In partnership with the Superior National Forest, the Conservation Corps is being recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the Abraham Lincoln Honor Award in the category of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach for our work with the Faces of Tomorrow program. The initiative, which we started in 2015, prepares diverse young adults for natural resource careers where women and people of color are underrepresented. In 2015, 12 corpsmembers participated in the program. An additional 12 participated this year and planning is underway for 2017 and beyond. Here are some unique elements of the program:
- We broadened our recruitment efforts and made it easier for all to participate by providing members with housing, food and transportation.
- Members were trained by Forest Service staff in wildland firefighting, botany, improving recreational access, and fisheries, and managing wildlife and timber.
- Members earned certificates in boat and ATV operation, Red Cross CPR and first-aid, and wildfire suppression.
- A Forest Service recruitment specialist showed members how to apply and interview for federal jobs. Many have been successful in gaining federal employment after their term.
The Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards are the most prestigious departmental awards presented by the Secretary of Agriculture. Employees at all grade levels and private citizens are eligible for recognition. This year’s theme is “Strong Service and Superior Results.” As established in 2014, one Honor Award nomination (either individual or group) will be selected as the contribution that most closely embodies this year’s theme and will receive special recognition at the ceremony. Eric Antonson, Senior Director of Programs for the Conservation Corps attended the ceremony in Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 13 to receive the award along with our partners from the Superior National Forest.