This summer we plan to highlight several of the participants in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. To view all Faces of the 21CSC stories, please click here. The following story was provided by Arizona Conservation Corps, a 21CSC program operator.
In his orange hard hat and well-worn work pants, Shonto Greyeyes leads an AmeriCorps crew of six local teens in the Youth Conservation Corps in Prescott, AZ as part of Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC). Shonto is serving his second term as a YCC mentor as follow up to experiences on the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition crew with AZCC, a term of service with Montana Conservation Corps, and an individual placement internship with Coconino National Forest. Shonto sees his responsibility to give back to his community, and he aspires to lead an inter-tribal crew that serves Arizona’s ancestral lands and native communities.
Shonto recognizes the challenge of straddling two worlds: the traditional knowledge of his Diné culture and the opportunities of the 21st century. Shonto grew up in the border town of Flagstaff, AZ after his family made the decision to move off of the Navajo Reservation, the largest reservation in the U.S. which reaches into three states.
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.
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