Category Archives: Uncategorized

Honoring Veterans 2016: Mary Dawn Kidd

 Every year, many returning veterans continue their service to our country by participating in 21CSC programs. Several 21CSC member organizations operate programs specifically designed to engage former military service members in public lands stewardship. Throughout November, we will feature stories about some of these programs and the extraordinary people who serve in them. 

From Conservation Legacy –
A Podcast Interview with Mary Dawn Kidd, Southwest Conservation Corps, Veterans Fire Corps 

Summer 2016 Meme Series: Reason #10 to Support the 21CSC

Summer 2016 Series: Why You Should Support the #21CSC

Every Wednesday between June 15th and August 31st, we’ll release a new shareable image depicting a reason why it’s important to support the 21CSC initiative. Post these images on your social channels to let people know why the 21CSC is a good idea.   

August 17th – REASON #10 to Support the 21CSC: All young people who want to serve on our public lands should be able to.

The unfortunate truth is that not all young people who want to serve our country through a Corps have the opportunity to do so. In recent years, AmeriCorps – the national service program that supports many service positions in Corps – had to reject some 86 percent of applicants; there simply aren’t enough service positions to meet demand.

One way the 21CSC initiative helps increase the number of available service positions on public lands is by working to raise non-federal funding support for 21CSC projects. To date, companies, foundations and individuals have donated millions to the 21CSC. For example, private funding matched with AmeriCorps dollars is currently supporting 21CSC Corpsmembers serving on comprehensive trail restoration projects at Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks.

Additionally, the 21CSC advocates to expand the number of federal agencies that can partner with Corps to complete mission-critical projects. More projects for Corps means more opportunities in which Corps can engage young people in meaningful service to our country.

If you want to serve in a Corps and improve public lands, you should have the opportunity to do so.


USDA and Partners Invest $11M in 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

USDA logoWASHINGTON, June 7, 2016 – As National Get Outdoors Month begins, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Forest Service and partners have invested over $11 million to support work and training opportunities for more than 1,500 youth and veterans on national forests and grasslands in fiscal year 2016.

The Forest Service and partners make investments in 21CSC throughout the year. Today’s announcement includes national and regional Forest Service investments of $6.5 million with additional partner investments of $3.7 million in funding. The National Forest Foundation has also leveraged an additional $1.5 million for 21CSC projects so far in 2016.

Today’s announcement provides support for opportunities for hands-on service in opportunities across America. To see a brief description of each project, its location, and the name of the 21CSC Member Program facilitating each project: Click to view spreadsheet.

Click to read press release from USDA


Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Applauds Introduction of 21CSC Act in U.S. House of Representatives

Legislation will help advance the 21CSC’s goal of engaging 100,000 youth and veterans in protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s public lands and waters.

WASHINGTON, DC (APRIL 29, 2016) –The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC), the coalition responsible for supporting the development and implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) initiative, applauds bipartisan introduction of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (H.R.5114) in the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, April 28th by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). They were joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA).

The 21CSC is a bold national initiative to annually engage 100,000 youth and veterans in service on America’s public lands by 2018. The 192 official 21CSC member organizations currently engage tens of thousands of young people every year in completing quality, cost-effective maintenance and improvement projects in city parks and on public and tribal lands and waters across the country. The programs of the 21CSC help address the backlogged maintenance needs of land and water management agencies; enhance outdoor recreation opportunities; improve the accessibility of public lands; and respond to wildfires and other natural disasters.

The 21CSC Act was introduced in the United States Senate (S.1993) in August 2015 by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). If signed into law, the 21CSC Act would allow federal land and water management agencies – like the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service –  to meet their missions in a cost-efficient manner through formal, more effective partnerships with 21CSC member organizations. It would also enable additional federal agencies to more easily partner with 21CSC organizations to accomplish their goals. The 21CSC Act would:

  • Expand the number of federal agencies that can work with 21CSC programs. Enlisting Conservation Corps to do priority work has often proven to be more cost-effective for federal agencies.
  • Encourage federal agencies to collaborate, and require that they use only existing resources to work with 21CSC programs, meaning there would be no additional cost to tax-payers.
  • Prioritize the engagement of recent veterans and disadvantaged youth in 21CSC programs.
  • Establish standards for data collection and measuring the effectiveness of 21CSC programs.
  • Provide two years of non-competitive hiring eligibility with federal agencies for young people and veterans who gain valuable skills through service in 21CSC programs.

“In Arizona, natural beauty is all around us,” said Congresswoman McSally (R-AZ). “The problem is that a backlog of needed restoration projects on our public lands is restricting access for Arizonans and tourists at our parks and public areas. Additional resources provided to reduce this backlog have failed to make a dent in it, which is why we need better solutions. My bill leverages existing resources in a smarter way to get these projects moving and ensure the public can once again fully enjoy our national parks. I thank Congressman Moulton for working with me on this legislation and look forward to working together to move it forward.”

“Enjoying the outdoors and our great national parks is a quintessentially American experience, but it’s one that more and more Americans are losing out on because of the mounting backlog of National Parks Service projects,” said Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA), a co-lead of the legislation. “We need innovative solutions and the 21CSC is just that — it codifies public-private partnerships between conservation groups and our park services, while affording young people and veterans meaningful work experience. This bipartisan bill effectively joins service with stewardship, and in doing so, it will make our country a better place. I was proud to work with Congresswoman McSally on this effort to protect 21CSC and promote conservation and national service opportunities at the same time.”

“We are extremely grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Representatives McSally and Moulton on the 21CSC Act in the House,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “The 21CSC is a win-win: Corps train the next generation of leaders by putting young people and veterans to work helping land and water managers care for America’s natural resources. The 21CSC Act will help land and water managers achieve more with limited budgets and ensure that more young people have the opportunity to serve our country and veterans can find a pathway to careers through a continuation of their service.”

“The 21CSC Act will make it easier for thousands of young people and returning veterans to complete mission critical conservation projects protecting, restoring and enhancing our country’s treasured public lands,” said Harry Bruell, CEO and President of Conservation Legacy and Co-Chair of the P-21CSC. “Every year, thousands of young people serve in Conservation Corps building and maintaining trails, protecting communities from wildfire, and conserving public places; the 21CSC Act will expand this valuable work. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the members of Congress who have supported this legislation.”

The 21CSC is built on a partnership among conservation programs, land management agencies and the private sector. It was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative (2010) to “develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.” Through listening sessions, formal recommendations and online voting, the first America’s Great Outdoors Report (2011) included a recommendation to catalyze the establishment of a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In 2013, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that DOI would work to expand the initiative through partnerships with the private sector. Since then, the 21CSC has received investments from American Eagle Outfitters, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the REI Foundation, The North Face, Thule, the Campion Foundation, Camelbak, the Youth Outdoor Legacy fund, KEEN Utility and others.


About The Corps Network
The Corps Network provides leadership and support to over 130 of America’s Service and Conservation Corps. Through advocacy, access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables over 24,000 Corpsmembers, ages 16-25, to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. To learn more about The Corps Network, please visit

About Conservation Legacy
Conservation Legacy is a national organization dedicated to cultivating local action to produce enduring widespread impact in communities, ecosystems and people. Conservation Legacy is a purposeful and strategic organization that operates a national cadre of corps and service programs that: engage young Americans in service; conserve, protect and promote each community’s greatest gifts; and build America’s future. Learn more about Conservation Legacy at

About the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps
The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) supports the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service. The Partnership’s members include key federal, state, local and non-profit leaders and stakeholders of the 21CSC.

The Partnership for the 21CSC’s charter calls for it to develop “national partnerships to support 21CSC.”  These partnerships with national non-profit and for-profit organizations support the development and implementation of the 21CSC to reach its goal of engaging 100,000 young people and veterans per year in conservation service.

Media Contact
Hannah Traverse
Communications Manager
The Corps Network
(202) 737 – 6272

National Park Foundation: Inspiring the Next Generation of Park Stewards

NPF_21CSC story

By the National Park Foundation

National parks offer the perfect setting for powerful learning experiences. Through the 21stCentury Conservation Service Corps,  youth and veterans, including low income and disadvantaged youth, undertake jobs that not only protect, restore, and enhance our national parks, but also offer opportunities to develop technical and leadership skills.

Corps members gain invaluable training and work experience as they participate in important conservation and restoration work on national park lands, waterways, and cultural heritage sites.

From constructing, maintaining, and designing sustainable and accessible trails, to repairing stone and log retaining walls and bridges, to restoring and painting historic buildings, their efforts establish these young people as stewards of natural and cultural resources, communities, and the nation.

At Rocky Mountain National Park, youth crews restored historic buildings and resurfaced accessible trails around Lily Lake to ensure continued access for all visitors.

…click here for full post 

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
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.

Veterans in the 21CSC : Jason Griffith – Mt. Adams Institute

Screenshot 2015-10-23 08.57.24


From Mt. Adams Institute

Jason Griffith was born in Jonesboro, AR, the youngest of seven children. After graduating from high school, he worked several jobs ranging from construction to cook to bouncer to receptionist. The most rewarding jobs were those that allowed him to use his artistic and creative skills.

After many attempts to find his place in the world, Jason decided to enlist in the Army in 2001 as a Tracked Vehicle Mechanic. He attended Basic Training at Ft. Knox, KY. After graduating near the top of his Advanced Individual Training (AIT) class, Jason quickly rose to team leader status and later to squad leader. His unit was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and in 2008. Jason’s creative talents earned him the Meritorious Service Medal for his design of an external storage and deployment system for the TALON robot, which is used to clear routes of explosive devices. Jason’s design decreased the amount of time that soldiers both inside and outside the vehicle were exposed to enemy fire from four minutes down to 10 seconds.

During his second deployment on a mission to recover vehicles that had broken down near Baghdad, Jason was thrown from his 50-caliber machine gun turret. He sustained a cracked spine, ruptured disk, and a compressed nerve that would eventually lead to three surgeries, four different pain management procedures and countless rounds of shots, physical therapy and painkillers. He ultimately received a medical discharge.

At this point Jason entered the Community Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU), a program that allows Reserve and National Guard soldiers to stay at home while undergoing medical treatment and recovery. Jason took advantage of an option that allowed him to report to the Mark Twain National Forest near his home in southeast Missouri for the duration of the program. There, he worked mostly with the Recreation Department. His experience was profound: Jason felt that he “was destined to follow a career path within the Forest Service.”

Jason stayed with the U.S. Forest Service as a sponsored volunteer for two years, and then another six months as a regular volunteer. He hoped that this experience would lead to a permanent job, but this didn’t work out as planned so he left his volunteer position to find a job that paid the bills.

A little more than a year later, in 2014, Jason discovered the VetsWork program: an AmeriCorps program offered through the Mt. Adams Institute that supports veterans seeking to transition from the military into a civilian career in natural resources or public lands management. Fortunately for Jason, VetsWork had an open position with the Mark Twain National Forest. He decided to give it another chance. Jason accepted a position as a Recreation Assistant, responsible for ensuring that the forest’s lands were accessible to the public. Jason says it felt “like being away for a long time, and finally coming home.”

Jason served a full 45-week VetsWork term of service and began a second term before being offered a permanent full-time position with the forest as Recreation Technician in August 2015. In summing up his experience, Jason said, “Of all the stepping stones on the path to becoming a permanent employee with the U.S. Forest Service, the VetsWork program has taken me farther and higher than any other.”

Veterans in the 21CSC : Zachary Dancy – Southwest Conservation Corps


Crew Leader, Veteran Fire Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, Durango, CO

Before joining the Army National Guard, Zach worked as a Licensed Practitioner Nurse at a Specialty practice in western Colorado for four years. He found this experience to be very rewarding, but also very challenging with long days and nights; burnout was a big reality. Looking for something different, but still in the medical field, he joined the National Guard. After preliminary screening it was determined that he would be fit to work as a medic (MOS 68W), and he quickly jumped on the opportunity.

Zach shipped out to basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC, and then to occupational training at Fot. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. Shortly after finishing all of his training he was unexpectedly deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan for a year where he worked in the 947th Engineering Unit from Colorado. After his deployment he returned stateside and was active until spring 2015 when he took his current position as a Crew Leader for the AmeriCorps-based Veterans Fire Corps Program at Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC).

Before becoming a Crew Leader with SCC, Zach was involved with the Veterans Fire Corps program through Arizona Conservation Corps in Tuscon. There he came to really enjoy the work, as well as the people he got to work with. Every day he is excited to go out into the field and help others progress and succeed in the Veterans Fire Corps program. Though fire has become a lingering interest for Zach, for now he wants to stay involved in VFC programs for the foreseeable future.


Veterans in the 21CSC : Emily Hovendick – California Conservation Corps

From California Conservation Corps

Emily Hovendick grew up in Wyoming and served in the US Navy for two terms. She was an aviation mechanic and finished her military career as an E6. She then attended University of California, Irvine and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Archeology. In November 2014, Emily joined the California Conservation Corps’ (CCC) Camarillo Center as a Fisheries Veteran Corpsmember. She was hired to assist with population status and trend monitoring of southern California steelhead, and to help restore critical habitat for these endangered fish.

Emily worked with many of the CCC’s partner agencies and organizations, including the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, South Coast Habitat Restoration, Mountain Restoration Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. She worked on a variety of restoration projects, including non-native species eradication, barrier removals, and native planting projects. Emily performed over 30 miles of various types of surveys to locate and quantify steelhead habitat, spawning activity, and population status. She also attended numerous trainings through which she learned about safe herbicide usage, proper grant writing, and various field survey techniques. Emily also attended the annual Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference in Santa Rosa, CA.

Emily took advantage of all of the resources the CCC offered, including the AmeriCorps scholarship opportunity.  In May 2015, Emily left the CCC to take a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a training archeologist/firefighter. She earned this position with the fieldwork experience she gained with the CCC. Emily was always one of the hardest working Corpsmembers on any CCC project and repeatedly received praised from sponsors. She is greatly missed at the Camarillo Center!

Secretary Jewell, American Express Announce Major Commitment to Increase Volunteerism on America’s Public Lands Through YMCA, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: (L-R) U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Tim McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation, Park Ranger Daniel Prebutt, Mitchell J. Silver, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Jane Chan, 21st Century Conservation Service Corp Member, and Neil Nicoll, President Emeritus of the YMCA of the USA attend American Express' announcement of a 5 million dollar grant to increase volunteering in America's National Parks at Castle Clinton National Monument, Battery Park on March 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for American Express)

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 12: (L-R) U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Tim McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation, Park Ranger Daniel Prebutt, Mitchell J. Silver, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Jane Chan, 21st Century Conservation Service Corp Member, and Neil Nicoll, President Emeritus of the YMCA of the USA attend American Express’ announcement of a 5 million dollar grant to increase volunteering in America’s National Parks at Castle Clinton National Monument, Battery Park on March 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for American Express)

From the U.S. Department of Interior

NEW YORK, NY—As part of the Interior Department’s bold youth initiative to engage the next generation of outdoor stewards, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a new $5-million commitment from American Express to help the Department reach its goal of one million volunteers on public lands annually. Watch this Twitter video released earlier today that highlights key elements of this new volunteer initiative.

Joined by American Express Foundation President Timothy J. McClimon, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, and YMCA of the USA President Emeritus Neil Nicoll, Jewell and the other leaders discussed how the funding will help increase engagement, connections and support of public lands in 50 cities across the country – starting in New York City.

“Magnificent landscapes and our strong volunteer ethic are part of what make America so special and unique,” Secretary Jewell said today at the kickoff event at Castle Clinton National Monument in Manhattan. “This partnership with American Express will be a huge boost as we create a movement to foster the next generation of leaders and outdoor stewards while helping people connect to the public lands in their community – particularly in urban areas.” Continue reading