|Colorado's Youth Corps - On Deck with Flood Relief
"How can we help?" is a frequent question in reaction to the devastating flooding in the state. Our thoughts are with all of those affected - and we are working hard to send crews to help. Weld County Youth Conservation Corps is currently providing assistance with debris and trash removal in response to the massive flooding in the county, and has worked closely with Weld Food Bank, donation centers and shelters to ensure that flood victims have adequate water and food resources. Many other Colorado youth corps are poised to respond to flood relief efforts in the coming months. Youth corps have the skills and experience in conducting erosion control, rehabilitating recreation infrastructure and supporting wildlife habitat recovery. Corps are also available to help staff call centers and food and clothing distribution centers, and help victims with other basic needs. To inquire about accessing the services of a youth corps for flood relief and rehabilitation, contact Jennifer Freeman.
Christina Harney: VISTA Member Reassigned to Flood Relief
As part of flood relief efforts, the Colorado State Emergency Operation Center (EOC) called on AmeriCorps and VISTA members for help. After surveying the damage near Sand Creek, Christina Harney, a CYCA Good Works for Youth VISTA member with Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, jumped at the chance to offer support. Last week, Christina started a four-week reassignment working with the EOC. She is serving behind the scenes helping nonprofit and government agencies, collaborating with the relief effort, and helping others get connected to the proper resources – such as volunteers, financial assistance and in-kind donations. Christina is also working closely with the Red Cross and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to make certain that displaced residents have a way to access resources such as clothing vouchers and soon-to-be active donation centers.
Photo: Christina Harney on Sept. 17, 2013.
There are still many, many people in Colorado who are displaced from the recent floods and working through massive clean-up efforts. You can help! Consider checking out HelpColoradoNow.org for ways you can help financially or by volunteering your time.
Donate or Volunteer for Flood Relief
Young NPS Fellow Gets a Taste of Federal Government Careers
Aarón Mohammadi has jumpstarted a career path in natural resources, thanks to a paid fellowship through CYCA. Aarón served for a full year as a National Park Service (NPS) fellow with the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA). He learned about the fellowship opportunity when he was winding down his year of service as a VISTA member with the Western Hardrock Watershed VISTA program in Saguache, Colorado, where he coordinated the Kerber Creek Restoration Project. Prior to coming to Colorado, he was in another AmeriCorps position serving as an environmental educator with the Arizona Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). Aarón is now with Groundwork Denver putting his skills and experience to work for the benefit of low-income communities in the metro area.
Whatever the task or position, Aarón has displayed a knack and a passion for providing guidance and support to others: he assisted Groundwork Denver in getting the Bear Creek Watershed Plan process started, facilitated a brainstorming session to generate ideas for the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, helped the City of Yukon, Oklahoma conceptualize a bicycle and pedestrian trail network for the city, and assisted in public meetings geared to solicit public feedback for the development of a Clear Creek River management plan. In addition to these projects, Aarón has a flair for marketing and outreach, with experiences ranging from developing RTCA’s regional newsletter and a brochure that targets urban youth, to creating a grants database.
Aarón’s educational background matches his ambitions in natural resources. With a master’s degree in environmental planning and a bachelor’s in ecology, behavior and evolution, he is well equipped for his career choice. Aarón’s time with RTCA has proved beneficial, and provides a great opportunity for those interested in community recreation and conservation initiatives.
“One gets a sense of the partnerships that needs to be formed for a successful project, and a taste of a wide variety of projects and the challenges that each poses. It leads to a lot of on-the-go learning,” Aarón says.
“This partnership between the National Park Service and CYCA is a great opportunity for those early in their career to get a taste for working in the federal government, which is otherwise very hard to get into.”
Photo 1: Aarón taking a pause from his work near a Colorado waterfall.
A Creative Use for Retired Drilling Pipe: Fence Building!
Photo 2: Aarón working on the Kerber Creek Restoration Project in Saguache, Colorado.
In late August, a crew of young people from the Weld County Youth Conservation Corps (WCYCC) completed an improvement project at Swift Ponds, a regional outdoor education facility owned and operated by the nonprofit Colorado Youth Outdoors, which we are happy to report was relatively undamaged by the flooding earlier this month.
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation recently donated funds to support WCYCC’s work at the Swift Ponds property located east of Interstate 25 between Windsor and Fort Collins.
The group of 10 WCYCC youth corps members installed a portion of a perimeter fence using retired drilling pipe donated by Anadarko. The youth volunteers sunk wooden upright poles and threaded the drilling pipe through the uprights to create an attractive perimeter for the 240-acre Swift Ponds property.
“Anadarko is committed to fostering collaborative relationships amongst its non-profit partners in the community,” said Amy Venturi, Anadarko’s director of social investment. “We are proud to be the umbrella sponsor of both Colorado Youth Outdoors and Colorado Youth Corps Association in relation to these important projects.”
Since 2001, Colorado Youth Outdoors has served northern Colorado by bringing youth, parents, mentors and the outdoors together at its Swift Ponds education facility. The ponds’ irregular borders and islands create an excellent habitat for wildlife and a perfect venue for outdoor recreation. The property features an open-air pavilion and 12 ponds that provide opportunities for picnicking, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing and outdoor education. Swift Ponds offers a beautiful, natural setting to strengthen family relationships, promote the values of sportsmen and educate people on the conservation of natural resources.
WCYCC crew members were excited to work on the Anadarko-funded fencing project. “This project will be a fun one! It will help us to learn new skills at a location that serves youth and promotes outdoor activities,” said Karla Cordova, a WCYCC AmeriCorps member.
According to Bob Hewson, executive director of Colorado Youth Outdoors, “Fencing for the Swift Ponds outdoor education facility has been a dream for years. We could not be more excited to finally begin the project.” Hewson added, “Having our property borders neatly identified will make our facility more welcoming, and most importantly, add to the security of this wonderful place. This level of quality fencing would not be possible without the partnership between Anadarko, Colorado Youth Corps Association, and Colorado Youth Outdoors.”
This project was featured in the local paper. Check out the article in the Greeley Tribune. View more photos on our Facebook page!
Photos 1 & 2: At Swift Ponds, WCYCC members install a fence using retired drilling pipe from Anadarko Petroleum.
2013 Careers in Natural Resources Summit
CYCA and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education hosted the 2013 Careers in Natural Resources Summit on August 13 in Denver. More than 30 nonprofit, higher education and land management agency professionals gathered to chart a course for the future. Three committees will work over the next year to accomplish a number of items that increase awareness of career paths for young people and career influencers, provide clear and accessible information about these careers, and connect young people to entry-level positions. The committees are: 1) Online Career Portal, 2) Career Paths Guide, and 2) Career Fair. To join one of these committees, contact Lisa Eadens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blaine McFeeley, CYCA’s associate director, was recently married to Suzy Miller. Congratulations, Blaine!
Helen Hankins of BLM Retires
Helen Hankins, director of the Bureau of Land Management's Colorado state office, retires Sept. 30 after more than four decades with the agency. Helen has been a stalwart supporter and advocate of youth corps over the years (CYCA celebrated her dedication to corps when we named her 2011 Champion for Youth) – and she will be greatly missed! Please join us in wishing Helen well on her retirement.
Photo: Helen Hankins of the BLM.