Conservation Corps program honored with prestigious Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach

PRESS RELEASE
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

September 22, 2016
For immediate release

CONTACTS
Elise Peterson, Director of Development, Marketing & Communications, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
651.209.9900 x26
elise.peterson@conservationcorps.org


Conservation Corps program honored with prestigious Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach
Faces of Tomorrow initiative with the U.S. Forest Service aims to increase diversity in natural resources field

Saint Paul, Minn. — On September 13, 2016, a representative from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa accepted the Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. In partnership with Superior National Forest, the award recognizes the Corps for its Faces of Tomorrow initiative, a targeted approach to prepare diverse young adults for natural resource careers where women and people of color are underrepresented. The seasonal positions provide Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members direct relationships with employees of Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota, hands-on skills training and forestry experience.
Faces of Tomorrow launched in summer 2015 with 12 AmeriCorps members who received intensive training to prepare them for full-time U.S. Forest Service positions. An additional 12 AmeriCorps members participated in 2016. Members worked with Forest Service staff in wildland firefighting, botany, improving recreational access, and managing wildlife and timber. AmeriCorps members also received certifications in necessary technical skills such as boat and ATV operation, Red Cross CPR and first-aid and wildfire suppression.
A Forest Service recruitment specialist also showed members how to apply and interview for federal jobs. The seasonal initiative has already launched several AmeriCorps graduates into U.S. Forest Service positions. Erin Cole, a Faces of Tomorrow alumna and now U.S. Forest Service forestry technician in Vermont, said of her experience, “Truly, without the hiring authority and skills gained through my time on the Superior [National Forest], I don't think any federal employer would have considered me.” Alumnus Richard Rosario, a wildland firefighter with Superior National Forest, echoed the same sentiment, saying “I probably wouldn’t be here without the Faces of Tomorrow program.”
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) is selected as the contribution that most closely embodies the year’s theme.

Faces of Tomorrow also received an Honor Award in 2015 from the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service and was awarded Project of the Year by the Corps Network in February 2016.

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About Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for youth and young adults. They accomplish conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. conservationcorps.org

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 men and women in intensive service each year through more than 15,000 nonprofits, schools, public agencies and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since 1994, AmeriCorps has provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, terror attacks and other natural and man-made disasters, and is a vital resource in America’s emergency management infrastructure.

 

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa receives accreditation for excellence in operations from national accrediting body

Corps Center of Excellence grants Accreditation to Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa following a rigorous review.

Saint Paul, Minn. — Following an in-depth evaluation of internal operations, financial management practices, risk management practices, governance standards and youth programming operations, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa received accreditation from the Corps Center of Excellence, the national accrediting body for Service and Conservation Corps.

Conservation Corps program honored with Cultural Transformation Award

Faces of Tomorrow initiative with the U.S. Forest Service aims to increase diversity in natural resources field

Saint Paul, Minn. — On Thursday morning, a representative from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa will accept a Chief’s Honor Award for Cultural Transformation from the U.S. Forest Service, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes the Corps for its Faces of Tomorrow initiative, a targeted approach to help underrepresented communities gain skills and experience in the natural resources field. The seasonal positions provide Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members direct relationships with employees of Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota, hands-on skills training and forestry experience.

Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members deploy for disaster relief in Saipan

Four-person crew will manage volunteers in wake of damage from Typhoon Soudelor

Saint Paul, Minn. — Early this morning, a crew of AmeriCorps young adults from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa boarded a plane for Saipan, where Typhoon Soudelor made landfall on August 2 before heading to Taiwan, China and Japan’s Ryukuy Islands. The typhoon left at least 38 dead and many more injured, and displaced thousands. There is still no power on the island and running water has been restored to only some areas. Saipan is one of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. commonwealth in the Western Pacific.

CCC alumni to join celebration on September 14

Conservation Corps to celebrate 80th birthday of CCC

St. Paul, Minn. — Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa will celebrate the 80th birthday of the Civilian Conservation Corps on Saturday, September 14 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds DNR Park, from 4 to 10 p.m.

An expected 500 guests, including members of the original CCC, will enjoy Twin Cities-based bluegrass music by Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings, San Souci and The Farmhouse Band, food trucks, beer, a silent auction, Hammerschlagen and games for all ages. During the event, Corps alumni and stakeholders from the 1930s through today will have an opportunity to gather and reconnect.

Conservation Corps crew helps restore operations at Blue Mounds State Park

Winter storms disabled park and many cities in southwest Minnesota

April 23, 2013. Saint Paul, Minn. – Blue Mounds State Park staff called upon Conservation Corps Minnesota to help restore operations at the park after devastating winter storms earlier this month took down many trees and branches in the campground, located in Luverne, Minn. Gov. Dayton declared a state of emergency in the southwest Minnesota region, after sending in the National Guard to assist with recovery.

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa honored by Missouri Legislature for Joplin tornado response

St. Paul, Minn. – On January 31, the Missouri House of Representatives will pass a resolution recognizing the service of Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa and others for their indispensible recovery efforts following the devastating tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011. AmeriCorps members will also be recognized on the floor.

Conservation Corps Iowa crews deployed for Joplin tornado recovery

Ames, Iowa – Conservation Corps Iowa has deployed 10 corps members and a team leader to Joplin, Mo. for 30 days, to assist with search and rescue, debris clean-up, donations and volunteer management, following the devastating tornado that ripped through the town on May 22. Field Specialist Matt McKenney is leading the team, which is working alongside other AmeriCorps teams, including National Civilian Community Corps, AmeriCorps St. Louis, Washington Conservation Corps and Hoopa Tribal Civilian Community Corp.

Andersen employee assists with volunteer cleanup at Afton State Park

Volunteers and Conservation Corps Minnesota youth program members cleaned up a section of the scenic St. Croix River near Afton State Park’s beach and fishing pier on July 24. They pulled plants, shrubs and small trees that had encroached on the rocky banks. In three hours, their work was complete, opening a clear vista of the river for park visitors. The beautification project was made possible by the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, which also supports youth participants from the St. Croix Valley.

Volunteer with the Summer Youth Corps

Conservation Corps Minnesota is seeking volunteers to help youth crews wrap trees to protect them from deer, remove buckthorn and help restore Afton State Park’s native prairie, oak savanna and bluffs that overlook the scenic St. Croix River. Participants will learn about the park’s history and how invasive species and other predators have affected natural habitats.

Conservation Corps helps Saint Paul homeowners save energy and money

Minnesota Conservation Corps has partnered with Neighborhood Energy Connection in Saint Paul to launch a home-energy conservation program. The four-member Home Energy Squad is installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, exterior-door weather stripping, programmable thermostats, efficient showerheads, water-heater insulation blankets and faucet aerators.