Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Launches

Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Budget and Management at the Department of Interior (DOI) talks about the vision for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

Yesterday in Washington, D.C. the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps launched with a meeting attended by over 50 people from numerous federal agencies, nonprofits, and youth policy groups. The Partnership is an effort to 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.

More specifically, the Partnership provides an interface for private partners to regularly interface with members of the National Council established earlier this year by 8 federal agencies to guide the implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, following the completion of work by a Federal Advisory Committee that provided recommendations on how to structure, organize, and implement a program of this kind.

At the meeting Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Budget and Management at the Department of Interior (DOI), spoke about the work that had occured so far to establish a 21CSC. Suh said that despite sequestration cuts and a general lack of new funding, that DOI plans to continue the momentum toward the large vision that the Federal Advisory Committee for the 21CSC mapped out. Another key theme throughout the discussion focused upon how Corps can help federal agencies, cities, and other partners to accomplish essential work during this era of limited budgets with a high degree of professionalism and low cost. Getting this message communicated to potential partners would be essential.

The Partnership next plans to focus the efforts of working groups upon key tasks such as finding funding with the government and from private sources for building the program, developing essential branding and marketing messages, sharing how-to-guides for facilitating partnerships, and planning simultaneous 21CSC launch events for the Fall.

Civilian Conservation Corps and Modern Youth Corps Honored by Congressional Resolution

9 Programs Gain Provisional Accreditation by Corps Center of Excellence

Senate Holds Hearing on Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Public Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on the Public Lands Service Corps of Act of 2013.  Subcommittee Chairman Manchin (WV) presided over the legislative hearing on 20 public lands bills.

Senators Reid and Baucus each testified in support of public land bills specific to Nevada and Montana. The administration provided two witnesses for the hearing; Jim Pena, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forrest System, USFS, and Jamie Connell, Acting Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management, DOI. The administration’s testimony included strong support S. 360 which they explained “will help fulfill their commitment to build a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).” The Public Lands Service Coalition Director of Government Relations, Joe Gersen, submitted written testimony in support of the legislation. The legislation will next move to be marked up by the committee and the Public Lands Service Coalition expects that to happen in late May.  

There is still time for you to reach out to your Senators and Representative and ask them to support the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013. The Sierra Club, a key ally and member of the Public Lands Service Coalition, has setup a fast way to send your Members of Congress an email showing support for the Public Lands Service Corps Act. This tool is a great way for your board members, alums, and friends of your organization to express their support of the Public Lands Service Corps Act.  It only take a few minutes to send a message in three easy steps, click "take action" below to get started. Please share with your networks.  Please take action today!

Sierra Club Currents: News and Action Center

Take Action: Employ Youth to Protect Our Natural HeritageTake Action: Employ Youth to Protect Our Natural Heritage

Our public lands are facing a backlog of $25 billion worth of essential maintenance projects. At the same time, the youth unemployment rate hovers at 13 percent. The Public Lands Service Corps Act would authorize the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Interior to administer conservation corps activities on our public lands.

Take Action
Tell Congress to put young Americans to work protecting and restoring our public lands. Pass the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2013.


[Video] Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Discusses 21st Century Conservation Service Corps in His Final Webchat

Earlier this week, outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recorded his final webchat. Among all that was discussed, he answered a question about how he hopes the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will be viewed 10 years from now. The conversation occurs at the 28:30 mark of the webchat, which we have cued up below. Check it out!

We thank Secretary Salazar for being such a great supporter of Corps over his years and have enjoyed honoring him as a federal champion this year, and as the inaugural awardee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Service and Conservation Corps Leadership Award.


26 Youth Corps Programs First to be Provisionally Accredited by Corps Center of Excellence

For Immediate Release                                                                                            

Tweets about The Corps Network 2013 National Conference

Last week, Twitter was aflutter with commentary about The Corps Network 2013 National Conference. We took screen shots of some of the best tweets and have aggregated them for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!


Statement on Sally Jewell’s Nomination as Secretary of the Interior

For Immediate Release                                                                                            
February 6, 2013

Public Lands Service Coalition Holds a National Summit on 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

On November 15th, The Public Lands Service Coalition (PLSC) invited a wide range of public and private sector leaders to a National Summit on the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) in Washington, DC. Participants learned more about the 21CSC Federal Advisory Committee’s recommendations and also provided their input on implementation of the 21CSC.

PLSC members – Destry Jarvis, Harry Bruell, Mary Ellen Ardouny, Parc Smith and Scott Weaver – conducted a presentation on the background and capacity of Corps as well as key recommendations of the Federal Advisory Committee and an explanation of current "industry" efforts to implement a national accreditation process.

There were several additional speakers including Mary McCabe, a graduate of the Texas Conservation Corps (American YouthWorks), spoke about her experience serving in a Corps and how it is has affected her life.

Tim Harvey, Chief of the National Park Service (NPS) Park Facility Management Division, provided a presentation of the NPS’s efforts to increase the use of Corps to complete projects for the NPS.

Michael Gale, Director of the Department of The Interior (DOI) Office of Youth, Partnerships & Service, spoke about the DOI’s efforts to respond to the Committee’s report, manage the signing of an inter-fepartmental MOU to establish the 21CSC and the National Council, and coordinate an official launch of the 21CSC.

Merlene Mazyck, US Forest Service (USFS) Program Manager of Volunteers and Service, spoke about USFS’s efforts to support the 21CSC by expanding its partnerships with youth programs, supporting HistoriCorps projects and adding a youth employment focus to the USFS Youth Alliance.

The PLSC will continue to support the launch and implementation of the 21CSC as a bold national effort to put thousands of America’s young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors!

The America's Great Outdoor Initiative: from Conversation to Action


Leaders from Federal Land Management agencies discuss their plans for increasing youth involvement as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. From left to right: Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Youth Office Director at the U.S. Department of the Interior; Will Shafroth, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Interior; Meryl Harrell, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Harris Sherman, Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On Monday, leaders from U.S. federal land management agencies made the Forum one of their key venues for announcing their next steps of action in response to findings from a nationwide listening tour. As part of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, the tour helped assess what Americans perceive to be obstacles to getting outside and enjoying America’s public lands both in cities and in rural areas.

A major component of the listening tour and initiative is getting young people further involved as stewards of America’s public lands. According to the speakers at the session, across the nation, over 2,000 young people provided feedback in 21 different listening sessions. Several common themes emerged. One was that government websites are not engaging and user-friendly. The government must use social media and modern technology to better appeal to youth and encourage them to get outside. Another theme concerns how it is challenging for many young people to find and win federal jobs with land management agencies — making it less likely that they will consider outdoor careers.

To begin addressing these problems, one solution that speakers talked about is a new website called that is hoped to help make finding federal job opportunities easier for young people. Another is the creation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps, modeled on the Great Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The Corps Network will be a major partner in providing ready-to-go positions for individuals who will join the 21st Century Conservation Corps. It will essentially represent an effort to bring conservation corps to scale on a greater national level. 

A highlight of the day’s activities was Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s keynote address. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Corps Network that will allow members of the network to fast-track cooperative work agreements with federal land management agencies.

The Corps Network’s Service and Conservation Corpsmembers of the Year look on as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signs a Memorandum of understanding with Sally Prouty, President of The Corps Network.