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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 www.corpsnetwork.org.

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 www.conservationlegacy.org.

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

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!

21st Century Conservation Service Corps Champion of the Week Interview: Renee Benally of the BIA’s Western Navajo Agency

The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Corps has selected several partners who work with 21CSC programs to recognize as “21st Century Conservation Service Corps Champions of the Week.” This week, Renee Benally, Natural Resource Specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Western Navajo Agency’s Branch of Natural Resources, kindly agreed to answer our questions about working with youth programs via email. Thanks to Renee for her support and insight!

Click here to meet our other 21CSC Champions of the Week.

Renee Benally, Natural Resource Specialist for the BIA's Western Navajo Agency, stops for a photo at Navajo Bridge near Lee's Ferry. Renee serves as the regional youth liason for the agency.

Renee Benally, Natural Resource Specialist for the BIA’s Western Navajo Agency, stops for a photo at Navajo Bridge near Lee’s Ferry. Renee serves as the regional youth liason for the agency.

How long have you been working as a Natural Resource Specialist for the BIA’s Western Navajo Agency and how did you get started?

I have been working with the BIA Navajo Region Western Navajo Agency’s Branch of Natural Resources for 10 years as Natural Resource Specialist at Tuba City. I started my career as a research specialist at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Environmental Health Science Center where I was exposed to superfund projects and learned about environmental toxicology. This position was only for 2 years so I had to find another job. I applied for my current position due to its close proximity to my mom and it involved ways to improve the Navajo Nation at the macro-level. This is my way of contributing back to my community. Continue reading