After graduating from high school in Northern Illinois, Mitch decided to join the United States Marine Corps. He feels fortunate to have been deployed 11 times – eight of which were combat deployments – to a variety of places, including Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. During his time in the Marines, Mitch worked with four different infantry units and gained a great deal of experience. However, when he completed his service in 2012 and began looking for a civilian job, Mitch discovered that there were few careers where he could apply the skills he learned as an infantryman.
During his time in the military, Mitch got married and had two kids. Completing his service allowed him and his family to move to Alabama to give his kids the opportunity to get to know more of their relatives. Mitch was pursuing a degree in nursing when a friend told him about Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) and its AmeriCorps-based Veterans Fire Corps program. As his friend explained, the Corps would give Mitch the opportunity to learn about wildfires and get involved in careers in the outdoors. Mitch decided to apply and started with SCC in spring of 2015 along with the friend that had introduced the idea.
Mitch feels that SCC taught him a lot about wildland fire, conservation and living and working in the outdoors. Though he wasn’t completely sold on being in wildland fire as a long-term career, the Veterans Fire Corps program gave him some of the hard skills needed to be valuable for positions with federal land management agencies. His time with SCC also gave Mitch the opportunity to network with supervisors that work within the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Mitch isn’t certain about he wants to do after the Corps, but he knows he wants to continue working outdoors and eventually be able to find a permanent position with a land management agency somewhere in Colorado, where he and his family currently live.
WASHINGTON — The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) will honor three individuals as Champions of the Year for their efforts to create and enhance programs that engage young Americans and veterans in conservation activities within America’s parks, forests, waters, public lands, and communities.
Following a nomination process, a panel of representatives from the Partnership selected three champions. They will be recognized on Tuesday, February 10th at a formal meeting of the Partnership for the 21CSC that will be held during The Corps Network’s 2015 National Conference in Washington D.C. Continue reading →
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, Tom Davis, Trails Specialist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Skykomish Ranger District kindly agreed to answer our questions about working with youth programs via email. He was nominated by Jeff Parker, Executive Director of Northwest Youth Corps for this recognition. Jeff says that “from remote wilderness projects to front country work in one of our nation’s busiest forests, Tom is fully committed to engaging youth and young adults in meaningful ways to help develop the next generation of citizen stewards.”
Thanks to Tom for participating and sharing his thoughts.
Tom Davis is Trails Specialist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Skykomish Ranger District, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
How long have you been working for the U.S. Forest Service and how did you get started?
Over 25 years. I started when I was 16-years-old with the Youth Conservation Corp on the Naches Ranger District, Wenatchee National Forest. After a number of seasons I received my permanent appointment in 1990 on the Skykomish Ranger District, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Continue reading →
Last week, Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek youth worked alongside Bill Scripp, a Recreation Technician from the Athens Ranger District on the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. In this picture, youth are learning how to build a footbridge at Utah Pond near Nelsonville, Ohio.
This story and photos provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
In support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), the Wayne National Forest and Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek, a nonprofit organization is one of several organization across the nation selected as an important partner in standing up the 21CSC, a collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors.
The partnership includes multiple opportunities over the next several months for Wayne National Forest employees to connect with young people on the Forest and at Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek. Several young people are accomplishing meaningful work, and gaining important personal and professional skills, while building a lifelong connection to the outdoors.
For decades, national service has been a cost-effective solution to critical challenges facing our communities and nation. Recognizing the value of national service in improving lives and strengthening communities, President Obama created the Task Force on Expanding National Service in July 2013 to expand national service to meet national needs through collaboration with other Federal agencies and the private sector.
In July 2014, USDA and CNCS announced a landmark new partnership between AmeriCorps and the USDA’s Forest Service that connects youth and veterans with service opportunities to restore the nation’s forests and grasslands. The $3.8 million in joint funding will provide resources for both AmeriCorps grantees and member organizations of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), and will also provide for 300 new AmeriCorps members serving in U.S. forests and grasslands.
AmeriCorps is part of a long American tradition of conservation service that dates back to the Civilian Conservation Corps and builds on the large network of state and local conservation corps that have emerged over the past four decades.
Through the President’s Task Force on Expanding National Service, CNCS is working with USDA and other federal agencies and nonprofit partners to create a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors.
Through this new partnership, AmeriCorps members and other youth will restore the nation’s forests and grasslands, meeting critical environmental needs as they gain valuable skills and college support to jumpstart their careers.
The California Conservation Corps enrolls veterans to assist with firefighting efforts as an official program of 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.
At a California Conservation Corps center in the Sierra foothills, 50 military veterans were put through their paces this week, mastering a 40-hour wildland fire training led by members of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
After completing the course, the veterans became part of the nationwide Veterans Green Corps, that also includes veterans in the Student Conservation Association and the Southwest Conservation Corps. Many Corps programs have also developed Veterans Conservation Corps programs with other partners including Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (Colorado), Montana Conservation Corps, Maine Conservation Corps, Nevada Conservation Corps, Washington Conservation Corps, Utah Conservation Corps and Western Colorado Conservation Corps. These programs are all part of the new 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.