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Member Stories

Conserving Through Generations: A Home Away From Home

The original Civilian Conservation Corps represented more than just a job or a way to gain skills for future employment. For most enrollees, my grandfather included, it was a home away from home, a mini sub-culture of 18-25 year old boys who became co-workers, comrades, and family. The camps the enrollees lived in were similar to modern day military bases. Pictured here is a schematic of camp labeling all the buildings which used to stand there. Everything enrollees could want or need was offered in camp. They ate together, slept in the same barracks, and learned together in the schoolhouse. If they were sick they saw the camp doctor, if they needed cigarettes or snacks outside of meal times they were bought at the Camp Canteen. Read More

Summer Youth Corps Crew Training Begins

The Summer Youth Corps is made up of 137 youth, 26 AmeriCorps crew leaders, two swampers, two cooks and five head staff members. 30 percent of the Summer Youth Corps youth crew members and crew leaders are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Summer Youth Corps travels to various locations across Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota to manage natural resources and learn about ecology, Minnesota’s history and American Sign Language. Summer Youth Corps youth crew members come from diverse geographic locations, and this diversity of the program is what makes the summer unforgettable. Crew members also walk away with one of the greatest experiences of their lives. Read More

The Star

This week will be my last week of having a Youth Outdoors crew for the spring. It has prompted a lot of reflection for me as well as my crew. For me it feels odd to be finishing up so soon. It seems like just yesterday was our first day when we were all anxiously awaiting a new group, a new schedule and a lot of unknowns. Read More

Easter Eggs

Our North Minneapolis crew generally begins our non-youth workdays with a “good morning!” phone call to our project hosts at the Park Board, followed by a short meeting at the day’s project site. The sites are diverse, however, and there are times (many times) when I have thought to myself, “Where could they be taking us now?” In order to shape urban high-schoolers into proactive environmentalists, we first must educate ourselves, the leaders, and practice what we preach. Consequently, the adult workdays are a collaboration between Conservation Corps and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board on restoration projects (mostly invasive species removal) throughout the city. Read More

River Responsibilities

The Water Trails crew, the crew I serve on, has begun our river work over the last month bringing us to places such as Cambridge to work on the Rum River, Sauk Rapids to work on the Sauk River, to Duluth to undergo our whitewater training on the St. Louis River. I'm especially proud to work on the Water Trails crew because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Water Trails. Four rivers, the Minnesota, the St. Croix, the Big Fork and the Little Fork were originally designated as Water Trails in 1963 and over the last fifty years that list has grown to 33 rivers. To celebrate the anniversary, the DNR partnered with Wilderness Inquiry and CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) to host a celebration on the Minnesota River in Granite Falls. Wilderness Inquiry provided large cedar-strip canoes for festival-goers to paddle down about three miles of the river. Every few hundred yards, community members in period garments staged scenes from the river's history on shore while the audience watched from their canoes on the river. Read More

All Corps Day: Schoolyard gardening

May 6th marked Conservation Corps Minnesota’s second All Corps Day community service project. While the previous All Corps Day addressed issues of homelessness and housing, this warm spring afternoon made for an opportunity for corps members of different programs to meet and learn about environmental education, more specifically, local schoolyard gardening. Together members visited Rivers Edge Academy, a local charter school with an alternative, environmentally driven curriculum. Afterwards, corps members heard about the work of Eco Education, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing public outdoor education by teaming up with local schools. The group ended the day at Brooklyn Center High School constructing what will soon be a schoolyard garden. Read More