When President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in 2010, one of the top priorities included connecting our youth and veterans to our nation’s cultural and natural resources. President Obama wanted to foster a new generation of stewards to carry on our nation’s proud conservation legacy.
In that spirit, a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) was announced as a collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Through the 21CSC, young people and veterans will accomplish meaningful work, and gain important personal and professional skills while building a lifelong connection to the outdoors.
Today, we are announcing another step forward in our work to turn that vision into a reality.
An initial group of 91 organizations have been approved as member organizations to help the Obama Administration implement the 21CSC. From the Anchorage Park Foundation in Alaska, to the City of Chattanooga in Tennessee, to the Youth Conservation Corps of Vermont, the initial 91 organizations will serve as models of the values that 21CSC represents.
These organizations will be important partners in standing up the 21CSC and in providing young people and veterans opportunities through supervised crews or small teams to make a difference for our nation’s natural, cultural or historic resources.
In the coming months, the 21CSC National Council, made up of eight federal departments and agencies including the Departments of Agriculture and Interior, will focus on recruiting additional member organizations. We will be targeting new programs in urban areas and investing in training and career pathways for a diverse group of participants in order to uphold the core principle of 21CSC of expanding opportunities for all youth and veterans.
Building upon the historic achievements of programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, we know that partners will be essential to the success of 21CSC. We look forward to working with the organizations announced today, as well as with other federal, state and non-profit programs as we work to facilitate meaningful conservation service work on our nation’s public lands. We encourage all organizations interested in participating in the 21CSC to submit a letter of interest: visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-01/html/2013-15644.htm to learn more.
See below for a full list of the 91 member organizations, and visit the partner-hosted 21CSC website for updates.
Robert Bonnie is Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the US Department of Agriculture; Rhea Suh is Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior
The initial group of 91 21CSC member organizations includes:
- Anchorage Park Foundation
- American Conservation Experience
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- California Conservation Corps
- Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council
- Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council Region 11
- Chesapeake Conservation Corps
- Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia
- City of Chattanooga
- Civic Assets
- Civicorps Corpsmember Academy
- Coconino Rural Environment Corps
- Conservation Corps of Long Beach
- Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
- Conservation Corps North Bay
- Coos Watershed Association
- Environmental Learning for Kids
- Environmental Stewards
- Forest Guild
- Geological Society of America
- Great Basin Institute
- Greening Youth Foundation
- Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek
- Groundwork Denver
- Groundwork Lawrence
- Groundwork Milwaukee
- Groundwork Somerville
- Groundwork USA
- Heart of Oregon Corps
- Kupu/Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps
- Lane-Metro Youth Corps (LMYC)
- Larimer County Conservation Corps
- Limitless Vistas, Inc.
- Lomakatsi Restoration Project
- Los Angeles Conservation Corps
- Louisiana Green Corps
- Maine Conservation Corps
- McKenzie River Ranger District
- Mile High Youth Corps
- Missouri State Parks Youth Corps
- Mobile Works, Inc.
- Montana Conservation Corps
- Montana State Parks AmeriCorps
- Mt. Adams Institute
- National Association of State Park Directors
- National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (GLISTEN)
- National Wildlife Federation (Southeast Office) Atlanta Earth Tomorrow
- North Fork John Day Watershed Council
- Northwest Youth Corps
- Operation Fresh Start, Inc.
- Orange County Conservation Corps
- Oxnard City Corps
- Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (Colorado)
- Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (New Mexico)
- Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps
- San Francisco Conservation Corps
- San Gabriel Valley Conservation & Service Corps
- Santa Fe YouthWorks
- SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps
- Sequoia Community Corps
- SER-Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast Inc.
- Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps
- Southeast Alaska Guidance Association
- Southeast Youth Corps
- Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
- Southwest Conservation Corps
- Student Conservation Association
- Sumter County Youthbuild Program
- Texas Conservation Corps
- The Greening of Detroit
- The WorkPlace
- Tillamook School District No.9
- Tree Trust
- Urban Conservation Corps of the Inland Empire
- Urban Corps of San Diego County
- Utah Conservation Corps
- Vermilion Community College
- Vermont Youth Conservation Corps
- Virginia's Office on Volunteer and Community Services, and the Virginia Commission
- Washington Conservation Corps
- Weld County Youth Conservation Corps
- Western Colorado Conservation Corps
- Wilderness International Youth Conservation Corps
- WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc.
Write a Response
I wholly applaud these efforts to connect with our Nation's youth and veterans, although more diversity is needed across the board. Outreach is vital, to catch people when they are formulating their future plans, educational needs and career paths. Science in natural resource conversation is very interesting, as I'm experiencing in my college classes, and although I have yet to tackle my two algebra's, statistics, and chemistry classes, I'm encouraged to keep going by my classroom associations and related learning opportunities. Everyone from our President down to we common people need to identify people who may be looking for great careers in natural settings and guide them to educational opportunities, especially because we need them so badly, yet this concern is not really being relayed to the American People. Young people may be attracted to ARCGis and Autocad, etc., office work but we need people actually on the ground, out in the field, taking measurements, getting real-time data, updating data to be analyzed and evaluated for climate changes, GGHs, loss of habitats, etc. Perhaps I ramble here but I see the need and an opportunity for our Federal, State, and County governments to join in this concern, provide grants, provide the need to high school and college counselors, and continue volunteers for the BLM, BOR, USFWS, EPA, BIA, any place where technicians do ground work and can use temporary assistance. Of course there will be restrictions, some legal and some physical, but we need to engage and recruit for entry-level jobs, like the Conservation Corps in the '30s. Keep up the good work and get the word out!