Next Generation of Aquatic Restoration Leaders: Abbey Toomer

 

Operated by Trout Headwaters, Inc., Waders in the Water (WitW) is an interactive, webinar-delivered training that instructs students in common restoration industry tools, techniques, and processes, workplace safety, and proven, practical, & innovative habitat enhancement. WitW graduates have a path to projects, jobs, and careers in the $10B/Yr restoration economy. Corps that offer the WitW training are better positioned to participate in the growing number of public-private restoration partnerships with for-profit, non-profit and government entities.

This summer, The Corps Network and THI are partnering on a blog series to highlight young adults who have benefited from the WitW experience.

 


She grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where she loved to fish Lake Norfork and the White River with her Dad and Grandfather, “Pa”. It was this draw to nature and the outdoors that, in 2011, led Abbey Toomer to join Florida’s Community Training Works, Inc., also known as Young American Conservation Corps. 

Starting as an office assistant in 2011, Abbey, now 28, learned the ins and outs of financing and managing a Corps. After three years in this position, she transitioned to working in the field and training other crewmembers.

Over the years, Abbey numerous certifications and completed trainings in proper ax usage, Wilderness First Aid and CPR, and wildland firefighter basic management. She also completed the Waders in the Water training, which introduced her to water safety and the concept of how all environmental systems are connected. With this experience, Abbey spent three months in Mississippi training new Corpsmembers with Climb CDC Conservation Corps in skills such as endangered species tracking, processing, handling, and cataloging invasive species.

Abbey has worked mostly in the Florida Panhandle, but has also worked in Ft. Lauderdale, St. Augustine, and on the Florida National Scenic Trail. Recently, she and her crewmembers are worked with the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory to expand Living Dock; a learning platform used by thousands of school children, marine biology and aquaculture students, and medical and scientific researchers. They also recently partnered with Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory on oyster restoration, coastal restoration and trail maintenance.

Abbey believes the Waders in the Water program provided her insight into new perspectives on nature. While she has always considered herself environmentally conscious and tries to live as “green” as possible, Abbey’s made some changes since the training. She now uses a “First, Do No Harm” approach in her work, pausing to assess both the environment and proposed solutions before taking any action. She asks herself, “Is this solution really the BEST thing to do for nature and this particular habitat?" Abbey strives to help Mother Nature heal herself, instead of counting on nature to fix whatever problems humans impose. She now considers the unique qualities and needs of each project location, knowing that, in restoration or rehab work, one size rarely fits all. 

The professional training she has received through WitW gave Abbey greater confidence to work on bigger restoration projects and communicate more knowledgably with land and project managers. She is excited about continuing Gulf Coast restoration work and looks forward to, along with her team, applying the knowledge she gained through WitW.

“So many folks living in rural Arkansas, and other communities throughout the US that struggle with crippling high unemployment, could really benefit from this training,” reflected Abbey. “These folks would not only become better job candidates for organizations and companies restoring lands and waters, but they would also improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities, for many years to come.” 

Photos of the Month - May 2017

Sweat and Long Hours: Texas Conservation Corps Puts in the Work to Maintain Trails

Corps play an essential role in helping address the maintenance backlog on America’s public trails. In 2016 alone, young adults enrolled in member organizations of The Corps Network built or improved almost 22,000 miles of trail!

In honor of National Trails Day this Saturday, June 3, we’re recognizing Trails Across Texas (TAT), an AmeriCorps program of Austin-based Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC) at American YouthWorks. Learn about how the TAT crew connects their community to trails and helps get more people outdoors.


 

Meet the Crew Leaders:

Trail work isn’t easy. Keeping popular public trails in operation requires hours of physical labor, often in harsh conditions. However, as the members of the Trails Across Texas (TAT) program at Austin-based Texas Conservation Corps will tell you, maintaining trails is one of the most rewarding jobs out there.

“Trail crews put in sweat and long hours to make the public's experience greater,” said Ian Munoz, a TAT Crew Leader. “It’s hard, but I do it because it brings me joy like nothing else. I am constantly motivated by my surroundings when I’m working on a trail. Having the chance to work on or create something that people from all over can come to enjoy will keep me working on a trail crew for as long as I can.”

Born and raised in El Paso, Munoz is a self-described “Texas Outdoorsman” who joined TAT to give back to his home state. He recently led a project at Bastrop State Park in Central Texas. Using chainsaws and a range of hand tools – including mattocks, Pulaskis, shovels and McLeods – the crew removed hazardous trees and constructed hundreds of feet of new tread for the Lost Pine Loop.   

“With all of these tools comes daily maintenance and skills to keep them working well,” said Munoz. “The skills needed for chainsaw operation and hazard felling can be overwhelming, but safety and sound judgement are essential. With trail digging comes the skill to understand the science of water-flow and erosion.”
 


 

Managing water-flow is critical to maintaining trails. Karissa Killian, another TAT Crew Leader, also recently served at Bastrop. In addition to felling hazardous trees, her crew removed woody debris from the downslope of the trail. This allows water to flow off the trail instead of pooling.

“Trail crews maintain trails so that users can enjoy them,” said Killian. “We focus on making trails sustainable so that they can be used by many future generations.”

A native of Salt Lake City, Killian graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science. Her first job was with a U.S. Forest Service trails and wilderness crew. Her passion for this work led her to the TAT program, where she became immersed in the routine of working and living outdoors on multi-day assignments, or “hitches.”

“I enjoy working outside, using my hands, and being engaged in physical activity,” said Killian. “[Trail work] is like working in a community. Everyone is so nice and supportive. It can be a hard transition to living on hitch for most of your time, but it is rewarding to make close connections with other crewmembers.”

The TAT crewmembers are a diverse group of young men and women. Some came to TAT with experience in the outdoors, while others came from office jobs, looking to get more in touch with nature. As AmeriCorps members, these young adults receive a modest stipend for their service and can receive an AmeriCorps education award (scholarship) upon completing their service. Through their day-to-day service with the TAT program, the crewmembers gain the skills and experience to later seek jobs in conservation and lands management. Here are some of their insights from the trail.

 

 

Meet Trails Across Texas Crewmembers:

Carl Woody
Age: 28
Austin, TX

“Before this I did a previous AmeriCorps program, but before that I was working at a law office for about 3 years. So, this is a little bit different from what I’ve been doing before.”

“I absolutely feel more connected with nature. When it is your office and your home, you kind of have to appreciate it. You learn to really care for what’s important and how important it is to take care of the environment. It’s the only one we’ve got, so we might as well take the best care of it we can.”

“Well, trail work requires a lot of communication and team work. It’s 10 people trying to accomplish one goal at the same time, so you have to really know how to work with each other and communicate well.

“What do I like the most? I just like working with my hands a lot. Getting dirty, hard work, sweating a lot, obviously. What do I like the least? Probably sweating a lot…it’s hot and nasty outside here most of the time.”

“I’m actually going to graduate school next fall for environmental policy and environmental science. So, keep fighting the good fight!”

 

Brigid MulRoe
Age: 22
Malta, NJ

“Before I joined this program, I graduated from college a year ago and I did another Conservation Corps last fall, just for 3 months. I liked it so much; I got a little taste of the Conservation Corps world and decided that I wanted to do more, so I joined the Texas Conservation Corps for a 5-month term.”

My perspective on the environment has definitely changed since I’ve been living outside every day in a tent. We’re definitely forced to get up close and personal with the dirt and bugs and the rain, but I have really enjoyed it! I think that I feel a lot more connected to the work that I’m doing than if I were just sitting in an office thinking about it.”

“I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. Just the fact that I’m capable of doing this work has surprised me and made me think about myself a lot differently”

“I really enjoy hitch life and living with a group of 10 people that are coming from different places and have totally different perspectives on everything, but working as a team when working on the trail or camp life. The thing I like the least, at least for this week is the bugs. Bombarded with ants, mosquitoes, chiggers, so we’re all learning to deal with that.”

“I’m planning on doing another AmeriCorps program. An emergency response program in St. Louis.”

 

Arturo Gonzalez
Age: 25
Salinas, CA

“Before this program I was in a back country trails crew with an AmeriCorps program with a California Conservation Corps. My supervisor told me about the TxCC program, so I came here after that.”

“I feel like I already was connected to nature. I really love nature, so even though I enjoyed it before, I still enjoy it now.”

“Being on this crew has taught me that you don’t need technology or a lot of the stuff that you’re used to having.”

“The things I enjoy the most about being on TAT crew is probably all the hiking and the general work itself, especially backcountry style rock work. My least favorite is probably chores, especially dishes.”

“Right after this, I’m not sure what I want to do, but I am gold-listed to be a sponsor for a backcountry trails crew.”

 

Michael “Mikey” Thomas
Age: 29
Rhode Island & Austin, TX

“I’m originally from Rhode Island but I’ve lived in Texas since I was 15 years old. I have lived in Austin for 11 years now. Before I joined TxCC, I was a kitchen lead at a restaurant. I have been doing that, primarily, my whole life. I was traveling and playing music, also.”

“I would say I always felt connected to nature, but through this program I feel more so.”

“As for what I’ve learned through this program - Lots of technique, but as far as life skills or lessons, there is a level of contentment that you learn when you’re outside, away from everything for 10 days at a time. You find pleasure in simple things; when you go back into the city, that carries over. So, I’m more content in general.”

“I love the work itself. I like the lifestyle of living in a small group and sharing food. I also like the solitude and rock, tread, and chainsaw work. There’s nothing I don’t really like. I enjoy working with my hands, so I like it all.”

“The initial goal coming here was to get a job doing park maintenance, but after doing this for a long time, I think I would like to eventually get into trail design and layout.”

 

Ryan Garwood
North Texas

“I’ve been living in Austin, TX for about 5 years now. Originally, I am from North Texas. Before this, I was working in an automotive shop.”

“I joined this program to do something new. I started working in the shop and being in the daily grind, and then I found this job on Craigslist. I didn’t know it was in Austin and I had been living in Austin for 5 years and never heard about it. Thankfully I found it and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

“Since working on this crew, I feel way more connected to nature now. Being out 10 days at a time, you definitely get one-on-one with nature. One of the biggest things I have learned is just how powerful nature really is. That it can rebuild itself; the elements are very powerful.”

“The most valuable lesson I have learned is walk in a single file line, not shoulder to shoulder so you don’t broaden the trail out.”

I like the comradery of the trail crew. It’s like a family environment everyone has each other’s back. Do chores, one person does one thing, and another person does another thing and it all works out. My least favorite thing is probably the bugs and insects, and creepy crawlies.”

“After my term of service, I would like to do another term, but, at the end of the day, I would like to be in Texas Parks and Wildlife or do some firefighting. That would be cool.”

 

Anna Jones
Age: 21
Waco, TX

“Before this I was working in a zoo at their gift shop, and before that I was working as a grocery store clerk. I heard about TxCC on Reddit and it sounded like something I would be interested in and maybe a career field that I would like to move towards. I’m really glad I made the decision!”

“I do feel more connected to nature. I’ve never really camped a lot in my life, only once before this program. It’s a different experience completely to be out in the wilderness for 10 days at a time. Especially out at Cap Rock where we were primitive camping, which was a unique experience but I really enjoyed it! Something I have learned about nature is that it is amazing what the environment can do. Out at Cap Rock we had to the stone staircase, because the rain just carves out gullies and stuff. Erosion is a big thing, it’s amazing what can happen to the earth over a span of a few years.”

“Honestly, my favorite part about this work is probably camp related things. Learning how to live out here and learning to live with minimal things. It’s a very different life than living in the city with all of these things you think you need, until you just go out into the wilderness and realize you don’t need any of them.”

“I think what I enjoy the most is honestly the comradery in the crew. You get so close with these people, working with them 10 days at a time and living with them for hours. My least favorite thing is probably the bugs. I love animals, just not insects. They get in my tent and it’s very upsetting.”

“After this, I plan to go back and finish off my degree. I want to get a degree in Wildlife Biology.”

 

Josh DelRio
Age: 28

“I joined TxCC for a new experience. Before TxCC, I was playing Rock n’ Roll and working for a moving company.”

“My perspective on nature has changed. What I’ve learned is that nature heals itself pretty readily, considering what humans do to it. That’s definitely the best thing I have learned about trails and nature.”

The most valuable skill I have learned is how to live outside for more than a week. Definitely got that on lock down.

“Being on a trail crew, at least for TAT, we’ve been to a lot of different areas. So, being able to go to all of those places and different environments were the coolest part. My least favorite, recently, is the chiggers.”

“After my term of service, I would like to get into wildland firefighting. Hopefully get the Travis County fire rescue gig. Somewhere around there, chainsaws are cool and fire is awesome. After seeing that at Cooper Lake, that probably sparked my interest very much.”

 

 

 

A Message from Our CEO: How You Can Take Action in Response to the President's FY18 Budget

Please use our template messages below to tell Congress and your Community about how these cuts would negatively affect Corps.
 


View Budget Summary

Click here to scroll to the bottom for Action Items


 

Dear Friends,­

You probably heard in the news that President Trump released his first budget proposal. As we previewed in March, we have significant reason for concern and we need your help over the coming months to ensure this budget does not go into effect.

Why are we concerned? This budget shows where the administration’s priorities are, and it’s not good news for our federal partners.  The President’s Budget proposes the complete elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps and VISTA. It also proposes massive cuts to public lands funding at USDA and the Forest Service of 21 percent, and a 11 percent cut to the Department of Interior, with National Park Service taking a bigger cut at 13 percent. Department of Labor would also be cut by 20% including the Job Corps, YouthBuild and WIOA programs. 

If these cuts go into effect, they would have a devastating impact on our Corps and opportunities for our Corpsmembers and partners around the country. I want to let you know that we are paying close attention to these issues in DC. We are working hard to advocate for the funding Corps need to continue engaging youth and veterans in serving our communities and nation.

While President Trump’s proposals are hugely concerning, Congress makes the final decision on spending. Just this month, we saw Congress provide respectable funding levels for FY17, indicating they may not have the appetite for the President’s proposed level of cuts in FY18. Congress is already expressing concern over President Trump’s budget, and there is near certainty of major changes. However, it’s important to remember there are other ways, beyond funding, in which the President can influence which activities federal agencies prioritize.

This is why we must keep the pressure on our Members of Congress and use our most effective local tools - your voice - to let Congress know that #CorpsWorkPlease use our press release template to reach local media, and template budget and appropriations support letters to reach your House and Senate members today to tell them about the impact these cuts would have on your community.

You are already having an impact! For FY17, AmeriCorps continued at a $40 million increased level over FY15, and the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee (which funds AmeriCorps), both joined a resolution honoring AmeriCorps. Additionally, all the key accounts that fund Corps’ public lands projects received funding increases.

Your ongoing support for The Corps Network, through membership and your advocacy with elected officials, makes this possible. We need your continued engagement with our public lands and national service advocacy. If we reach out to you, please take a few minutes to help! Everyone’s voice is important and we need to make a stand now to send a message these cuts cannot continue for another four years.

The Corps Network’s mission statement is “Strengthening America through Service and Conservation.” Unfortunately, the President’s proposed budget would hurt both service and conservation efforts, consequently effecting our country as whole. We have been through tough budget cycles before, and have weathered cuts for a number of years already, but this is an unprecedented threat. Know that we are working hard for you in DC, but we need your help on the ground. Please use our template press release and letters.

Thank you, as always, for all that you do. Keep up the good work!

Mary Ellen Sprenkel
CEO
The Corps Network

 


ACTION ITEMS & RESOURCES

Below find template letters you can send to your Members of Congress to request support for federal agencies and funding important to Corps. Not sure who your members of Congress are or how to contact them? See below for Congressional Directories: 
      - U.S. Senate Directory
      - U.S. House Directory

 

 

Engaging Youth of Color in the Outdoors

Most Corps engage young adults age 16 and over. However, in honor of the National Park Trust's Kids to Parks Day this Saturday, May 20, we interviewed a Corps that provides stellar programming for younger kids in their community. Learn about how Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta helps educate youth of color about how they can get involved in conservation. 



Greening Youth Foundation (GYF), located in Atlanta, GA, provides environmental education programming for youth of color ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. GYF serves City of Atlanta Recreation Centers, Hollis Innovation Academy, Dunbar Elementary, and Boys & Girls Clubs.

There are three distinct sections of GYF’s education program: CLEAN curriculum, the Green Speaker series, and field trips.

CLEAN curriculum - Children Living Energetically and Advancing Nature - was developed specifically for the demographic area GYF serves . It teaches environmental literacy to youth of color and engages them in the outdoors.

The Green Speaker series gives youth of color the opportunity to hear from professionals in conservation, environmental science, and STEM who look like them; something most youth of color don’t see on a daily basis. After learning the basics about a given career field from GYF, students get to dive deeper by listening to speakers discuss what it’s like in that occupation. In the past, a marine biologist, who happens to be a woman of color, introduced the students to the world of studying the oceans, discussing her work with sea turtles and the human impact on them.


Lastly, field trips play a significant role in this program. During these trips, youth build on the foundation of knowledge learned in the classroom and connect it to being outdoors.

“Our whole focus is really making it fun, interactive, and culturally relevant,” said Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and Founder of GYF. “The demographic we work with is ethnically diverse. We make sure from the music to the activities that it’s all relevant for the young people so that they can relate to it and the images they see are at the forefront of our minds.”



Grounded in public-private partnerships, the program formed on the realization there weren’t many programs for youth of color that address environmental education. In the beginning GYF, did after school programs and festivals to promote environmental awareness and increase literacy among young people about the environment and wellness.

Although GYF has experienced many successes, the program has endured some roadblocks along the way. A big challenge is simply getting children – especially teenagers – outside. They are working on finding a book, or even writing a book, that discusses how to engage children outdoors when there are so many competing factors, like technological devices. GYF wants youth to be in the moment and enjoy the outdoors.

Another challenge is funding. In some ways, this challenge has been addressed through public-private partnerships. For example, Spelman College supports GYF by having college students participate in the program. Managed by Gabriella Logan, GYF’s Public School Initiative Program Manager, and Jared Hopkins, PSI Assistant Manager, Spelman students are trained and certified to teach GYF’s curriculum. The college students in this program – who are called C.H.I.P.S., Collegiate and High School Internship Program – work in schools, recreation centers, and boys & girls club.

“Funding has been very challenging. Getting grants and so forth,” said Ezeilo. “Environmental programming grants are really hard to come by.”

The overarching challenge the program faces is that most environmental education materials are not tailored to youth of color. It is up to GYF to create or customize relevant materials for the audience they serve. This involves developing materials and activities that include language, music, and games that students will relate to. In order to provide trainings that “stick,” it is essential to create a culturally competent way of reaching youth in the outdoors. This is a fete GYF intends to overcome with a book.

Although funding proves to be a challenge, Greening Youth has successfully exposed youth of color to the outdoors. Logan states, “The young people that we work with are not necessarily allowed the opportunity to go outside just to get fresh air during the school day. We find when we come and do programming with the students, we’re exposing them to the outdoors in a different context then they might be used to. We try to engage them in nature and looking at the animals and how all of that ties together. Not necessarily just going outside to play.”

GYF explains that the CLEAN curriculum and Green Speaker series is important because it enables younger kids to envision themselves in conservation or environmental science careers long before these topics are brought up in high school. In fact, science isn’t normally taught in the classroom until third grade.



Through their programming, Greening Youth is committed to exposing youth to these different careers and being outdoors. Their programming positively affects students in that, by the time they are older, students already have a sense of what environmental science is and how it effects everyone, especially the black community.

Logan explains, “Starting at a young age helps to cultivate knowledge of the community’s environment they live in so they will be able to a make a positive change in the future.” Many program participants have indicated their interest in conservation or environmental science occupations in the future. Ezeilo attributes this factor to the “lightbulb going off”.

The relationship GYF has built with children over the years has created a yearning among them to learn more about the outside and their community. For older youth, GYF offers its Conservation Corps and internship programs for college students that give teens and young adults of color the opportunity to actually serve on public lands and gain hands-on job experience in conservation.

“You have to see it, to be it” - Ezeilo’s favorite quote by Sally Ride serves as the premise of her program. Youth in urban communities need to see examples of people in conservation careers that look like them. Participants in the Green Speaker Series serve as models and possibility of what the future could be. Within this program, youth are excited and understand the importance of environmental science and conservation through hands on experience.

 

Photos of the Month - April 2017

Keep updating those Facebook photos! We'll collect some of our favorite photos posted on Corps social pages within the past month and post them on this blog. Here are some of our favorites from April 2017.



American Conservation Experience




Arizona Conservation Corps



Canyon Country Youth Corps/Four Corners School of Outdoor Education




Great Basin Institute




Green Mountain Club




Kupu


Limitless Vistas, Inc.



Rocky Mountain Conservancy




Rocky Mountain Youth Corps - NM




SCA

 

NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Mile High Youth Corps



Name of Corps 

Mile High Youth Corps – Southern Front Range

 

Location of project
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

 

When did the project take place? 
September 2015 – July 2016 (6 weeks total)

 

Describe the project. What did the crew do? 
For the 2015-2016 Interdisciplinary Conservation Corps Project, the Mile High Youth Corps provided invasive species control and restoration of native vegetation in disturbed areas around the visitor center, trails, and road corridors for a total of six weeks. Crews also worked on projects including trail maintenance, boundary fence repairs and hazard fuel reduction clean-up.

 

How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
Invasive species control and restoration of native vegetation performed by the crew ensured that park visitors can continue to enjoy natural landscapes and ecosystems within boundaries of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Trail maintenance, boundary fencing repair and fuel mitigation work accomplished by the crew further restored the health of the park for future generations.

 



What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project? 

The project included crew mentoring, career exploration in the outdoors, environmental education and recreational activities including Leave No Trace camping ethics. The crew learned technical skills such as fence repair, noxious weed removal, and trail maintenance techniques.

 

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
"We love working with Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Michelle and her staff is amazing. They go out of their way to provide a meaningful experience for our Corpsmembers." - Diane Delano, Project Coordinator, MHYC-SFR

 

Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
"We really appreciated their hard work...many bags of trash were filled with exotic plants that were hand pulled by the crew." - Seasonal Park Technician

"Thank you so much for all of the help, Mile High. We look forward to working with you guys again soon." - Rachel Sizemore, Biological Technician

 

Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

“It was a great experience, a beautiful site, and I learned many things during my time at Florissant Fossil beds, such as the Native American history in the area, which was very fascinating to me.” - Ronald Sotelo, Land Conservation Leader, MHYC- SFR

 

 

 

 

 

 

NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Utah Conservation Corps



Name of Corps

Utah Conservation Corps

 

Location of project
Zion National Park

 

When did the project take place?
July 2016-October 2016

 

Describe the project. What did the crew do?
Fourteen UCC AmeriCorps members (8 males, 6 females) completed 520 hours to complete 42 acres of exotic plant control and spraying herbicide along 11.25 miles of waterway at Zion National Park. Tasks included spraying herbicide on exotics, scattering native seeds, cleaning native seeds, and planting native grasses.

 

How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
This was the fifteenth year the Utah Conservation Corps has sent crews to Zion National Park to assist NPS staff with exotic plant management control.  This partnership has added capacity to the Park’s exotic plant management by bolstering seasonal & permanent NPS staff with energetic UCC crews. Multiple UCC alumni have acquired substantial skills with Zion National Park and have gone on to gain employment with Zion National Park or other NPS units based on this exotic plant management project experience. 

 



What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project? 

Corpsmembers learned about exotic plant species control in Zion National Park and the history and science behind this effort. In preparation for this project, all corpsmembers became State of Utah herbicide applicator certified as well as S-212 chainsaw-equivalent certified. 

 


Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
We’re proud to have partnered with Zion National Park for the past fifteen years. During this time we’ve had multiple UCC alumni complete their service experience and go on to serve as staff at Zion National Park.”- Sean Damitz, Director, Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning

 

Quote from NPS staff about the project/about partnership with Corps
This crew was enthusiastic, easy to work with, took direction very well and worked hard to follow our planting protocols despite the challenge of planting in compacted soils, and swinging pick s all day.”- Kathleen Dilley, Native Plant Nursery Manager

 

Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

We all enjoy the NPS's humor and enjoy working with them.”- Sierra Griffith, UCC Crew Leader

 

NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps CO



Name of Corps

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (CO)

 

Location of project
Grand Teton National Park, White Grass Dude Ranch

 

When did the project take place?
August 21 – September 3, 2016

 

Describe the project. What did the crew do?
Five Rocky Mountain Youth Corps historic preservation crew members contributed 400 person-hours over two weeks working on the White Grass Dude Ranch preservation project in Grand Teton National Park.  During this time, the crew completed roof repair on one of the residential ranch cabins, fulfilling park staff project partners' goals with efficiency.  Project accomplishments included adding sleepers, trimming old roof material, installing insulation and ice & water shield, installing rolled roofing, removing old floor joists and installing new wall studs. The crew exceeded project partners' expectations and enjoyed learning new skills.  Near the completion of the project, crew members participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate progress in preserving this treasured site.

 

How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address? What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?
This HOPE Crew contributed to the rehabilitation of a cabin at the White Grass Dude Ranch while also learning invaluable preservation skills from staff of the Western Center for Historic Preservation.  White Grass is a significant historic resource within Grand Teton National Park -  the project enhanced the understanding and appreciation of our nation’s history, its historic resources, and the field of preservation. The rehabilitation of White Grass Dude Ranch will eventually result in a training facility and cultural resource center for seasonal research. This project contributes to accomplishing this goal which will ultimately benefit the public by increasing appreciation and participation in cultural resource management and historic preservation.

 

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Grand Teton National Park projects have become a ‘badge of honor’ for RMYC Crew Members.  The sheer beauty of the park, combined with the incredibly well-balanced leadership and mentoring of park staff on high-impact projects, makes Grand Teton one of our most treasured project locations.  The future of the White Grass Dude Ranch looks bright, and it is an honor to have crews working on preserving its structures. (Laraine Martin, Project Manager)

 

 

 

NPS Week 2017 - A Project with Green City Force



Name of Corps

Green City Force

 

Location of project
Sagamore Hill, Long Island, NY

 

When did the project take place?
September 2016 (Sept. 12-23, 2016)

 

Describe the project. What did the crew do?
A crew of Green City Force Urban Farm Corps Members assisted National Parks Service staff in restoring "The Summer White House" located at Sagamore Hill, in Long Island, New York. The project was executed in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's H.O.P.E. Crew (Hands On Preservation Experience). The project included educating members about the importance of conservation, correct restoration techniques and learning about Theodore Roosevelt.

 

How did this project partnership help the park? What issues did this project address?
Green City Force AmeriCorps Members helped preserve the historic home of 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt that dates to the 1880s. Fresh paint was added to four buildings including the windmill pump house, the chicken coop, and the farming and garden sheds. We worked with Rangers Paul and Bob on restoring three structures, a garden shed, hen house and barn that was later used as a garage. We learned about preservation and the importance of preserving our history for the future, worked on painting the three structures and also built up our team bonding.

 




What skills did Corpsmembers use/learn on this project?

The Corps Members gained skills in historic preservation and building maintenance. Corps Members also learned about the rich history of president Theodore Roosevelt and his family.

 

Quote from Corps staff about the project/about the partnership with NPS
Green City Force Team Leader Andrew Lewis Quote about Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew Service.

Week 1 of the Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew project has wrapped up. The time spent thus far has simply been amazing with a mixture of service and learning the history behind Theodore Roosevelt. The team painted 3 building so far, a garden shed which still had Roosevelt's original tools stored inside (scythe, shovels, pitch fork, and a hay cutter), his chicken coop, and slaughter house.

Along with restoring the buildings we also visited a museum which was broken into three parts, before Roosevelt’s presidential term, during, and after. There were so many artifacts, everything from his weapon collection to his famous top hat, family memorabilia, and the many gifts he received in his lifetime. The most remarkable of which would be his family home which is still the same way it was over 100 years ago. The 3 floor home was filled with many hunting trophies (he was really into learning about animals), paintings, a vast library of books, 7 ft. Elephant tusks that were gifted to him by the emperor of Ethiopia. It was simply amazing, walking through actual history was a wonderful experience. Week 1 was great and we are looking forward to the 2nd.”
 

Quote from Corpsmember
(what did you learn…what did it mean to serve at a National Park…etc.)

Green City Force Urban Farm Corps AmeriCorps Member Paul Philpott Quote about Sagamore Hill HOPE Crew Service.

"Located on Sagamore Hill was the home of president Theodore Roosevelt which was also known as the Summer White House. Alongside 3 AmeriCorps Members and Team Leader Andrew we were the H.O.P.E crew (Hands-On Preservation Experience). We worked with Rangers Paul and Bob on restoring three structures, a garden shed, hen house and barn that was later used as a garage. We learned about preservation and the importance of preserving our history for the future, worked on painting the three structures and also built up our team bonding. We walked the nature trail that wraps around most of his 88 acre property, and the museum where we saw highlights of his life before, during, and after his presidency. And of course his house itself where we were able to find out some more fun facts about president Roosevelt, like he would drink about a gallon of coffee a day, his house was like a zoo with all the random animals, and was a working farm. We also learned how big he was into family fun and hard work. We also had the pleasure of sitting in on a naturalization ceremony and watch new citizens become Americans. We had a site visit from The Corp Network and from HOPE Crew to come and see the progress that we have made and things we have learned on this amazing experience. The last day a few of us got to meet some wonderful representatives from Fire Island and got to talk about some restoration projects they have. And as a final note on the last day Andrew, Chris, and myself became junior Rangers."

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