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Corps Update – October 2011

Crew improves Perch Lake Park

In July and August, the Conservation Corps’ Mankato crew made major improvements to Perch Lake Park, located in northern Martin County. The crew installed new wooden fencing along the park’s roadway to replace one that was rotting. To stabilize a trails that had been eroded by rainstorms, the crew installed bars, removed dead/dying trees and buckthorn, and mulched the trail to make it easier and safer for park visitors to use.  The project was made possible by the Betty A. Lewis University Environmental Charitable Trust.
Photo, pictured from left: Shawn Nowotczynski, Frank Bade and Jared Urke. Not pictured: Tim Anderson and crew leader Zach Dieterman.

Forest History Center crew wraps up summer season

This summer’s Forest History Center crew members served as tour guides, interpreters and teachers for approximately 12,000 visitors to the center near Grand Rapids, Minn. Dani Martin (crew leader), Jon Dolittle, Micki Abrahamson and Marjie Shrimpton led tours of the logging camp, manned the fire tower, played the roles of CCC-era corps members and taught kids about forests during an Arbor Day celebration on June 11, bringing their own talents to creative activities such as watercolor painting. Crew members used a new program, “Reinventing the Field Trip,” to engage students in problem solving, critical thinking and empathizing with persons in history.
Photo: Micki Abrahamson leads young visitors in watercolor painting during the Arbor Day celebration.

Scouts and Corps team up to build North Shore trails

Conservation Corps crews from northeast Minnesota and the U.S. Forest Service partnered with the Boy Scouts of America’s adult honor society, the Order of the Arrow, on a summer-long effort to build and improve trails in the North Shore area. After a June 22-25 groundbreaking event in Grand Marais, five crews worked through late August to build biking trails at Pincushion Mountain on the Gunflint Trail and Sugarbush Trail along Lake Superior, and improve sections of the Superior Hiking Trail. Watch future Updates for a feature from our project host!
Photo: Completed section of mountain bike trail on Pincushion Mountain.

Corps assists on Pagami Creek fire

First detected August 18, the Pagami Creek fire moved across northeastern Minnesota, burning nearly 100,000 acres of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. More than 1,000 personnel responded to the fire, representing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forestry Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and wildfire Hot Shot crews from across the country. Conservation Corps crews worked two-week stints in the Incident Command Post at the Kawishiwi Ranger Station in Ely, Minn., including crews from Rochester, Bemidji and Windom. Designated “the Unsung Heroes of Camp,” the crews worked 16-hour days handling general base camp duties and distributing fire gear. Alex DeMaioribus of the Bemidji Northwoods crew says his favorite part was “talking to people from other agencies or other parts of the country and learning about the ICS system and all its workings.” 
Photo, pictured from left: Jon Johnson, Dorian Kvale, Mike Johnson, Jaret Griffiths and Alex DeMaioribus

Where are they now?

Phil Potyondy joined Conservation Corps Minnesota’s young adult field crews in 2005 and led the first canoe and boating route crew in 2006. He enjoyed the variety of work that included constructing steps and a bridge in Taylors Falls, building steps to an Afton State Park canoe site, building campsites and maintaining portages in northern Minnesota, chain-sawing under water in the Rum River and discovering a hidden access to the Lake Superior Water Trail.
Phil currently works as an urban forester/GIS analyst in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Forestry Division. In his second year of an urban forestry master’s program in at the University of Minnesota, Phil is researching the impact of urban forest canopy on winter home energy consumption in Minnesota. He is also a research assistant on the Emerald Ash Borer Rapid Response Community Preparedness Project. Aside from urban forestry he likes to bike, canoe, brew beer with his wife (and fellow Corps alumnus Abigail Liesch) and play cornet in the Brass Messengers.
Photo: Phil planting trees with students at Wenonah Elementary School in Minneapolis.

Now accepting applications

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa is now accepting applications for year-round AmeriCorps positions (ages 18 -25) including: Field Crew leaders and members, Youth Outdoors leaders and Home Energy Squad members. If you are interested in national and community service and want to gain green job skills in energy conservation or natural resource management, consider serving in the Conservation Corps. Restore habitat in your community while earning money for your education expenses. Apply online today. Priority deadline is December 2, 2011.