10.7.13

Conservation Lands Foundation and 21CSC: Recognizing Our Shared Goals

In September, the Conservation Lands Foundation formalized a partnership with the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)—a bold and new national effort to put youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing public and tribal lands, waterways and cultural resources. We are excited to be among early partners in this effort, one that builds on the great legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and 40s.

Creating the 21CSC was the first recommendation to come out of the Obama Administration America’s Great Outdoors Initiative: to “catalyze the establishment of a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to engage young Americans in public lands and water restoration.” Members of the Administration, Department of Interior employees, past interior secretaries, tribal representatives, youth corps leaders, corporate business leaders and others from around the country are working collectively to bring 21CSC to fruition. This article explains progress made by the organizing group at a recent in-person meeting in Washington D.C.

Partnering with 21CSC is a natural fit for the Conservation Lands Foundation. Since early 2012, we have been building a partnership approach to doing restoration projects on the National Conservation Lands consisting of a) BLM staff to help identify priority projects on the National Conservation Lands, b) established veterans and conservation youth corps to do the work c) private and corporate funders to pay for veterans and youth corps labor and d) participation by Friends Grassroots Network groups to offer volunteer labor and post-project monitoring.

We kicked off this Veterans-Youth Conservation Partnership with an event in Denver last fall and more important, by completing an on-the-ground project to help restore a stretch of the Colorado River as it flows through McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. Royal Bank of Canada provided funding for this first project as part of their “Blue Water Project” corporate initiative.

With this approach, we share objectives with 21CSC and our partnership agreement recognizes our mutual aspirations to conserve, protect, and restore the National Conservation Lands in particular, while employing young Americans and veterans in the great outdoors. 21CSC strives to accomplish three goals: put Americans to work; preserve, protect, and promote America’s public lands; and develop a generation of skilled and educated workers. We’re excited to be part of it. Through its collaborations with the Conservation Lands Foundation and many other partners around the country, 21CSC will create a new bastion of active citizens, future leaders, and stewards of natural and cultural resources, communities, and the nation—something that benefits all of us.

20th century members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, circa 1936 (Wikicommons photo)

20th century members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, circa 1936 (Wikicommons photo)

21st century members of the Utah Conservation Corps, Escalante River (Photo by Barbara Balaguer)

21st century members of the Utah Conservation Corps, Escalante River (Photo by Barbara Balaguer)