21CSC Act Passes in United States House Committee on Natural Resources with Unanimous Bipartisan Support

The bill, which now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration, would make it easier for Corps to partner with federal agencies and engage more young adults and veterans in addressing backlogged maintenance and other critical projects on America’s public lands and waters.

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

January 17, 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

View press release from the office of Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)

WASHINGTON, DC – The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC) applauds the United States House Committee on Natural Resources for passing the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (21CSC Act, H.R.2987) today, January 17, 2018. The P-21CSC also thanks Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) for introducing the legislation in the House and for championing its progress. The bill now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

“This staggering backlog in park maintenance projects hampers Arizonans’ ability to fully enjoy and access the natural beauty of our state,” said Congresswoman McSally. “My bipartisan bill leverages existing resources in a smarter way to get these delayed and deferred maintenance projects moving. It also expands opportunities for youth and veterans who need service hours to volunteer to help our parks. This bill is a win for everyone—taxpayers, national park users, veterans, and even inner-city youth. I’m thankful for the Committee’s support of my bill and I will continue to  shepherd this legislation through until it is public law.”

“I applaud the House Committee on Natural Resources for passing our 21CSC Act, which would create more opportunities for Americans to serve. In Arizona and across the country, our national parks and public lands are in need of help as a backlog of critical projects grows. Our legislation would enable young people and transitioning veterans to serve their communities by enhancing our national parks and public lands, while spending no additional taxpayer dollars. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow the House’s lead by taking up and passing this important legislation,” said Senator McCain, who introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Corps are community-based programs that provide young adults and recent veterans the opportunity to serve our country, advance their education and obtain in-demand skills. Serving in crews or individual positions, Corpsmembers spend up to a year performing meaningful projects that address conservation and infrastructure concerns, wildfires and natural disasters, outdoor recreation access, and a range of other issues. During their service, 21CSC participants gain hands-on work experience and prepare for careers in the growing recreation, natural resource and restoration economies. Since the 1950s, Corps have partnered with land management agencies, like the U.S. Forest Service and the agencies of the Department of the Interior, to complete mission-critical projects on public lands.

The 21CSC is a national initiative to expand Corps to annually engage 100,000 young adults and veterans in outdoor work and national service, including service opportunities supported by AmeriCorps. The backbone of the 21CSC is a membership of more than 220 local and regional 21CSC organizations (Corps) across the country that, every year, collectively enroll more than 25,000 young people and veterans.

Through public-private partnerships between 21CSC organizations, resource management agencies, and the private sector, the 21CSC builds rural and urban economies by engaging young adults and veterans in projects that increase access to public lands and enhance the natural resource infrastructure that supports our country’s $887 billion outdoor economy. America’s main resource management agencies have a maintenance backlog totaling over $18.6 billion, but, by partnering with 21CSC organizations, these agencies can leverage their funding to cost-effectively engage Corps in building trails, fighting wildfires, supporting productive fish and wildlife habitat, and generally maintaining parks for public access.

Corps are presently authorized to partner with federal land management agencies through the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993. The 21CSC Act would update this legislation to recognize the need for a new 21st Century Conservation Service Corps that will address modern conservation, recreation, forestry, and infrastructure needs on public lands and communities across the country.

The 21CSC Act would allow federal land and water management agencies to create formal, more flexible partnerships with 21CSC member organizations. It would also enable additional federal agencies to more easily partner with 21CSC organizations to accomplish their goals. Specifically, 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.
  • Designate coordinators at participating agencies to ensure the efficient functioning of the 21CSC.
  • Prioritize the engagement of recent veterans, native, and disadvantaged youth in 21CSC programs, and establish a new Indian Youth Corps program.
  • 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.
  • Provide new Internship and Resource Assistant opportunities for Corpsmembers, along with direct hiring authority.

The bipartisan 21CSC Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives (H.R.2987) and Senate (S.1403) on June 21, 2017. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Tom Udall (D-NM). It was introduced in the House by Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). Additional cosponsors have since joined in both the House and Senate.

An earlier version of the 21CSC Act was introduced in the Senate in August 2015 (S.1993) by Senators McCain and Bennet, and in the House in April 2016 (H.R.5114) by Representatives McSally and Moulton. The Public Lands Service Corps Act (PLSCA) – a similar bill – was most recently introduced in the House in April 2015 (H.R.2167) by Rep. Grijalva and in the Senate (S. 1160) by Sen. Udall. Rep. Grijlava has been a long-standing champion of Corps and the PLSCA. The bill reviewed today is a combination of previously introduced versions of the 21CSC and PLSC Acts. It represents a bipartisan effort among sponsors and cosponsors of both bills to advance Corps as a public-private strategy to meet the needs of America’s resource management agencies and provide work opportunities for young adults and veterans.

“On behalf of America’s Service and Conservation Corps, thank you Chairman Bishop and the House Committee on Natural Resources for considering amendments and advancing the 21CSC Act. To Congresswoman McSally, Congressman Moulton, Congressman Grijalva, as well as all of the bill’s cosponsors in the House, we are deeply grateful for your leadership,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “America’s resource management agencies face a multi-billion-dollar maintenance backlog and the demands of responding to increasingly costly fires and natural disasters. The 21CSC offers a solution to these issues and a way to engage our next generation of outdoor stewards, recreationists, sportsmen and women, and resource managers. We look forward to working with Congressional offices to see the 21CSC Act signed into law.”

“Each year, over 500 young people and veterans with the Arizona Conservation Corps contribute over 250,000 service hours on the vast amounts of public lands in Arizona. Veterans continue their service here on the home by protecting communities from wildfire. Young people help reduce backlogged maintenance that challenges our well-loved public lands by working on trails and waterways in parks and forests statewide,” said Paul Schmidt, Executive Director of the Arizona Conservation Corps, a 21CSC organization. “There is a growing need for maintenance and protection of our public lands for the benefit of local economies and different user groups. There are also more young people wanting to contribute to this effort so increasing opportunities for young people to serve on public lands is critical. I sincerely thank the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. McSally, and Rep. Grijalva for your commitment to young people and veterans and for support of the 21CSC Act.”

American Conservation Experience (ACE) would like to thank the House Committee on Natural Resources for advancing the 21CSC Act, and thank Rep. McSally and Rep. Grijalva for their leadership on behalf of Corps,” said Chris Baker, President of American Conservation Experience, an Arizona-based 21CSC organization. “In a nation too often divided, Rep. McSally’s efforts championed bipartisan support to facilitate youth and veterans’ employment through service to our nation’s public lands. Rep. McSally and all the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors have truly helped elevate service in our national parks, forests, refuges and recreational areas to a national priority. The 21CSC Act will provide vital support to help ACE, the Arizona Conservation Corps, and over 220 other 21CSC organizations nationwide facilitate life changing-outdoor service opportunities for young men and women.”

The 21CSC initiative was launched as a partnership between America’s Corps and a number of federal agencies with a goal of promoting a 21st-Century Conservation Service Corps to provide job training and maintain and preserve public lands. The 21CSC is supported by the past five Secretaries of Interior (two Republicans and three Democrats) and has received investments from a wide variety of private businesses, foundations, and philanthropic organizations. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was a co-sponsor of the 21CSC Act when he was a United States Representative for Montana.

###

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.

The Partnership for the 21CSC Announces 2018 Winners of 21CSC National Distinction and Champion of the Year Awards

Annual award recognizes 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 11, 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) today announced the 2018 recipients of the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award and 21CSC Champion of the Year – National Distinction Award. Honorees will be recognized during the annual Partnership for the 21CSC meeting, taking place February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. This meeting is part of The Corps Network National Conference.

The 2018 Champion of the Year – National Distinction Awardees are Jen Murphy, Operations Manager, Disaster Services Unit, Corporation for National and Community Service; and Betsy Wooster, recently retired as National Youth Program Lead, Bureau of Land Management. The 2018 Champions of the Year are Ben Baldwin, Youth and Volunteer Programs Manager, Intermountain Region, National Park Service; Kelly Pearson, Wilderness Technician and Volunteer Coordinator, Shawnee National Forest, U.S. Forest Service; and Lonnie Pilkington, Natural Resource Manager, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Park Service.

In addition to recognizing the 21CSC Champions, the 2018 Partnership for the 21CSC meeting will feature a keynote address by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and appearances by Carl Higbie, Chief of External Affairs, Corporation for National and Community Service, and Dan Jiron, Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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 220 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 these 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 conservation professionals, community leaders, and outdoor recreationists. Champions are selected through a nomination process.

This is the fourth year the Partnership for the 21CSC will present the 21CSC Champion of the Year Award and the third year for the Champion of the Year – 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 supports 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 adults and veterans serving in 21CSC organizations engage in critically important projects. They help keep our parks accessible; maintain vital habitats; protect communities from floods and wildfires, and answer the call when disaster strikes. None of this work would be possible without the support of partners like Jen, Betsy, Ben, Kelly and Lonnie,” 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. We sincerely thank you for everything you do to help train our next generation of community and conservation leaders.”

“The 21CSC is defined by people – champions like you who innovate and work tirelessly to engage young Americans across the nation on projects that build our rural and urban economies and strengthen America’s unique and vital natural assets,” said Amy Sovocool, CO-CEO of Conservation Legacy and Co-Chair of the Partnership for the 21CSC. “Your dedication to supporting young people and veterans in partnership with 21CSC programs deserves this honor. Your efforts leave an indelible mark on our public lands and areas affected by disaster, and provide opportunities for 21CSC participants to gain critical skills for the future. Thank you for your commitment to 21CSC and to enhancing America’s great outdoors.”

###

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

21CSC National Distinction Awardee: Betsy Wooster, Bureau of Land Management

Betsy Wooster
[Retired] National Youth Program Lead
Bureau of Land Management

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award/National Distinction Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2018 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.

Betsy Wooster joined the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2001 after working as an education specialist for The National Geographic Society and National Wildlife Federation. Betsy took BLM’s youth program from it’s infancy to a fully developed program with consistent implementation across the agency. Under Betsy’s leadership, BLM partnered with more than 30 21CSC organizations to provide work and training opportunities for nearly 2,200 young people in 2016 alone.

Betsy identified ways to engage young people in addressing BLM resource priorities, creating innovative programs and materials to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of BLM youth programs. For example, she created a national network of BLM youth coordinators and supported them through the complex tasks associated with federal employment rules and creating successful partnerships. Additionally, she was instrumental in developing partnerships with organizations such as the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, which allowed the BLM to leverage $2 million in non-federal funds to support conservation projects engaging young adults. Thanks to Betsy’s coordination, BLM’s youth hiring program is well-established, employing nearly 4,500 young people each year.

One outcome of Betsy’s dedication is that BLM leadership is now more aware of some of the opportunities related to young adults programs and working with Corps. Youth and young adult programming has become part of the BLM’s institutional portfolio, transcending administrations and weathering budget challenges. Through student internships and partnerships with Corps and other diverse organizations, the BLM is now a leader in developing a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

[Congratulations to Betsy on her retirement from the BLM at the end of 2017!]

“Thousands of young people working today in conservation and land stewardship unknowingly owe their careers to Betsy’s persistent, patient, thorough, gentle-but-you-know-she-means-it efforts in Washington, DC to spearhead and institutionalize youth program partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management.” – Janet Ady, BLM (Education, Interpretation, & Partnerships)

21CSC National Distinction Awardee 2018: Jen Murphy, Corporation for National and Community Service

Jen Murphy
Operations Manager, Disaster Services Unit
Corporation for National and Community Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award/National Distinction Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2018 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.

Jen Murphy is the Lead Disaster Services Specialist for the Disaster Services Unit (DSU) at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). When disaster strikes, Jen coordinates with FEMA, state emergency management, and other national and local partners to help place AmeriCorps members where they are needed most. Throughout all phases of the disaster response effort, Jen leads the DSU team in supporting state service commissions and national service programs.

Jen works closely with numerous 21CSC organizations through the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRT) program. Such organizations as Washington Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa, Texas Conservation Corps and Southwest Conservation Corps are all part of A-DRT, ready to send Corpsmembers to disaster-stricken communities to clear debris, muck and gut homes, and manage volunteers. Jen coordinates with a range of agencies and partners to identify appropriate disaster work for Corps, ensure on-site housing and food assistance for Corpsmembers, find local transportation, and support Corps staff in addressing safety and risk management concerns. She also handles all financial agreements and reimbursements to Corps.

Jen previously worked with AmeriCorps NCCC in Mississippi, where she managed projects and special events in the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina, helped establish the new NCCC campus in Vicksburg, and supported multiple disaster response efforts across the south. Over the years, Jen has worked with numerous Corps to respond to disasters throughout the country. In the past year, Jen and her team have responded to at least four major disasters across seven states and multiple territories, with hundreds of responding Corpsmembers. Jen and her team met this challenge and performed with the highest level of professionalism and effectiveness.

“Jen is an amazing person who cares about our country in the times of great need.  She has realized the tremendous asset Corps serve and the abilities our members and staff have to make a difference to people impacted during these incredibly trying times.” – Rob Spath, Conservation Legacy/Stewards Individual Placement Program

21CSC Champion of the Year 2018: Ben Baldwin, National Park Service

Ben Baldwin
Youth & Volunteer Programs Manager
Intermountain Region, National Park Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award/National Distinction Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2018 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.

After receiving his graduate degree in range management from Utah State University, Ben Baldwin worked at the university as the coordinator of an innovative internship program named Tehabi. Tehabi was meant to help connect university students to public land agencies through internships. His time working with interns and agencies helped Ben realize his passion for helping youth discover careers in public lands management. This led him to position with the National Park Service (NPS) as a Research Learning Specialist. In this role, he engaged youth in parks, helped create career pathways, developed citizen science projects and assisted NPS in connecting with the next generation of potential employees.

Ben currently serves as Youth and Volunteer Programs Manager for the NPS Intermountain Regional Office, which oversees parks in eight states stretching from Montana to Texas. In this role, Ben supports all youth programs in the region, including numerous Conservation Corps, the NPS Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), and various programs for volunteers and children. Ben works with Corps to build, enhance and improve programming for young adults.

Under Ben’s leadership, the Intermountain Region is currently working with over 40 organizations and leads the entire National Park Service for youth employment and engagement. They have created national models for tracking and reporting youth hires and projects, and set the tone for developing strong relationships between Corps and parks. The Intermountain Region is innovating in areas of safety, developing inclusive workplaces, and implementation of the Public Lands Corps (PLC) Hiring Authority.

Last year, the Intermountain Region recorded over 4,100 youth hires, of which 2,400 were from partner Corps. Ben’s goal for 2018: 5000 youth hires – the highest number recorded in the region and NPS to date.

Ben is constantly problem-solving with the Corps, always looking for ways to diversify funding, enhance the Corps experience, and gain the support and buy-in of other NPS staff. He is a true innovator who works to break down barriers and cut through bureaucracy to ensure young adults have every opportunity to succeed. He works to ensure the engagement of young people is always front and center in the priorities of the National Park Service at the national, regional, and park level.

“The NPS needs more people like Ben. He is an effective, dedicated leader who is fully committed to working with the Corps to develop the future generation of conservationists. He is a true innovator who works to break down barriers, cut through bureaucracy to ensure youth have every opportunity to succeed.” – Ron Hassel, Southwest Conservation Corps/Conservation Legacy

21CSC Champion of the Year 2018: Lonnie Pilkington, National Park Service

Lonnie Pilkington
Natural Resource Manager
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Park Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award/National Distinction Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2018 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.

Lonnie Pilkington was born and raised in Texas and graduated with a M.Sc. degree in range ecology from Colorado State University. He started his National Park Service (NPS) career at Rocky Mountain National Park in the exotic plant control and restoration program. In 2011, Lonnie accepted a permanent position with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as the Natural Resources Program Manager. He works on a variety of projects, including exotic plant control, ecological restoration, wildlife surveys, and endangered species monitoring. Lonnie has facilitated numerous partnerships and programs to connect diverse young adults and veterans to the national parks.

Since 2012, his efforts have helped provide learning experiences and service opportunities to over 1,000 young people and veterans, including members of the Navajo Nation, Zuni and Hopi tribes. He has fostered partnerships with several 21CSC organizations, including Arizona Conservation Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, Utah Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience, and the Student Conservation Association. Through these partnerships, Lonnie has engaged Corpsmembers and other young adults in citizen science projects, wildlife surveys and monitoring, exotic plant control techniques, back country hiking and backpacking experiences, “Leave no Trace” training, cultural resource protection, river running and river safety training, geology, paleontology, and education about general conservation principles.

Lonnie has achieved these remarkable goals through developing innovative funding sources and partnerships. He has secured over $500,000 in funding for youth and young adults programs and developed over 20 partnerships with a wide variety of organizations, including local, state, federal, non-profit and university partners. Lonnie has put Glen Canyon and Rainbow Bridge National monument “on the map” for many organizations, and has rapidly become a regional leader in funding and supporting a diversity of young adult, veteran and volunteer groups. Many youth program leaders approach Lonnie every year for projects to support their organizations because of his ability to make things happen. Through all these endeavors, Lonnie has developed an excellent safety record and always emphasizes safety-first principles.

“Through his dedication and hard work, Lonnie has greatly enhanced resource programs and partnerships for Glen Canyon and is widely recognized as a leader in the field.” – John Spence, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

21CSC Champion of the Year 2018: Kelly Pearson, U.S. Forest Service

Kelly Pearson
Wilderness Technician & Volunteer Coordinator
Shawnee National Forest, U.S. Forest Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award/National Distinction Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2018 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.

Kelly grew up in southern Illinois with the Shawnee National Forest (SNF) as her backyard. She began her service as a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) enrollee in 1976 on the SNF. She later secured seasonal employment as a Recreation Technician with the U.S. Forest Service in 1991, which led to a permanent spot with the SNF as a Forestry Technician in 1995.

For 26 years, Kelly worked on recreation, trails, volunteer, and fire projects. In 2011, she transitioned to her dream job: Wilderness Technician and Volunteer Coordinator. Thanks to Kelly, the Shawnee National Forest now hosts a large number of volunteer workdays and weekends, alternative spring break opportunities for college, high school, and middle school students, adopt-a-trail and adopt-a-trailhead internships, volunteer vacations, youth service opportunities, and trail building clinics. She earned the Forest Service National Volunteer Coordinator of the Year Award for her work.

In 2005, Kelly developed a college-level curriculum, Master Trail Steward Program (MSTP), to offer consistent training for volunteers. Through this curriculum, volunteers are enrolled in a series of Forest Service-led core training classes, including: principles of trail stewardship, trail construction and maintenance, wilderness use and ethics, leadership, working with traditional tools, team building, and back country living skills. At the same time Kelly was getting the MTSP off the ground, she developed the Shawnee Volunteer Corps (SVC), and outfitted the forest with necessary camping gear, tools and safety equipment to support these programs.

The MTSP and SVC frameworks continue to benefit conservation-related young adult and veteran programs. The curriculum has enabled AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers to quickly and effectively develop the trail and backcountry living skills necessary for completing wilderness projects in the Shawnee National Forest. Kelly also helped the SNF start year-long residency projects for AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.

Most recently, Kelly has been critical to the development of a new partnership between the Shawnee National Forest and Greencorps Chicago. The partnership between Greencorps and the SNF has provided a, previously non-existent, link between an urban population that has historically been excluded from our nation’s public lands and Illinois’ only designated Wilderness areas. Furthermore, Kelly has made it a priority to provide exceptional enrichment opportunities for Greencorps Chicago crews. She organized what was, for many of them, their first canoe trip; planned for crews to be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse; and took a crew to the Miller Grove archeological site. This is the location where an early freed slave family began a new life and a new community after leaving the south in 1846. These projects and experiences, among many others, have connected Corps participants to their national public lands and their history in unforgettable ways.

“Kelly’s whole career embodies Theodore Roosevelt’s words, ‘Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage…’” – Kyle Williams, Greencorps Chicago

Attend the 2018 Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting

Every year, the Partnership for the 21CSC (P-21CSC) holds a meeting in conjunction with The Corps Network National Conference (The Corps Network is a Co-Chair organization of the P-21CSC). During this meeting, we discuss Corps and land management agency partnerships; review accomplishments from the past year; hear inspiring speakers; and honor the 21CSC Champions of the Year, as well as the 21CSC Corpsmember of the Year and Project of the Year. We invite you to attend the 2018 P-21CSC meeting and The Corps Network 2018 National Conference.
Please see below for more details.

About the 2018 Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting

February 12, 2018
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 pm.
Grand Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
Secretary Ryan Zinke, 
U.S. Department of the Interior
Dan Jiron, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture

HONOREES
21CSC Champions of the Year

National Distinction Awardees

Jen MurphyOperations Manager, CNCS
Betsy Wooster, Retired -Bureau of Land Management

Champion of the Year
Ben BaldwinIntermountain Region, National Park Service
Kelly PearsonU.S. Forest Service
Lonnie Pilkington, National Park Service

21CSC Corpsmember of the Year
Earl Bowman, Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps

21CSC Project of the Year
Save the Sierras, California Conservation Corps

 

About The Trail Ahead – The Corps Network 2018 National Conference

February 11 – 14, 2018
Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Learn More

 

21CSC Champion of the Year Finalists – 2018

The Partnership for the 21CSC would like to recognize the following finalists for the 2018
21st Century Conservation Service Corps Champion of the Year Award.
We sincerely appreciate all that you do to champion the engagement of young adults
and veterans on public lands.

Learn more about the Award
The winners of the 2018 Champion of the Year Award will be recognized 2/13/18 at the annual meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC (P-21CSC), taking place during The Corps Network National Conference.

 

Ben Baldwin
National Park Service (NPS) – Intermountain Region

After receiving his graduate degree in range management from Utah State University, Ben Baldwin worked at the university, focused on running an innovative internship program named Tehabi. Tehabi was meant to help connect university students to public land agencies through internships. His time working with interns and agencies helped Ben realize his passion for helping youth discover careers in public lands management, thus landing him a position with the National Park Service (NPS) as a Research Learning Specialist. In this position, he engaged youth, helped create career paths, developed citizen science projects and helped NPS connect with their next generation of employees.

Ben currently serves as Youth and Volunteer Programs Manager for the NPS Intermountain Regional Office. In this role, Ben supports all youth programs in the region, including numerous Conservation Corps, the NPS Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), and volunteer and children’s programs. Ben works with Corps throughout the region to build, enhance and improve programs. Under Ben’s leadership, the Intermountain Region is currently working with over 40 organizations and leads the entire National Park Service for youth employment and engagement, creating national models for tracking and reporting youth hires and projects, developing strong Corps relationships, and innovating in areas of safety, inclusive workplace development, and implementation of the Public Lands Corps (PLC) Hiring Authority.

The NPS needs more people like Ben. He is an effective, dedicated leader who is fully committed to working with the Corps to develop the future generation of conservationists. He is a true innovator who works to break down barriers, cut through bureaucracy to ensure youth have every opportunity to succeed.” – Ron Hassel, Southwest Conservation Corps/Conservation Legacy

 

Paul Burghard
U.S. Forest Service – Tonto National Forest 

Paul Burghard started his Forest Service career by volunteering with the Forest Service and has worked his way up to Forest Trails Manager, responsible for taking care of all trails for the Tonto National Forest.  Paul has extensive experience working with 21CSC crews to foster job skills development and promote youth engagement in trail maintenance, trail construction, and restoration projects. In his collaboration with partners, Paul garnered $902,677 in grant funding, $584,472 in partner contributions, and $169,160 in volunteer value, for a total of $1,656,310 in leveraged funding for sustainable recreation at Tonto in FY 2017.  Much of this effort was focused on bringing 21CSC crews to the forest so they could help complete priority projects.

In this past year alone, Paul demonstrated creative and effective approaches to planning, funding, and successful implementation of over 30 projects across the forest, leveraging partner contributions and participation to maximize work accomplished. Paul overcomes barriers of insufficient staff and resources by building innovative, multi-layered partnerships with a large variety of conservation groups, non-profit organizations and volunteers to achieve success for forest-users. Paul strives for stellar program management and builds excellent rapport with the public and partners.

“The amount of work Paul has accomplished and the amount of funding leveraged through partners is exemplary…[Paul] is the backbone of all the work accomplished in trail management on the forest!” – Sherry Smith, USDA Forest Service

 

Ed Hughes & Alexa Carleton
Coos Watershed Association

Alexa received her B.S. in ecology from the University of California, Davis in 2006 and received her M.S. in environmental science from Washington State University in 2011.  Alexa joined Coos Watershed Association in late summer of 2013, stepping in as the second Assessment and Outreach Coordinator in the organization’s history. Ed has 15 years of experience working for the State of Oregon, various agencies of the Department of Interior and several universities. He has studied salmon across their range in both the Pacific Northwest and in New England.

Alexa and her team are in charge of youth programming, teaching students and community members about watershed science and careers in resource management. She also provides supervision for the organization’s VISTA members. Ed coordinates the research and monitoring of fish species and runs the organization’s Coho Life Cycle Monitoring Internship program. The work done by Alexa and Ed and their education programs through the Coos Watershed Association help achieve the organization’s goal to improve stream habitat and water quality for the salmonids in the Coos watershed. This has nation-wide impact; the many hands of these youth and AmeriCorps members involved help restore endangered Coho salmon populations. The programs Alexa and Ed lead through the Coos Watershed Association are unique in that they seamlessly blend professional development and youth education and mentorship with watershed conservation science.

The mentorship I have received from them in only three short months has been phenomenal and I could not imagine an AmeriCorps position serving alongside any other mentors…Alexa and Ed are truly one-of-a-kind in the work they do, the mentorship they provide, and in the individuals that they are.” – Kaedra Emmons, AmeriCorps with United Communities Action Network/Coos Watershed Association

 

Stephen Carter
EcoServants

Stephen Carter was raised in Kuwait and Singapore until the age of 14 when he moved back to Ruidoso, NM. Stephen graduated from Ruidoso High School in 1980, going on to attend college in Wichita Falls, TX and Roswell, NM towards a degree in Human Services. In October 2000, Stephen organized a cave restoration project inside Fort Stanton Cave in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, Roswell Field Office (BLM) to remove human impact from two miles in the Helectite Hall Passage. In 2003, Stephen Created EcoServants to work in forest stewardship and cave education, restoration and management. This was done while working at a local café as a waiter. In 2005, Stephen wrote his first Request for Proposal to the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps.

EcoServants has had 15 successful summer programs that continue to provide for the youth of New Mexico, along with its nine years of successful AmeriCorps funding. All of this is a testament to Stephen Carter’s drive, tenacity and heart for community. Under Stephen’s leadership, hundreds of EcoServants members have engaged in important restoration, maintenance and improvement projects on public lands. In 2016, Stephen was recognized as a True New Mexico Hero for his work in the community.

“Stephen Carter created a true grass roots non-profit organization with  EcoServants while working in a café and raising his daughter. Stephen had no large funders to make the task easier. Stephen simply put in his time and energy as a Board member until it could become a functioning non-profit that could pay a couple of directors…this path of creating EcoServants made for a more sustainable organization.” – Nathan Chavez, EcoServants

 

 

Bryan Hamilton
National Park Service (NPS) – Great Basin National Park 

Bryan Hamilton is the wildlife biologist at Great Basin National Park and a Ph.D. candidate in Biology at Brigham Young University. Bryan has worked with interns and restoration crews from Great Basin Institute (GBI) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) for the last 13 years. He frequently invites members along to field-study opportunities to learn about conservation and wildlife initiatives within the park, such as the rattlesnake monitoring program and the bat catch-and-release project.

For more than a decade, Bryan has engaged numerous participants in the direct service programs of GBI and SCA, both 21CSC member organizations. Bryan has partnered with GBI to engage trail and restoration crewmembers enrolled in the Nevada Conservation Corps with meaningful natural resource project work. Under Bryan’s guidance and mentorship, NCC crewmembers have completed a wide range of habitat restoration and fire rehabilitation projects throughout the park, gaining valuable professional and conservation skills in the process. He has developed projects that benefit not only the Park and its resources, but also emerging resource professionals who will one day manage our public lands.

“Perhaps most importantly, [Bryan] makes every effort to provide an exceptional member experience and broaden the worldview of members that partner with him through engaging and informative education and recreation opportunities.” – Chris Warner, Great Basin Institute

 

Ann Harrison
New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)

As a founding member of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, now known as The Corps Network, Ann Harrison has had an extensive career in conservation service. From 1983 to 1994, Ann worked with The Corps Network in various capacities, eventually rising through the ranks to become President and serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Ann holds many accolades. She founded the NY Corps Collaboration in 1992 and has advocated for AmeriCorps programs in the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks.

Currently, in her role as Bureau Chief of Environmental Education for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Ann helps provide leadership to the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Excelsior Conservation Corps: a program that annually provides 50 youth and veterans opportunities to gain valuable soft skills, as well as marketable hard skills that will prepare them for careers in environmental protection. In the more than 30 years Ann has worked with New York state, she has been a tireless champion of AmeriCorps, SCA, and the engagement of young adults in conservation efforts.

Throughout it all, Ann has been SCA’s greatest champion.  She truly believes in the value of Youth Corps to connect youth and veterans to the environment, to give them the skills needed to succeed professionally and to meet the environmental needs and issues of our time.” – Kathy Baugh, SCA

 

Kevin Hood
U.S. Forest Service – Tongass National Forest Service, Admiralty Island National Monument

Kevin Hood currently serves as the Wilderness Program Manager for Admiralty Island National Monument (ANM) and the Juneau Ranger District (JRD) on the Tongass National Forest. In this role, he administers the program for four wilderness areas comprising 1.8 million acres. He supervises three crews consisting of eight seasonal employees and leads a robust program involving community partners and volunteers. With employees, partners and volunteers, his sense of purpose and leadership engrains in all a high-level of wilderness awareness and appreciation. Under his management, the team achieved a new level of stewardship through the 10-Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge.

Kevin’s accomplishments throughout his career illustrate his willingness to lead beyond expectations and effect positive change. Kevin oversees a strong and expanding youth conservation corps (YCC) in the community of Angoon, AK, as well as multiple other partnership and volunteer projects. Kevin leads the Angoon YCC in partnership with the Chatham School District (CSD) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), both current 21CSC organizations. Through these partnerships in fiscal year ‘17, a total of 3,804 hours of service were achieved for an appraised value of $89,622. In a small and secluded community that offers few opportunities, Kevin’s efforts help provide young adults valuable job skills training and career exposure.

With near-boundless patience and good humor, Kevin meets and overcomes all challenges. He tackles the taxing administrative and supervisory workload associated with his program and those inherent in building and nurturing important partnerships and youth engagement programs.” – Chad VanOrmer, Admiralty Island National Monument

 

Elijah Kruger
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

Elijah Kruger works as an Environmental Educator at Humphrey Nature Center in Letchworth State Park. During his time there, Elijah has helped open a nature center and coordinated programs to inform the public about the center and all the other beauty that exists in the park. His passion for the subjects he conveys is evident and contagious to anyone he comes into contact with. Elijah ensures that the AmeriCorps members in the Student Conservation Association Education/Outreach Excelsior crews are set up for success to complete their jobs. The SCA Excelsior Conservation Corps consists of 50 AmeriCorps members that are 18-25 years old (or up to 28 for veterans). Elijah supervised members from the first Excelsior Education and Outreach crew and went on to guide members through a second season. These members helped Elijah with events in the park and engaged school groups in various outdoor programs.

Elijah is keen on having meaningful projects for members as they gain experience through their AmeriCorps internships. Under the supervision of Elijah, members engage visitors with programs such as Leave No Trace Awareness and Plant Identification Hikes.

“I didn’t know anything about Letchworth State Park a few years ago, and then I heard that the partner possibly needed help creating their new nature center. Since then, I have sent Elijah almost every member from our Education and Outreach crews. I want these young adults to experience what makes a great partner. I want them to learn from Elijah, who loves his job, and does anything for these members to help to help them succeed. Elijah is a dependable partner, who truly cares about the success of anyone that he works with.” – Leah Cantor, SCA Programs Excelsior

*Elijah is pictured in the lower left corner

 

Dawn Meier
U.S. Forest Service – Eastern Regional Office

Dawn Meier is the U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Region’s Regional Volunteer, Youth, and 21CSC/Service Program Manager. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse with a degree in parks and recreation administration, Dawn worked as a crew leader with Wisconsin Conservation Corps. She has worked for the Forest Service for the past 30 years in various positions throughout Wisconsin, California, and Alaska. Throughout her career, Dawn has sought out opportunities to mentor and share her love of the land with others, whether through leading conservation crews, teaching life skills and work ethics, or fostering partnerships and engaging volunteers.

Since 2014, over 5,000 youth and veterans (and counting) have been engaged in paid and volunteer service projects across the region’s 15 National Forests and 1 National Tallgrass Prairie. Between 2015 and 2016, 21CSC participation grew by 177 individuals, and in 2017 over 9,000 participants, including paid youth and veterans with 21CSC partners, were engaged in the Eastern Region over the past year thanks to Dawn’s tireless coordination and advocacy.

“In short, [Dawn] does it all. From connecting with her contacts in the Washington Office, to putting critical agreements in place, to making sure every individual YCC member is safe, fed and comfortably housed each night, her contributions to our agency’s efforts to expand 21CSC cannot be overstated.” – Troy Ferone, USDA-Forest Service, Eastern Regional Office; Merlene Mazyck – USDA-Forest Service, Washington Office

 

Karen Minner
Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation

Karen Minner has worked for Delaware State Parks for five years in the Volunteer and Community Involvement office. Karen is a military spouse and was a dependent of a military father. She works closely with the veteran community in Delaware as an advocate for her husband and other veterans in Delaware. She knows the challenges of transitioning to civilian life for not only the veteran, but their family members as well.

The sole 21CSC member organization in Delaware, the Veterans Conservation Corps has thrived under Karen’s leadership. While the program started with five members in 2015, they received an expanded AmeriCorps grant just one year later to engage an additional ten members – a distinguished accomplishment for a fledgling program. Dedicated and tenacious, Karen has garnered recognition for the AmeriCorps Veterans, nominating the team for the 2016 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award—which they won—and securing $40,000 in private grant funds to purchase conservation tools and enclosed trailers to increase the capacity of the members’ preservation activities. She has helped develop a program that trains members in marketable resource management skills, but also addresses the psychological and social challenges military veterans confront in the reintegration process.

Ms. Minner inspires the AmeriCorps Veterans to emulate the sentiment in that passage with her immutable belief in their untapped potential.” – Raymond Bivens, Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation

 

Jen Murphy
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

Jen Murphy is the Lead Disaster Services Specialist for the Disaster Services Unit (DSU) at CNCS. She is responsible for managing national service disaster response operations, coordinating with FEMA, state emergency management, and other national and local partners. She leads the DSU team in supporting state service commissions, grantees, and national service programs throughout all phases of the disaster response effort. Jen works closely with a wide range of agencies and partners to identify appropriate disaster work for Corps, ensure on-site housing and food assistance for Corpsmembers, find local transportation, and support Corps staff in addressing safety and risk management concerns. She also handles all financial agreements and reimbursements to Corps.

Jen previously worked with AmeriCorps NCCC in Mississippi, where she managed the projects and special events in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, helped establish the new campus in Vicksburg, and supported multiple disaster response efforts in the South. Over the years, Jen has worked with numerous Corps to respond to disasters throughout the country. In the past year, Jen and her team have responded to at least four major disasters across seven states and multiple territories, with hundreds of responding members.

Jen is an amazing person who cares about our country in the times of great need.  She has realized the tremendous asset Corps serve and the abilities our members and staff have to make a difference to people impacted during these incredibly trying times.” – Rob Spath, Conservation Legacy/Stewards Individual Placement Program

 

Kelly Pearson
U.S. Forest Service – Shawnee National Forest

Kelly grew up in southern Illinois with the Shawnee National Forest (SNF) as her backyard. She began her service as a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) enrollee in 1976 on the SNF. She later secured seasonal employment as a Recreation Technician with the US Forest Service in 1991, which led to a permanent spot with the SNF as a Forestry Technician in 1995. For 26 years, Kelly worked on recreation, trails, volunteer, and fire projects. In 2011, she transitioned to her dream job: Wilderness Technician and Volunteer Coordinator. Thanks to Kelly, the Shawnee National Forest now hosts a large number of volunteer workdays and weekends, alternative spring break opportunities for college, high school, and middle school students, adopt-a-trail and adopt-a-trailhead internships, volunteer vacations, youth service opportunities, and trail building clinics. She earned the Forest Service National Volunteer Coordinator of the Year Award for her work.

In 2005, Kelly developed a college-level curriculum, Master Trail Steward Program (MSTP), to build the Shawnee National Forest’s capacity and offer consistent training for volunteers. Through this curriculum volunteers are enrolled in a series of Forest Service-led core training classes, including: principles of trail stewardship, trail construction and maintenance, wilderness use and ethics, leadership, working with traditional tools, team building, and back country living skills.

Most recently, Kelly has been the critical link in a new partnership between the Shawnee National Forest and Greencorps Chicago. The partnership between Greencorps and the SNF has provided a previously non-existent link between an urban population that has historically been excluded from our nation’s public lands.

“ Her whole career embodies Theodore Roosevelt’s words, ‘Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage…’” – Kyle Williams

 

Lonnie Pilkington
National Park Service (NPS) – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lonnie was born and raised in Texas and graduated with a M.Sc. degree in range ecology from Colorado State University. He started his National Park Service (NPS) career at Rocky Mountain National Park in the exotic plant control and restoration program. In 2011, Lonnie accepted a permanent position with Glen Canyon National Recreation as the Natural Resources Program Manager. He works on a variety of projects, including exotic plant control, ecological restoration, wildlife surveys, and endangered species monitoring. Lonnie has facilitated numerous partnerships and programs to connect diverse youth and veterans to the national parks and landscapes.  Since 2012, his efforts have helped provide learning experiences and service opportunities to over 1,000 youth and veterans, including members of the Navajo Nation, Zuni and Hopi tribes.

Lonnie has achieved these remarkable goals through developing innovative funding sources and partnerships. He has secured over $500,000 in funding for these youth programs, and has developed over 20 partnerships with a wide variety of organizations, including local, state, federal, non-profit and university partners. Lonnie has put Glen Canyon and Rainbow Bridge National monument “on the map” for many organizations, and has rapidly become a regional leader in funding and supporting diverse youth, veteran and volunteer groups.  Throughout all these programs and years, Lonnie has developed an excellent safety record and always emphasizes safety first principles.

Through his dedication and hard work, Lonnie has greatly enhanced resource programs and partnerships for Glen Canyon and is widely recognized as a leader in the field.” – John Spence, DOI/NPS/Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

 

Moss Rudley
National Park Service (NPS) – Historic Preservation Training Center

Moss Rudley serves as the Superintendent of the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, MD. The Historic Preservation Training Center trains and mentors maintenance workers, preservation specialists and facility managers in the proper techniques to manage historic resources within their parks. Under Moss’s leadership, HPTC partners with a variety of youth serving institutions including Stewards Individual Placement Program, the National Trust for Historic Preservation HOPE Crews, and Architecture and Community Heritage. Moss Rudley teaches valuable trade skills in carpentry and masonry, but he also exposes young people to the importance of historic preservation on public lands. Since 2015, Moss has facilitated 76 Historic Training and Preservation Internships through Stewards at HPTC. Seven Stewards Alumni were hired as NPS employees at HPTC.

In 2017 Moss created the Traditional Trades Youth Initiative. This project engaged nine members for 20 weeks. The initiative exposed youth to preservation trades through trainings conducted by master crafts-men and women. In addition to craft-related training, the members were also taught important life skills, such as employee responsibilities, workplace ethics, and personal financial planning. The 2017 program has been so successful that Moss has been able to leverage additional funding for a significantly larger 2018 program.

Moss is committed to all aspects of our members, he pays close attention to safety, preservation protocols and traditional work skills, but he also goes above and beyond to advocate for the youth that work for him.” – Joey Ruehrwein, Stewards Individual Placement Program

 

Scott Segerstrom
Colorado Youth Corps Association

Scott Segerstrom entered the Corps sector with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps as an assistant Crew Leader in 2002. He spent four seasons leading Conservation Corps crews in Utah and Colorado before joining the Bridger-Teton National Forest as a Wilderness Ranger and Wildland Firefighter. He returned to the Corps world in 2010 as a Director with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps before joining Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) as an Associate Director. He now serves in the role of Executive Director.

In his role with the association, Scott collaborates with partners to streamline the process of deploying youth, young adults, and veterans on public land statewide. CYCA also manages the largest AmeriCorps grant in the state, awarding hundreds of Education Awards annually to open the door for members to afford higher education. Scott continues to be on the forefront of engaging the next generation of conservationists on public lands and is a shining example of how Corps service can shape and influence a career. He works to increases financial resources for Corps and promotes Corps through legislative advocacy and strategic communication. In addition, Scott creates high-quality educational opportunities and networking for Colorado’s Corpsmembers and staff. He spearheaded the Careers in Natural Resource Initiative, which is a statewide network of more than 330 individuals representing 110+ government agencies, non-profit organizations, higher education institutions and for-profit businesses, all working to create stronger pathways to engage youth in natural resource careers.

[Scott] is a great role model for youth, loves the outdoors and continues to blaze trails both in his advocacy and physical stewardship.” – Jason Robertson, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region

 

Betsy Wooster
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Betsy Wooster joined the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2001 after working as an education specialist for The National Geographic Society and National Wildlife Federation. Betsy took BLM’s youth program from it’s infancy to a fully developed program with consistent implementation across the bureau. Under Betsy’s leadership, the Bureau of Land Management partnered with more than 30 21CSC organizations to provide work and training opportunities for nearly 2,200 young people in 2016 alone.

Betsy has worked with partners to provide work and education opportunities for thousands of young people and veterans annually. Betsy has identified and developed systematic ways to ensure that young people are engaged in addressing BLM resource priorities by developing innovative programs and materials to maximize the effectiveness of BLM youth programs. To do so, she created a national network of BLM youth coordinators, and supports them through the complex tasks associated with federal employment rules and creating successful partnerships. Thanks to Betsy’s coordination, BLM’s youth hiring program is well established, hiring nearly 4,500 youth each year. She has been instrumental in developing partnerships with organizations such as the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, which allowed the BLM to leverage $2 million in non-federal funds to support conservation projects engaging youth.

“Thousands of young people working today in conservation and land stewardship unknowingly owe their careers to Betsy’s persistent, patient, thorough, gentle-but-you-know-she-means-it efforts in Washington, DC to spearhead and institutionalize youth program partnerships in the Bureau of Land Management.” – Janet Ady, BLM (Education, Interpretation, & Partnerships)

 

Jim Ziolkowski
Mount Rainier National Park

Jim grew up in the Wisconsin, without a real understanding of public lands or the possibilities of a career in the outdoors through public service. He had a life-changing experience when he served as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) intern at Mount Rainier. This summer experience opened his eyes and heart to an entirely new world. Now, as the Roads and Trails Foreman at Mount Rainier, Jim has been a tireless advocate for conservation stewardship programs supporting youth and young adults. He regularly prioritizes funding to engage programs serving diverse youth and young adults in the park, and hires and trains his maintenance staff to not just get the work done, but to also support youth conservation service programs. Just this past summer, Jim and his team oversaw work with multiple 21CSC member organizations, including Washington Conservation Corps, SCA, and Northwest Youth Corps, as well as the Park’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). Each of these organizations engages different populations with different needs and levels of experience; Jim works to ensure all participants have a meaningful experience.

Jim represents a park that is extraordinarily welcoming of youth conservation service partnerships, and regularly prioritizes the often-inadequate trails budget to make sure that they are able to serve two highly important purposes: getting important work done to ensure that the resources of the park are both protected and available to the public, and investing in the next generation of park stewards.

Jim’s normally quiet, low-key demeanor melts away as he talks passionately about the importance of service, the value of hard work well done, and the impact working on public land has on the larger community.” – Jay Satz, Northwest Youth Corps

 

Honoring Veterans 2017: Andrew Hansen III – Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps

My name is Andrew Hansen III and I am an Army Veteran, originally from the Philadelphia, PA area. I’m an outdoorsman; my love of nature comes from my parents. My mother taught science in public schools for 25 years. My parents actually met at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s West Indies Lab, where they were both studying marine science.

I joined the Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps as a way to transition into the natural resource career field. The Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps has been an absolutely life-changing experience. Every day has been a new challenge and a new opportunity. One day you can be doing a carpentry project; repairing a boardwalk in the wetlands of the Indian River Bay. The next day you can be doing wildlife management; installing deer stands and assisting in a managed hunt in the Brandywine Valley.

The sheer knowledge of what you learn would fill volumes. Archeology, history, dendrology, botany, geology, ecology, invasive species management, trail building, carpentry, tree felling and arboriculture, dune structure and shoreline management…the list goes on.

The program has reinforced my desire to pursue a career in natural resources, and the Delaware State Parks Veterans Conservation Corps, has given me the foundational skill set to do so.