Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crew Deploys to Puerto Rico

Contacts:

NoState_logo_small.jpg

Melissa Cuff
Conservation Corps
651/209-9900, ext. 26
melissa.cuff@conservationcorps.org

Mark Wilson
Conservation Corps
515-412-7130
mark.wilson@conservationcorps.org

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crew Deploys to Puerto Rico

SAINT PAUL, Minn., October 13, 2017 – After two disaster relief deployments this fall (49 AmeriCorps members to Texas and 19 to Florida), Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) deployed a new crew today to San Juan, Puerto Rico on an early morning flight from MPS Airport. This new deployment of seven AmeriCorps members and one staff will assist survivors of Hurricane Maria by direct services such as debris removal and roof tarping. CCMI members signed up for this opportunity inspired by critical needs of the survivors.

“I hope to make an impact by helping people get back on their feet again,” said crew member, Erin Bjork. “I’m looking forward to using my Spanish skills, while also putting my training into action.” Erin currently lives in Minneapolis and plans to start her second year of AmeriCorps service in 2018. She joined Conservation Corps to use her biology degree and gain experience working with state agencies, such as the Department of Natural Resources.

“Conservation Corps’ presence in Puerto Rico is an important way to show that we care about our fellow citizens,” said crew member Santiago Palaez. “Spanish is my first language after growing up in Colombia and I hope to use this and other skills to make a difference for the people of Puerto Rico.” Santiago lives in Duluth, MN fulfilling service year through a media/communications placement with the University of Minnesota Extension.

The crew headed to Puerto Rico today will join more than 100 AmeriCorps members active in response to Hurricane Maria in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As part of the federal government’s ongoing recovery efforts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency responsible for service and volunteering that administers AmeriCorps, has committed more than 2,200 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Since August, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps teams have been dispatched to Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including Hurricane Sandy; the 2013 floods in Colorado; and tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla.

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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 perform conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. www.conservationcorps.org  

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service. Each year, more than 80,000 men and women serve at more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and faith-based groups, joining the more than 1 million Americans who’ve taken the pledge to ‘get things done’ since the program’s inception in 1994. www.nationalservice.gov

Conservation Corps members deploying to Puerto Rico on Friday, October 13, 2017. Pictured: AmeriCorps members -- Christopher Conrad of Shoreview, MN, Erin Bjork of Minneapolis, MN, Landon Acre-Kendall or Saint Paul, MN, Megan Lynch or Saint Paul, MN, Morgan Kramschoster of New Hope, MN, Santiago Pelaez of Duluth, MN, and Danielle Yaste of Sandstone, MN. Staff member – Jonathan Goldberg.

Conservation Corps members deploying to Puerto Rico on Friday, October 13, 2017. Pictured: AmeriCorps members -- Christopher Conrad of Shoreview, MN, Erin Bjork of Minneapolis, MN, Landon Acre-Kendall or Saint Paul, MN, Megan Lynch or Saint Paul, MN, Morgan Kramschoster of New Hope, MN, Santiago Pelaez of Duluth, MN, and Danielle Yaste of Sandstone, MN. Staff member – Jonathan Goldberg.

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crews in Texas and Florida; helping homeowners impacted by hurricanes

PRESS RELEASE
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

September 20, 2017
For immediate release

Contacts:
Melissa Cuff
Conservation Corps
651/209-9900, ext. 26
melissa.cuff@conservationcorps.org

Mark Wilson
Conservation Corps
515-412-7130

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crews in Texas and Florida; helping homeowners impacted by hurricanes

St. Paul, Minn., September 20, 2017 – Just two weeks after Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) deployed 49 Corps members and three staff to Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey, a new team of Corps volunteers departed for a 30-day deployment in Florida. Nineteen AmeriCorps members and two staff are headed to Tallahassee to assist survivors of Hurricane Irma.

Back in Texas, CCMI members have already been inspired by this community of survivors.

“On the first day, during wellness and safety assessments, one gentleman had a simple request: to get his jet skis on his trailer,” said crew leader, Clare. “He went on to explain that as the streets became rivers during the floods, he and his wife used their two jet skis to rescue over 100 people. Given everything he had done, the crew thought moving his jet skis was the least they could do.”

Earlier this month, teams assessed 179 homes for wellness and safety of residents, focusing on homes that include those with elderly, disabled or uninsured individuals. Of those, 34 were added to the schedule for mucking and gutting work as well as hazard tree removal. Crews worked on multiple homes in a day and completed their first home repair on Wednesday.

Other teams of Corps members assisted at the Houston Food Bank, sorting and distributing 906,500 pounds of food as part of Houston’s largest food donation effort to date. The full donation included 1,038,697 pounds of supplies. Crews created care packages that included food, hygiene products, school supplies, coloring books, diapers, infant formula and cleaning supplies.

The community is doing what it can to make our crews feel welcome. Employees of a local Walmart even cleared out their store, including the aisles, to make room for 1,400 volunteer cots.

This CCMI deployment is made possible through collaboration between Conservation Corps, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Disaster Services Unit, FEMA and the State of Texas. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is among eight Corps throughout the country that specializes and trains members in disaster response. The Corps has a collaborative agreement with the Disaster Services Unit, allowing for the assignment of AmeriCorps members to disaster response.

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. Through all its programs and initiatives, CNCS helps communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters. In times of disaster, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including Hurricane Katrina; last year’s Louisiana flooding; Hurricane Sandy; tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla.; the explosion in West, Texas and the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.

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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 perform conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. www.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 responds to Hurricane Harvey

PRESS RELEASE
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

September 5, 2017
For immediate release

Contacts:
Melissa Cuff
Conservation Corps
651/209-9900, ext. 26
melissa.cuff@conservationcorps.org

Mark Wilson
Conservation Corps
515-412-7130
mark.wilson@conservationcorps.org

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa responds to Hurricane Harvey

St. Paul, Minn., September 5, 2017 - Across the country, AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams have deployed or are on standby provide assistance to the Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 49 members and staff from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa will join that team. 

AmeriCorps members from all five Minnesota districts and our Youth Outdoors program will spend the next 90 days coordinating volunteers, managing donations, sandbagging, removing debris and assisting with home repairs. Beyond this period, additional member deployment will occur as needed. 

“Disaster response deployments are not easy projects, physically or mentally,” says Iowa District Manager, Mark Wilson. “Not only have our members selflessly volunteered to assist hundreds or thousands of flood survivors, but they also have signed up for a truly life-changing and unique experience themselves. I am continually awed by their commitment to serving our nation and their impact on the lives of complete strangers whosehomes and families have been devastated by these disasters.” 

Elizabeth Gapp is one of the 49 AmeriCorps members traveling to Texas from Minnesota & Iowa. Inspired by the opportunity to serve others, she shared, “I signed-up for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something bigger than me and help others. I’m young, able and ready to put my disaster response training into action.” Elizabeth grew up in Minnesota and joined Conservation Corps to gain natural resources skills and serve her community. 

Deployment is made possible through collaboration between Conservation Corps, the Corporation for National and Community Service Disaster Services Unit, FEMA and the State of Texas. Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is among eight Corps throughout the country that specializes and trains members in disaster response. The Corps has a collaborative agreement with the Disaster Services Unit, allowing for the assignment of AmeriCorps members to disaster response. 

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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 perform conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. www.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 partners with Minnesota Department of Agriculture to create two new positions

PRESS RELEASE
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

June 26, 2017
For immediate release

CONTACT
Brian Hubbard
651.274.8059
Brian.hubbard@conservationcorps.org

Conservation Corps partners with Minnesota Department of Agriculture to create two new positions

Saint Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently welcomed two Conservation Corps members for a new seven-month apprenticeship position. Jessica Christianson and Elizabeth Bailey will serve as Agriculture and Water Outreach Corpsmembers in Perham and Rochester, respectively. They will work alongside natural resource professionals with MDA supporting the work of the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). Christianson and Bailey will learn hands-on skills in managing soil and water resources while providing assistance to the MAWQCP certification process.

Christianson and Bailey were hired through the Individual Placements program, a program of Conservation Corps Minnesota that has placed over 50 AmeriCorps members throughout Minnesota and Iowa. Headquartered in Saint Paul, Conservation Corps provides meaningful work for young people in managing natural resources, responding to disasters, conserving energy and leading volunteers.

Individual placements serve as AmeriCorps members and receive a monthly living stipend as well as an education award to use towards qualifying education and student loan expenses. Educational credits may be arranged by the AmeriCorps member.

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Governor Dayton’s Budget Includes Appropriation of $385,000 to Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

Funds would create natural resources and clean water

career paths for underrepresented youth

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – January 30, 2017 – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has recommended a general fund appropriation for the 2017-2018 biennium of $385,000 to Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) to create science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career paths for the state’s underrepresented youth. The funding is intended to improve potential to succeed in STEM-related natural resources careers, leading to increased career paths for diverse communities and positively impacting Minnesota’s environment for decades to come. The appropriation would continue into the “out” biennium (2019-2020).

“This is an outstanding opportunity to help those who might not otherwise have the chance to discover the beauty of our great outdoors and pursue a satisfying career that protects and fortifies our state’s great natural resources,” said CCMI executive director Teresa Spaeth. “This would be a win for these kids and a win for the state.”

Minnesota’s natural resources professional workforce is much less diverse than its citizenry. While other sectors are seeing increases in racially and ethnically diverse employees, their participation in the natural resources workforce remains low, especially at decision-making levels. Anticipated ongoing growth in public and private sector sustainability and natural resources employment creates an opportunity for these groups, and this appropriation is intended to increase the potential that minority and underserved populations participate in natural resource and sustainability career opportunities.

“Unfortunately, many Minnesota youth, especially among underserved communities, are not aware of the promising careers in these fields and are not enrolling in college degree programs that align with open positions,” Spaeth continued. “Additionally, research shows that youth participants from underserved communities benefit from counseling and mentoring to identify a career path and get feedback on their strategies to enter and thrive in it, and I find this particularly true in fields that pertain to natural resources. This appropriation would significantly increase the likelihood that minority and underserved populations could participate and succeed in natural resources and sustainability careers.”

 

$385,000 to Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

January 30, 2017/add one

Conservations Corps has a history of benefitting its participants. Program evaluations and tracking show program alumni are better prepared to pursue a college education, followed by a career in the natural resources field. A growing number are able to earn high school or college credit as a result of their participation.

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About Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults while accomplishing conservation, natural resources management and emergency response work. More information is available at www.conservationcorps.org.

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Celebrates Swearing in of One Millionth AmeriCorps Member

Conservation Corps joins with organizations throughout the nation to celebrate the one million men and women who have joined AmeriCorps

Saint Paul, Minn. — Every day in communities across Minnesota, Conservation Corps and its AmeriCorps members are making a powerful impact on some of the most critical issues facing our state. Whether responding to disaster, restoring critical habitat, improving access to public lands, or leading teenagers in hands-on conservation projects, AmeriCorps members serving with Conservation Corps are making a difference in our state and beyond.

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.

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.