Civic Works and The Corps Network Join Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for 50 Cities Initiative Launch

Civic Works Corpsmembers and Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network, with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Photo courtesy of DOI.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, Baltimore officially became the 11th city to join the Department of the Interior’s 50 Cities Initiative. Staff from The Corps Network as well as representatives from Civic Works, Baltimore’s Conservation Corps, attended an event at Middle Branch Park along the Patapsco River where Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement. Also in attendance at the event were Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, White House Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes, the YMCA and several other local organizations.

The 50 Cities initiative is an effort to build coalitions in 50 cities across the country to put into action the Department of the Interior’s broader youth initiative, which is focused on enhancing and expanding outdoor recreational, educational, volunteer and career opportunities on public lands for millions of youth and veterans.

In each of the 50 cities participating in the initiative, The Corps Network is working with member Corps to place an AmeriCorps member at the local YMCA. The Corpsmember will assist a Community Coordinator in developing and leading a coalition of local organizations that can inspire young people to play, learn, serve, and work on public lands.

Twenty-six of the 50 cities will be announced this year. The 11 that have already been announced include New York City, Atlanta, Miami, the Twin Cities, Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Denver, the District of Columbia, and Baltimore. Twenty-four cities will be announced in 2016.

Over the next four years, the goals of the youth initiative (Play, Learn, Serve and Work) include engaging over 10 million young people in outdoor play in 50 key cities; providing outdoor educational opportunities to at least 10 million K-12 students; engaging 1 million volunteers annually in volunteer activities on public lands; and developing 100,000 work or training opportunities on America’s public lands.

Boiler Plate: 
On Tuesday, June 2nd, Baltimore officially became the 11th city to join the Department of the Interior’s 50 Cities Initiative. Staff from The Corps Network as well as representatives from Civic Works, Baltimore’s Conservation Corps, attended an event at Middle Branch Park along the Patapsco River where Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement. Also in attendance at the event were Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, White House Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes, the YMCA and several other local organizations.

Announcement of Grants Caps Big Week for 21st Century Conservation Service Corps

This week was a notable one in the continuing cultivation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative (21CSC). On Monday, The Partnership for the 21CSC hosted it's 4th meeting at the Department of Agriculture's Washington D.C. Headquarters.

On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with Coca Cola North America President Sandy Douglas announced new 21CSC grants at an event on the Los Angeles River with several Corps in attendance. Keep reading below for more detail on what it means.

4th Partnership for 21CSC Meeting Focuses on Collaboration, Funding, and Celebrating Successes
Representatives from numerous federal agencies, partnering organizations, and 21CSC program operators met in Washington to discuss how to continue making the 21CSC a successful initiative. Most discussions were held in small groups, and focused on key themes including
  • how to find solutions to challenges and barriers that exist in inter-agency collaboration and internal communications
  • how to collect data that is consistent and meaningful across agencies and partners, as well as implement standards across 21CSC program operators to ensure high-quality programs and projects
  • how to identify and put sources of long-term federal funding in place for the 21CSC
  • challenges and opportunities for securing private funding to support the initiative, and how to negotiate meaningful public-private partnerships that are beneficial to all parties
  • federal legislation that would ensure 21CSC has staying power across political administrations
A public afternoon presentation celebrated the successes of the 21CSC to date, and featured speakers from numerous agencies and partners. The next Partnership for 21CSC meeting will be held during The Corps Network's 2015 National Conference, which will take place from February 8-11 in Washington, D.C.  
New 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Grants Support 23 Projects in Collaboration with Six Department of Interior Agencies
On Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced new Department of Interior 21CSC grants that were made possible by combining $530,823 private funds with matching funds to create project funds totaling $740,000. According to the Department of Interior, "The projects will employ approximately 160 youth and up to 10 veterans in conservation work benefiting our public lands. These projects will engage approximately 300 volunteers within the local communities and conduct restoration activities on over 200 miles of public land."

The agencies that will partner with 21CSC organizations include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

Of the 23 projects, 19 are going to be completed by members or affiliates of The Corps Network. Many of the projects focus on traditional Corps work such as improving trails, restoring habitat, and environmental education. Some unique project highlights include

  • Conservation Legacy employing two AmeriCorps Environmental Steward program members in South Florida's Everglades ecosystems to work with U.S. Geological Survey biologists to help research and control expanding populations of invasive reptile species.
     
  • Nevada Conservation Corps working with the Bureau of Land Management with six AmeriCorps members to clean-up and reduce the impacts of a recreational shooting range within the Coyote Springs Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
     
  • Utah Conservation Corps employing four Corpsmembers to work with the Bureau of Land Management to build a short trail around the Mill Canyon dinosaur track site to enable more visitors to see the dinosaur tracks while maintaining the site in good condition.
     
  • Arizona and Utah Conservation Corps employing two four-person crews to construct and install several micro-irrigation systems in the northern Navajo Nation that can help encourage gardening, an activity that has obtained renewed interest recently among local communities.

For more information on the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps initiative, please visit www.21csc.org

A Photo Collage for Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

After receiving a photo from Mile High Youth Corps with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell from last week's announcement of 21st Century Conservation Service Corps grants, we thought "Wow! Secretary Jewell really has visited with a large number of Corpsmembers and Corps staff nationwide."

Based on our count, in only slightly over a year in office, Secretary Jewell has already met Corpsmembers from a total of 20 different Service and Conservation Corps programs! (See the list below) She has also spent time with youth and Corps completing service projects.

As a token of appreciation, we pulled together all of our photos from her visits to Corps and public lands, as well as photos from the FDR Memorial and The Corps Network 2014 National Conference. We hope you enjoy the collage. If you want to share it, we posted it on Twitter and Facebook.

1. Urban Corps of San Diego County
2. Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
3. Kupu / Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps
4. EOC Fresno Local Conservation Corps
5. CiviCorps
6. Southwest Conservation Corps
7. Northwest Youth Corps
8. California Conservation Corps
9. Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa
10. New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg
11. Earth Conservation Corps
12. DC Green Corps
13. Montgomery County Conservation Corps
14. Student Conservation Association
15. Conservation Corps North Bay
16. Utah Conservation Corps
17. Mile High Youth Corps
18. EarthCorps
19. LA Conservation Corps
20. Montana Conservation Corps

The Corps Network Thanks President Obama for Designation of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

Photo of Organ Mountains via White House's Instagram Account

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that he would use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a 500,000 acre area of New Mexico known as the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks as a National Monument. Jeri Clausing of the Associated Press writes that, "New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, had proposed legislation to protect the region that includes popular hunting areas and features steep rock outcroppings, petroglyphs, ancient lava flows and sites such as Billy the Kid's Outlaw Rock, Geromino's Cave and the Butterfield Stagecoach Trail."

The Corps Network and twenty four of its member organizations have issued a thank you letter to President Obama and also to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. A PDF of the letter can be accessed by clicking here, and the full text is published below. 

Full Text of The Corps Network's Letter to President Obama:

May 21, 2014


The President
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of Service and Conservation Corps across the country, we write to thank you for your recent action to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

Although the nation’s 100+ Service and Conservation Corps are diverse in mission and membership, we all strive to improve quality of life for our participants and in our communities.  From building trails and campgrounds on our nation’s iconic public lands, to creating and caring for urban parks and gardens, to improving the energy efficiency of low-income housing, to helping communities prepare for and recover from disasters, Corps provide communities with valuable services and participants with the job training, academic programming, leadership skills and more, to improve lives and the environment.

It is this dedication to the betterment of future generations that leads us to strongly support your recent action to create the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.  Protecting these pristine public lands will help to secure recreational opportunities for local communities and encourage more Americans to spend time in the great outdoors.  This will help boost local economies, support public health, and inspire future generations to embody the conservation ethic we all hold dear.

We also want to thank and recognize Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell for her tireless leadership on behalf of Service and Conservation Corps.  Her support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps has been extraordinary, and her recognition of the importance that land conservation policies play in furthering the missions of Conservation Corps everywhere is integral to our future success.

Thank you again for acting to protect the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, and we look forward to seeing other special landscapes protected in the future.

Sincerely,

Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO
The Corps Network
And the undersigned Corps

 

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Taos, New Mexico

 

YouthWorks Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Conservation Legacy

Durango, Colorado

 

Environmental Stewards

Durango, Colorado

Southwest Conservation Corps

Salida and Durango, CO and Acoma Pueblo, NM

 

Western Colorado Conservation Corps

Grand Junction, CO

Arizona Conservation Corps

Tucson and Flagstaff, AZ

 

Great Basin Institute / Nevada Conservation Corps

Reno, NV

 

Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Fresno Local Conservation Corps

Fresno, CA

 

San Francisco Conservation Corps

San Francisco, CA

 

Sequoia Community Corps

Visalia, CA

 

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

St. Paul, MN

 

WisCorps

LaCrosse, WI

 

American Youthworks

Austin, TX

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Richmond, VT

 

The Work Group

Pennsauken, NJ

 

Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia

Beckley, WV

 

Southeast Youth Corps

Chattanooga, TN

 

Limitless Vistas, Inc.

Orlando, FL

 

Greater Miami Service Corps

Miami, FL

Kupu

Honolulu, HI

SAGA

Juneau, AK

 

Los Angeles Conservation Corps

Los Angeles, CA

 

Northwest Piedmont Service Corps

Winston-Salem, NC

 

Boiler Plate: 
Read our thank you letter to President Obama for designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as our nation's newest national monument.

Sally Jewell Meets New Jersey Youth Corps Members, Announces New Hurricane Sandy Restoration Grants, and Promotes Emphasis on Youth in Major Speech

Sally Jewell puts on New Jersey Youth Corps attire.

Written by the New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipburg with additional reporting from The Corps Network

Last week, New Jersey Youth Corps programs from Camden and Phillipsburg, by invitation of the Secretary of the Interior, attended a press event at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway Twp, NJ. On behalf of President Obama, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Interior and local officials to announce that $162 million will be invested in 45 restoration and research projects that will better protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms, by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts.

Using the dramatic backdrop of Atlantic City as a stark contrast to the some 40,000 acres of wildlife habitat, Secretary Jewell stressed the importance of preserving our natural treasures, preparing for and building resiliency against future storms as well as developing projects with strong youth components. After her press conference, the Secretary had a private meet & greet with Corpsmembers (US Fish & Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ12th) also participated) They thanked the Youth Corps for all their efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, encouraged the Corpmembers to pursue careers in the environmental field and to continue their great work all throughout the state.

Earlier this week, Mary Ellen Ardouny of The Corps Network attended an additional event in Alexandria, Virginia where Sally Jewell further promoted the restoration projects at the National Park Service managed Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. In all, $162 million for 45 projects were authorized (list here). They also announced that the Department would issue a Request for Proposals for an additional $100 million in grant funding under the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress toward getting Youth Corps to work on these types of projects.

In a major policy speech today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Secretary Jewell also outlined a major emphasis on connecting youth to public lands through a new effort in 50 cities, through K-12 education in “outdoor classrooms”, through volunteerism, and through training and employment opportunities like the 21st Century Conservation Corps (click here to watch the segment of the speech about youth). Further details were not immediately available, but we are glad to hear that Secretary Jewell remains committed to connecting youth to public lands!

[Video] Sally Jewell Talks about 21st Century Conservation Service Corps in Live Chat

Last week as part of of her livechat in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell spent several minutes responding to a question about the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. She noted how members of the The Corps Network and SCA would play a role, but also talked about how given modern constraints and circumstances, the program would not have the same scope as the original CCC in terms of numbers.

Later on (at the 27:25 minute mark), Secretary Jewell also talked about making the workforce of Interior agencies more diverse, and how youth hires would eventually play a big role in this change once budgets allowed for more growth in staff at national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. 

You can watch the video by clicking on the photo above or by clicking here.

Boiler Plate: 
Last week as part of of her livechat in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell spent several minutes responding to a question about the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

10 Conservation Corps Receive New Funding from Department of the Interior

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announces new project funding at an event with Northwest Youth Corps.

Last week we previewed an announcement of grants to be made by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that she made at an event with Northwest Youth Corps (see more photos here).

Ten conservation corps who are members of The Corps Network were among the recipients of new grants to support youth employment and stewardship on federal lands. They include

Montana Conservation Corps
Student Conservation Association (California)
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (NM)
Southwest Conservation Corps
Northwest Youth Corps
Nevada Conservation Corps
San Joaquin Regional Conservation Corps
Western Colorado Conservation Corps 
Los Angeles Conservation Corps
Urban Conservation Corps (Southern California Mountains Foundation)

Full descriptions of each project that was funded (including those of the Corps above) can be seen here. We congratulate all of our members on this great success!   

 

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to Join Northwest Youth Corps for Service Project

 

Sally Jewell helps out with a Northwest Youth Corps Service Project. Photo courtesy of BLMOregon

*** Update: Scroll below to see more photos from the event! ***

Today Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will join Northwest Youth Corps for an event in Portland, Oregon where she will announce funding that has been awarded for conservation projects that aim to boost youth employment. Later she and Charlie Hales, Portland's Mayor, will join the Corps to participate in a service project in one of the city's urban parks. 

In 2012, Northwest Youth Corps enrolled 950 young people in its programs, making it one of the largest Corps programs in the country. As a leader in the Corps Movement, Executive Director Jeff Parker recently served on the federal advisory committee to provide guidance on establishing a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. He also serves as a member of The Corps Network's Corps Council.

In April, the Corps was announced as one of the grantees of The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities program. "It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through a $15 million, five-year relationship to promote environmental stewardship across the country." The program is a large public-private partnership, and will also fund a program called "America's Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists."

Additional members of The Corps Network who have already received funding as part of the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities program include Southwest Conservation Corps and the Student Conservation Association. A full list of the grantees who have been announced so far can be seen here.

We congratulate Northwest Youth Corps on their participation in this event, and we know that they are going to be a fantastic ambassador for Corps!


Photos from Secretary Jewell's visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Video] Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell Highlights The Corps Network and Student Conservation Association for Volunteer Opportunities in Earth Day Chat

On Monday of this week, our new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell participated in a special Earth Day webchat.

When asked a question about the Department of Interior partnering with nonprofits and corporations to boost volunteerism on public lands, here's what Secretary Jewell had to say: