. As a key member of the 21CSC Working Group – comprised of staff from several federal resource management agencies – Mazyck has played a role in developing and executing federal policy surrounding the 21CSC. Significantly, she manages the vetting process to ensure that organizations interested in joining the 21CSC comply with the initiative’s principles.

 

George McDonald
National Park Service (NPS) – National Office

George McDonald has served as National Youth Programs Manager for the National Park Service since 2008. In this role, McDonald has led successful efforts to launch numerous programs designed to enhance and increase the number of underserved, minority and disadvantaged youth participating in park activities and engaging in employment and educational opportunities in parks. Significantly, he helped launch NPS’s Youth Intern Program in 2009 to provide youth and young adults an intellectually challenging experience and exposure to a range of NPS job opportunities. McDonald has partnered with numerous 21CSC organizations, helping develop such programs as Greening Youth Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship, the Latino Heritage Internship Program, and the Mosaics in Science Intern Program with Environment for the Americas and Greening Youth Foundation. McDonald has not only championed the 21CSC within NPS, but has taken time to write congressional responses and inform leaders across the Department of the Interior about the value of this initiative.

 

*Regional Champions of the Year

Calvert Curley
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.

 

Lamar Gore
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) – John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

As the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Manager, Lamar Gore strives to work with partners, the community, and schools to meet both refuge and community goals in Philadelphia, PA. He began his career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as a biological technician at the Montpelier Office of Fishery Assistance, later working with several National Wildlife Refuges, other USFWS programs, and the Northeast Regional Office. At John Heinz, Gore helped develop environmental education programs at three local schools. Additionally, working with Audubon Pennsylvania and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Gore has developed relationships with the public to create green space (habitat, gardens, learning spaces, etc.) in Philadelphia neighborhoods. He has also worked in partnership with the Clean Air Council, the city and others to improve multi-use trail connections from John Heinz to the community. Gore is an advocate for SCA programs, and has attained support to get more youth involved in local projects. He has a vision to make seamless connections between John Heinz and the surrounding community. The result of Gore’s work has generated new funding to create a youth community restoration program, putting youth to work on conservation projects during the school year.

 

Joni Packard
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) – Northern Region

Joni Packard has been with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for 25 years, working in numerous capacities in Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. She now serves as the Regional Volunteer, Youth and 21CSC Program Coordinator for the Northern Region, covering Montana, northern Idaho, and North and South Dakota. Packard has been involved with Corps since she served as a Youth Conservation Corps member in the 1970s. In her current role, she has partnered with numerous 21CSC organizations, helping lead efforts to engage more veterans and diverse youth in conservation projects. Packard has championed and sought additional Forest Service funding for Corps and other 21CSC partner engagement efforts, increasing additional funding to Northern Region field units from $150,000 in FY12 to almost $1 million in FY16. Packard is considered a leader by her peers in other regions and as a trendsetter for creative ways to engage youth on public lands.

 

Carter Smith
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

As the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Carter Smith oversees 3,100 professionals across 11 divisions. In this role, he has been a significant proponent of the Texas Children in Nature initiative, created in 2010 to combat the disconnect between children and the natural world. Smith helped form public-private partnerships uniting natural resource agencies with the non-profit, health, education and business communities. Thanks to Smith and TPWD, the initiative is today comprised of nearly 400 partner organizations across the state that annually help 4 million kids get outside to play, learn and grow in nature. Additionally, Smith has developed a longstanding partnership with the Texas Conservation Corps at American YouthWorks to connect youth with conservation work on TPWD lands. Under his tenure, a dedicated year-round trail crew was created to engage Corpsmembers in full-time trail building and maintenance in parks across the state. Smith has also leveraged private funding to involve additional crews in wildfire recovery and restoration work.

 


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.

 

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 on the path to careers.

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. To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit www.corpsnetwork.org

 

Zac Ribbing – 21CSC Champion of the Year 2016

Jeff DeQuattro is a 2016 21CSC Champion of the Year. Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award.

Zac Ribbing 
U.S. Forest Service – Coronado National Forest 

Zac Ribbing works in wilderness and trails for the Douglas and Sierra Vista Ranger Districts on the Coronado National Forest in Southern Arizona.  Zac has been a Forest Service employee continuously since 2003 working in the fields of archeology, fire, trails and recreation management. Zac has a long history of partnering with Conservation Corps and other environmental NGOs in Southern Arizona.  He is widely regarded as a warm, affable, and supportive project partner.  Zac’s work with Corps earned him recognition as partner of the year for the County-based Coconino Rural Environment Corps (now Arizona Conservation Corps) for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012. In 2014, he was the recipient of the USFS Wilderness Legacy Award.

Zac has worked with a variety of youth conservation programs, including Southwest Conservation Corps, Arizona Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience, and the Student Conservation Association. He has facilitated projects, provided technical trainings, and arranged job shadowing experiences with other agency employees so that Corpsmembers can explore career opportunities in public lands management. He has personally mentored Corpsmembers, written letters of recommendation, and even spent time living and working with crews in the backcountry. In his 12 years with the Forest Service, Zac has established himself as an effective community partner, coordinating the efforts of multiple groups to complete high-priority natural resource projects.

“Zac is extremely dedicated, invested, and humble. He is an advocate for his agency, the land, and Corps programs. He is one of the rare individuals who finds balance in meeting the needs of both people and the environment.” – Brian Gold, Regional Director, Arizona Conservation Corps


 

Q&A with Zac Ribbing

1.   Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation and land/water management?

I always loved the outdoors, growing up canoeing, fishing, hiking and biking.  In 1998, I landed a position with the Forest Service through the Student Conservation Association.  After that I realized I should strive to be involved with Public Lands and help others appreciate recreation opportunities on these lands.  Later I went back to school and received a Bachelor Degree in Forestry with a specialization in Recreation Resource Management (2003).  As I approached my graduation I networked with some of the folks I met in my SCA term.  The week after graduation I was working for the Forest Service and the rest is history.

2.   How did you become involved with the 21CSC/with Service and Conservation Corps?

I have a long history working with Conservation Corps.  Since I myself started in a similar fashion I feel it’s important to incorporate these programs into what I do.  In 2005, I came in a position more conducive to making decisions regarding how we accomplish work.  Since then, I have done my best to utilize youth conservation corps.  I appreciate seeing youth get excited about the outdoors and become stewards of the land.

In the last few years as the 21CSC has become stronger nationally, so has its incorporation into our program locally.  Here on the Coronado National Forest we have used it to fund crews that tie into the Public Land Corp act.  This has the added benefit to the young adult to not only gain useful skills and connections in the Agency, but time to be hired under the PLC hiring authority.  It’s also a chance for youth to try a career path out before they make a full commitment to it.  They may find there are opportunities they never even knew existed.

3.   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? Where can they turn for resources?)

I would wonder why they are reluctant to get involved this type of program first.

My feeling is that some folks don’t like or understand change, and are hard to convince a new way of operation is better. The old ways have already failed and holding onto the notion that it’s going to get better will leave them wondering what happened as they watch public services fade away.

It’s not just programs like the 21CSC and conservation corps that land managers need to be looking into, it’s all the support that can come from Non-profit organizations and partner groups.  Many times our partners can help with acquiring funding though grants and or volunteers.  Some grant funding is even aimed at non-profits to use on public land.  So the only way you can get help and funding is through their integration.

What to expect; well expect people, especially your locals, to become advocates for the land manager.  Volunteers or youth involved in Corps programs are more likely to stand up for what they have been involved with.  There is an inherent ownership and pride that comes with being involved, so the more you can involve your public and youth, the more support you will receive. It really can be a win-win situation.

4.   What advice do you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?

If I were talking to someone already involved with youth conservation corps, I would say they are already on the right track.  Take the time to get to know the people in the agencies you are partnered with.  Get advice, if possible, from those agency contacts and express what you are interested in.  I can’t speak for others but I enjoy these conversations and can usually offer some advice on how to pursue a career in land management. If I can’t, I can at least put them in touch with someone who is in the field they are interested in.

If I were speaking to someone looking to get involved with an outdoor related career.  I would suggest they look into youth conservation corps.  Followed by a few contacts they should start with in their area.

5.   What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?

To me the benefits are all around.  Public land managing agencies are struggling to accomplish work on the ground.  We have fewer and fewer people it seems every year.  Entry level positions are hard to find, and tough to compete for.  The corps offer a fantastic avenue for youth to get involved.  On top of that youth corps teach valuable land ethics from the start, so respect for the land and ethics are instilled to corps members.  Probably better than what they would receive if they were hired on directly in an agency.  Not to say that agencies neglect to instill values of land ethics, but that corps may do this better.

For public land I see this as a huge win.  The future of Public Land is in our youth’s hands, and if we want the continued preservation of special areas such as Wilderness to remain, we must convey or rather instill its importance to our youth.

6.   What do you see as the future of Service and Conservation Corps?

I really see it as the way to bring a young person up in the field of land management.  Combined with higher education, a person gets to experience a wide variety of possible paths while gaining skills and connections valuable for their success.  Not only success, but their happiness.  After all, what is the point of all this if there is not a rewarding and satisfying feeling in what you are doing.  I chose this path because I wanted to do something I cared about and be able to call it a career.

Bob Fuhrmann – 21CSC Champion of the Year 2016

Bob Fuhrmann 2

Bob Fuhrmann is a 2016 21CSC Champion of the Year. Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award.

Bob Fuhrmann
The National Park Service – Yellowstone National Park

Bob Fuhrmann has made a difference in Yellowstone National Park for more than 20 years. He started as a volunteer and now serves as the park’s Youth Program Manager. For the past seven years he has worked as the program manager for Yellowstone’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program. Under Bob’s direction, this program has grown to become one of the highest quality YCC programs in the country, with a strong emphasis on career development. In addition to working with the park’s YCC, Bob has partnered with Montana Conservation Corps, the Student Conservation Association and Groundwork USA. He purposely seeks the underserved and underrepresented, making a concerted effort to recruit and train Native American and urban youth. This is perhaps best demonstrated through his help in creating the Groundwork USA Yellowstone Experience, which, over the past five years, has allowed more than 250 diverse youth from 20 cities to experience working and recreating in the park. In 2015, over 130 young people were under Bob’s supervision, over 70 of whom were from cities or reservations. Bob and his staff work with past students, encouraging and mentoring them into other Corps opportunities or careers with NPS and other public land/water management agencies.

“Bob Fuhrmann is a positive force. He works for growth, professionalism and most of all, opportunity. He sees to create opportunities for others.” – Mike Coonan, Park Ranger, Yellowstone National Park

“Fuhrmann doesn’t just lead from behind a desk…[his] interest in supporting the youth directly and finding new avenues of appreciation helps the youth see that their work is important and necessary.” – Curt Collier, National Youth Programs Coordinator, Groundwork USA


Q&A with Bob Fuhrmann

1.     Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation and land/water management?

An appreciation for the outdoors and an interest in conservation started when I was young, living next to a forest preserve north of Chicago. In high school, my Eagle Scout project included overseeing 10 scouts as we helped restore an historic log cabin used for educational programs. After college, I volunteered as a wildlife technician in Yellowstone and received my masters degree in Fish and Wildlife Management conducting fox research which again included working with volunteers and interns. I also volunteered for Expedition Yellowstone where I worked with grades 5-8 as they lived and learned in Yellowstone. Eventually I became the manager of that program which has evolved into the job I have today.

2.     How did you become involved with the 21CSC/with Service and Conservation Corps?

In 2010, I became Yellowstone’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program manager. This program expanded into 2 month-long sessions in which 62 youth per summer take part in this work-based education opportunity. In addition, we have established partnerships with Groundwork USA, Montana Conservation Corps, and the Student Conservation Association to increase the number of youth working on conservation related projects in the park. Through these programs, I learned about the wide variety of conservation corps in the US and was introduced to the 21st Century Service Conservation Corps. In turn, I have been able to share a list of corps with youth who have participated in Yellowstone’s programs.

3.     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? Where can they turn for resources?)

My advice is to seek creative ways to include a diversity of youth in a wide variety of projects. Youth are able to accomplish more than what some people imagine and are excited to do so. The smiles and satisfaction of these youth working and learning in Yellowstone provide them with quite a sense of achievement. Besides the much needed completion of projects many of the youth come away with an almost indescribable sense of ownership, pride, and enthusiasm for what they have accomplished. This becomes an excellent starting point for creating stewards of open space. Many service organizations exist, it is a matter of finding what partnership best meets the needs of your area and the youth that will be involved.

4.     What advice do you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?

If possible, youth should focus on becoming involved locally with conservation programs and to seek other opportunities such as summer programs with YCC or other youth corps.  Starting in this way will expose youth to the many levels of conservation involvement that exist and help them find the right fit. Also having a great ATTITUDE will get you further than any other personality trait.

5.     What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?

Partnering with a 21CSC program, such as Groundwork USA, reaps many benefits for Yellowstone and for the youth. In 2015, 61 Groundwork members spent a week in the park living, working, learning, and exploring. For many, it was their first time visiting a large western National Park, seeing large animals in their natural habitat, and seeing geothermal features. They worked on trail projects, created bumper logs, and installed “bear boxes” in campgrounds.

While exposure of youth to new areas and the completion of projects are beneficial, the true benefits go beyond this.  Many youth not only discuss the sense of accomplishment they feel, they also take pride in their work and feel a sense of ownership in something bigger than themselves.  These qualities penetrate all aspects of their lives and help to break down personal and societal barriers.  I am truly humbled to hear about the deep impact these programs have on the lives of its participants.

One youth commented, “I am so thankful to be here. It is a great way to increase my knowledge base and learn to be a better advocate of nature. This kind of work helps you as much as it helps the park.”

6.     What do you see as the future of Service and Conservation Corps?

Having youth involved in hands-on service projects on public lands helps create future stewards of these lands. Youth leave with a sense of ownership for a place they have never been to before and a sense of pride for what they accomplished. In places like Yellowstone, with ever increasing visitation and visitor impact, service and conservation corps are imperative to assist the park in protecting resources and preserving these natural places. Having youth involvement connects them to the outdoors and to each other. So many youth today do not have these important opportunities.  My hope is that the future of service and conservation corps will include more organizations and agencies working to increase the number of youth getting involved and helping not only themselves but their surroundings as well.

 

Jeff DeQuattro – 21CSC Champion of the Year 2016

JeffDeQuattro_LM

Jeff DeQuattro is a 2016 21CSC Champion of the Year. Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award.

Jeff DeQuattro
The Nature Conservancy

Jeff DeQuattro serves as the Director of Restoration for The Nature Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico Program. While at The Nature Conservancy, Jeff has worked on many coastal restoration projects, including some that have engaged hundreds of volunteers. Most recently, Jeff worked with The Corps Network (TCN) to design and manage the first pilot projects of TCN’s Gulf Coast Restoration Initiative. These projects utilized current 21CSC programs (Texas Conservation Corps and Community Training Works, Inc.) in partnership with local NGOs and communities to engage local youth in ecosystem restoration projects along the Gulf Coast. Jeff was also an architect of the recently funded NOAA Gulf Coast Conservation Corps program. In early December 2015, the RESTORE Council voted to allocate $8 million to the development and implementation of a Gulf Coast Conservation Corps (GCCC) Program over the next three years.  This proposed GCCC Program will employ approximately 25 crewmembers per Gulf Coast State, per year, with a total of approximately 375 crewmembers working a total of 750,000 hours.

“In Jeff’s spare time, he helps run a non-profit bicycle shop called the Delta Bike Project. This bike shop has become an institution in Mobile, Alabama as they work hard at engaging people at or below the poverty level to earn bicycles and bicycle parts through community volunteerism.” – Joe Gersen, Senior Director of Government Affairs, The SCA


Q&A with Jeff DeQuattro

1.   Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation and land/water management?

During college I spent the summer of 2000 working for the Mexican Government at a Sea Turtle Research Station on the Baja Peninsula. My supervisor was very active and respected in the community and I got to experience that. The delicate balance between the depressed economy of a small fishing village and their desire to protect their natural resources made me focus my major on environmental science studies. After I got my bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2004 I went directly into environmental consulting, which brought me to my job at The Nature Conservancy in 2009 as a project manager, and then to my current position as Conservation Corps Program Lead and Director of Restoration for our Gulf of Mexico Program.

2.   How did you become involved with the 21CSC/with Service and Conservation Corps?

Work with the Conservation Corps and other similar programs is a priority of our organization, and something I am passionate about. We expanded a strong partnership with the Corps Network in 2014 and helped establish the Gulf of Mexico Conservation Corps with the start of the Climb CDC Conservation Corps in Gulfport, Mississippi. The first crews conducted rapid stream assessments along 9 coastal and streams in urban watersheds along the coast of Mississippi. The two projects lasted just over 4 months and gave us valuable scientific data that we have used to create Conservation Action Plans for that region of the Gulf. From those two phases of a pilot project we expanded with a large grant from NFWF and a private donor that will allow us to continue the work in Mississippi, but also fund the Forgotten Coast Conservation Corps in Apalachicola, Florida, as well as a veteran’s fire corps in 2016.

3.   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? Where can they turn for resources?)

Think about conservation corps in terms of achieving real conservation goals – number of acres burned, amount of shoreline restored, number of people and communities reached. These crews have the capacity to achieve measurable and significant goals given the proper training. They also have the best potential to impact and/or influence a community.

4.   What advice do you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?

Conservation corps programs provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to start out in conservation. Young people with that experience already have a leg up on what it means to do real conservation. Work hard, ask questions and keep your mind open.

5.   What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?

The strength of partnerships in the communities that we work. By far that is the most beneficial aspect of our partnership.

6.   What do you see as the future of Service and Conservation Corps?

I see an established and sustainable network of conservation corps on the Gulf Coast that help organizations like The Nature Conservancy and others accomplish high quality conservation goals.

21CSC Champions of the Year – 2016

It is our great pleasure to announce that the following individuals have been selected as the 21CSC Champions of the Year for 2016.
Learn more about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award


JeffDeQuattro_LMJeff DeQuattro
Director of Restoration, Gulf of Mexico Program
The Nature Conservancy 

Learn more about Jeff and read a Q&A with him

 

 


Bob FuhrmannBob Fuhrmann
Youth Programs Director
National Park Service – Yellowstone National Park 

Learn more about Bob and read a Q&A with him

 

Zac Ribbing
Wilderness/Trails
U.S. Forest Service – Coronado National Forest 

Learn more about Zac and read a Q&A with him 

 

 


This year, we would also like to recognize the following individual with the 21CSC National Distinction Award for her efforts to support the 21CSC on a federal level.

Leslie weldonLeslie Weldon
Deputy Chief, National Forest System
U.S. Forest Service

In November 2011, Leslie Weldon was named Deputy Chief for National Forest System with the USDA Forest Service. In this role, Leslie is the lead executive responsible for policy, oversight and direction for the natural resource programs for managing the 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands so they best demonstrate sustainable multiple-use management, using an ecological approach, to provide benefits to citizens. From 2009 – 2011, Leslie served as Regional Forester for the Northern Region of the Forest Service. In this position she provides oversight for management of 28 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands as well as State & Private Forestry programs in Northern Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota.

Read about the 21CSC Champion of the Year Finalists – 2016

The Partnership for the 21CSC would like to recognize the following finalists for the 2016 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Champion of the Year Award. We sincerely appreciate all that you do to champion youth engagement on public lands.

The winners of the 2016 Champion of the Year Award will be announced on February 1, 2016.
Click here to read about the finalists.


Steve Baumann
National Park Service – El Morro and El Malpais National Monuments

Kara Chadwick
U.S. Forest Service – San Juan National Forest

Calvin Chimoni
National Park Service – Heritage Preservation Division, Vanishing Treasures Program

Allan Comp
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)

Jeff DeQuattro
The Nature Conservancy

Bob Fuhrmann 
National Park Service – Yellowstone National Park

Cindy McArthur
U.S. Forest Service – National Partnership Office

John Medose
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Lonnie Pilkington
National Park Service – Glen Canyon NRA and Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Zac Ribbing
U.S. Forest Service – Coronado National Forest

Paul Smith
U.S. Forest Service – Ochoco National Forest 

Kevin Thompson
Bureau of Land Management – Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit

Mike Thompson
Sonoma County Water Agency

David Vekasy
National Park Service – San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Kristina Waggoner
Grand Staircase Escalante Partners

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