When President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveiled the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933, he envisioned a future full of American citizens who cared for our environment and he worked hard to promote this ideology. He created this work relief program in the United States for the unemployed, unmarried men as part of the New Deal. Not only did this program employ nearly 3 million young men until 1942, but it led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation’s natural resources. The public discovered that there was a continued need for a planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural American resources.
During the span of the CCC, nearly 3 billion trees were planted to reforest American wilderness. They constructed over 800 parks across the country, and built service buildings and public roadways in the remote areas. Although it was a temporary installment until WWII, it was by far the largest New Deal success because of the impact it had on not only our young men but also on our environment.
Now, with combined efforts from KEEN Utility, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and The Wilderness Society, we’re helping build the future of America’s public land stewards through Project Build. This partnership will not only put thousands of young people to work on public lands, but it will ensure that others will have access to the thousands of acres of safe places for communities to play and grow. This builds a life-long connection to the outdoors for the next generation of public land stewards.
Through Project Build, KEEN Utility hopes to help protect up to 500,000 acres of land, 100 miles of rivers, and dedicate almost 1,000 hours of volunteer time from KEEN employees. This program supports the hard work of America’s conservation corps, work ranging from urban farm construction in former housing projects to building miles of trail our country’s untracked lands. KEEN strives to support ideas that build stronger communities and a healthier planet, and with 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and The Wilderness Society, we’re hopeful that we’ll achieve that! Along with cash donations, KEEN has equipped corps members across the country with 300 pairs of Utility boots so they can protect our treasured landscapes while protecting their toes.
“The men and women in the skilled trades have helped build this country from the ground up,” said Chris Heffernan, KEEN Utility General Manager. “At KEEN Utility we work tirelessly to create the next generation of work boots. To be able to support this next generation of land stewards through this partnership is an incredible privilege.”
In 2015 we are supporting 18 Conservation Corps groups across the country from Texas, to New Mexico, from California to Wisconsin. Below are five of those groups we look forward to working with:
This awesome corps focuses on habitat restoration and recreation infrastructure development in San Gabriel Mountains as well as community garden development through urban Los Angeles. Their primary mission is to provide at-risk young adults and school-aged youth with opportunities for success through job skills training, education and work experience with an emphasis on conservation and service projects that benefit the community.
Learn more at www.lacorps.org
Portland Stewardship Corps will have an enormous positive impact on the nearby federally protected natural areas of Tualatin River and Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuges, along with Forest Park. NYC now serves over 1,000 young adults each year across a five state region by providing a challenging education and job-training experience.
Learn more at www.nwyouthcorps.org
This program will engage Native youth in rehabbing a neglected city park and recreation area that connects to the Navajo boundary in New Mexico. They aim to incorporate traditional culture and language as part of crew lifestyle and project work.
Learn more at www.sccorps.org
Green City Force’s high-impact service work targeted to New York City’s highest-need neighborhoods. In partnership with the NYC Housing Authority GCF is developing urban farms in former housing projects. They strive to prepare youths for sustainable careers, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building the green city we want to see.
Learn more at www.greencityforce.org
HistoriCorps projects help veterans build upon the training they received in the armed forces, refocusing their skills to protect historic buildings on public lands. Their project leaders are specialists as well passionate teachers that want to pass on traditional building and restoration trades skills to the next generation.
Learn more at www.historicorps.org
Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing great stories of the dedicated conservation corps members and highlighting important conservation areas and initiatives. Stay tuned for more exciting news!