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Record temperatures and program numbers for summer Corps members

Marta Behling, Sherburne County SWCD Apprentice at Bridgeview Park Reserve, displayed a native seed island of Aster she assisted in planting after removing several acres of buckthorn from the site.During an exceptionally hot summer, more than 200 teens and young adults served in our youth programs, and almost three dozen young adults served as conservation apprentices throughout the state. Despite the heat, they successfully completed much high-quality work. Here are some highlights:

Conservation Apprenticeship Academy: For the program’s second year, we placed 35 corps members at Soil and Water Conservation Districts around the state. Apprentices did everything from tree planting to GPS/GIS mapping to calibrating manure spreaders.  Apprentice Marta Behling said, “Working with the Sherburne SWCD staff was the best technical and hands-on experience I could hope for. The knowledge and experience I have gained will greatly help my future career in conservation.”

Summer Youth Outdoors: This summer, four Youth Outdoors members led 12 youth in service-learning projects. Partnering with Audubon Center of the Northwoods, Eagle Bluff ELC and Great River Greening, we introduced urban youth to the Corps world of “spike trips,” along with education and training. “At the start I felt kind of nervous because I was not used to working with people of different cultures,” said participant Dao Yang. “But I adapted and worked with it and it was fun!”

Summer Youth Corps: 135 young people served in one of two 4-week Summer Youth Corps sessions, a significant increase from previous years when we employed about 90 youth during one 8-week session. Working out of a new base at Camp Ojiketa in Chisago City, youth spike camped most of their session with a mid-session gathering at camp. Youth left the program with goals to do more recycling, practicing Leave No Trace, working outdoors and learning American Sign Language.