AmeriCorps Members in DEC
Teaching, Serving, Learning and Earning
DEC's long association with youth conservation programs began in the 1930s with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and continues today with several AmeriCorps programs. Through these partnerships, young men and women complete a wide range of conservation service projects, such as watershed protection, trail enhancement, wildlife habitat protection, and public education and outreach. Within DEC, the Bureau of Environmental Education in the Division of Operations, coordinates our partnerships with AmeriCorps programs.
Today's AmeriCorps programs receive federal grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service. At DEC, our partners' AmeriCorps members serve full time for a 10-month period starting in mid January. AmeriCorps members receive a modest stipend and health benefits. Upon successful completion of the program, all participants receive an AmeriCorps educational award, used for higher education tuition or to repay student loans.
Student Conservation Association Programs
Two programs are administered by the Student Conservation Association (SCA). The SCA Hudson Valley Conservation Corps places AmeriCorps members at DEC facilities and non-profit organizations in the Hudson River watershed area. SCA AmeriCorps members expand the public's knowledge about the river and its resources. They lead canoe trips, coordinate trail work, develop programs for children and the general public, and participate in special events, such as Earth Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps members get together as a team each month to implement service projects or to receive in-service training. This program is jointly sponsored by DEC and environmental organizations in the Hudson Valley.
The SCA New York Adirondacks AmeriCorps is a residential program based at the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area on Little Tupper Lake. From May to October, 20 young adults improve and restore public trails and land, remove invasive species and restore habitats in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. They also maintain trails, campsites and historic buildings throughout the area. Members receive a living allowance stipend, health insurance, food and housing.
Sample of Education Effort
SCA AmeriCorps members have been instrumental in launching the After-School Conservation Club (ASCC) in New York City, Albany, Beacon and Buffalo. For 10 weeks in the fall and again in spring, elementary school children in after-school programs participate in environmental education activities conducted by AmeriCorps members and stewardship projects coordinated by their host sites. DEC staff and AmeriCorps members provide training and advice to the youth counselors who supervise the children on how to conduct environmental education activities and stewardship projects. Students also complete stewardship projects for their local community such as improving recycling programs or creating habitats for wildlife such as butterflies and birds.
DEC Hosts Service Project
AmeriCorps members in the Hudson Valley program meet monthly for service projects and training. For three days in September 2006, 26 AmeriCorps members of the Student Conservation Association's (SCA) Hudson Valley Conservation Corps descended on Staten Island to help Region 2 Marine Resources, Operations, and Education staff on a tidal wetlands enhancement. About 30 people participated in the service project by removing woody debris such as large tree branches, telephone poles and pieces of docks and piers over three days. What they pulled out was enough to fill four 30-yard dumpsters.
Besides tackling the labor-intensive work, SCA AmeriCorps members participated in skills development workshops and toured the Solaire Building in Manhattan, the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified luxury residential high-rise in North America. AmeriCorps members stayed in cabins at Pouch Boy Scout Camp for the week. In return for the lodging, the members offered a presentation and activities for Boy Scouts to earn their Nature merit badge, fulfilling four of 10 requirements for the badge.
Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy Legacy
Many of the state forests and parks that we enjoy today were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps more than 60 years ago. DEC's partnerships with AmeriCorps programs reflect the lasting legacy of the CCC. Young men and women in today's corps develop skills and talents, while providing lasting benefits to our state's natural resources and communities.
Find out more about participating in AmeriCorps programs that partner with DEC, contact the following: (links are listed in the right column of this page)
Student Conservation Association
P.O. Box 699
New Paltz, NY 12561
Headwaters Youth Conservation Corps
c/o The Place
20 East Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Norwich, NY 13815
The Service Collaborative of Western New York
2188 Seneca St
Buffalo, NY 14210