- November 22, 2013
- Posted by Kyle R. Martens
Forest Service, Northern Region, Deputy Regional Forester, Tom Schmidt, joined the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC) in Boulder Hot Springs last week, to celebrate the end of an AmeriCorps term for 50 MCC crew leaders and highlight MCC as one of the first organizations nationwide selected to help implement the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).
The 21CSC is a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s natural and cultural resources. Through the 21CSC, young people and veterans will accomplish meaningful work with the Forest Service and other agencies, gaining important personal and professional skills and gain a lifelong connection to the outdoors.
The 21CSC builds on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the 1930’s program that mobilized millions of young men to accomplish conservation work, including the development of Montana’s first state park at the Lewis and Clark Caverns.
The Forest Service’s Deputy Forester, Tom Schmidt said: “Engaging young people and veterans through the 21CSC is a win-win-win for the Forest Service. It helps us complete priority backlog maintenance and conservation projects in a cost and time efficient manner; it gets youth outdoors and connected to our lands; and it prepares a new generation with practical skills to work with the Forest Service, or any other job where a robust work ethic and good people skills are needed.”
Montana Conservation Corps, President and CEO, Jono McKinney, remarked: “We are thrilled to be part of this collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Through the 21CSC, more young people can share in our responsibilities to care for our exceptional public lands and gain job skills and experience as leaders and contributing citizens.” McKinney reflects: “A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt noted that ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ The 21CSC does just this by promoting more opportunities to get youth outdoors, involved in service, and learning about leadership, teamwork and responsibility while getting important work done on our public lands.”
According to Dan Ritter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps grants, “AmeriCorps programs in Montana have a long history of supporting the state’s public lands. Programs like the MCC do much more than construct trails; they build tomorrow’s leaders and land stewards.”
Montana Conservation Corps, MCC, is a nonprofit organization that develops young people as leaders, stewards of the land, and contributing citizens by engaging them in hands-on conservation service projects to improve lands and communities. In 2013 MCC corps members built and improved 1054 miles of trails, treated more than 10,000 acres for invasive weeds, planted over 33,000 trees, improved 56 miles of fencing, and provided low cost weatherization measures in 1400 homes of low income resident to reduce energy costs.
The 21CSC is supported by the federal 21CSC National Council, which includes members from USDA, Dept. of Interior, the Corporation for National and Community Service [CNCS], the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Environmental Quality, and by the Partnership for the 21CSC, which was launched in June of 2013 as a collaborative group to support the 21CSC.
For more information about the 21CSC, link to: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/11/07/engaging-the-next-generation-with-the-help-of-our-partners-in-conservation/
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