Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
September 22, 2016
For immediate release
Elise Peterson, Director of Development, Marketing & Communications, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
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.
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.