Conservation Corps program honored with Cultural Transformation Award

PRESS RELEASE
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
December 3, 2015
For immediate release

CONTACTS
Tim Johnson-Grass, program director/young adult field crew programs, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
651.209.9900 x18

Connie Lanphear, communications specialist, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa651.209.9900 x26
connie@conservationcorps.org

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.

After a pilot initiative the previous summer, 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. Members worked with Forest Service staff in wildland firefighting, timber management, recreation, facilities management, botany, fisheries management and wildlife. AmeriCorps members also received certifications in necessary technical skills such as boat and ATV operation, Red Cross CPR and first-aid and wildfire suppression. Corps staff instructed members in resume writing and how to apply and interview for jobs, including a training with a Forest Service Recruitment Specialist on how to apply in USA Jobs.

By increasing racial and gender diversity, the future natural resources workforce will more appropriately match and relate to the increasingly diverse communities who use our resources.

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.”

Not only is Superior National Forest and Conservation Corps Minnesota training and engaging under-represented populations in the natural resource field, but they are restoring Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota. Throughout the 2015 summer term, AmeriCorps members helped restore the forest by removing seven acres of invasive vegetation and 100 hazard trees, conducted four wildlife surveys, improved 15 acres of timber stands, inventoried 10 forest plots and maintained over three miles of trail.

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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.