The Chesapeake Bay Trust welcomed the newest class of Chesapeake Conservation Corps Members. This program was created by the Maryland Legislature and matches young people ages 18-25 with non-profit and government organizations for one-year terms of service to improve local communities and protect natural resources.
“The Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program provides an excellent opportunity for young people interested in environmental careers to gain valuable on-the-job training that is so vital to long-term employment success,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., the lead sponsor of the legislation that created this program. “Additionally, their work has a direct impact on our environment, to education, to employment, and to our overall communities.”
During their year of service, Conservation Corps Members will gain valuable on-the-job experience as they work to advance environmental conservation, K-12 education, energy efficiency programs, sustainable agriculture practices, and a host of other environmentally-focused initiatives. Today, 37 Corps participants met their host organizations at Camp Letts in Edgewater, Md., to learn more about their job responsibilities for the upcoming year.
“Educating and training the next generation of stewards on how best to manage and protect our environment is crucial if we want to be able to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers and streams,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Every member of the Corps is contributing to our state’s commitment and department’s mission to enhance, protect and restore our natural resources for the enjoyment and use of all.”
Since the program began in 2010 with an inaugural class of 16 members, the Corps has become incredibly popular, and has attracted additional partners to support the additional Corps members from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Exelon/Constellation/BGE family, and the National Park Service, showing how valuable the program is perceived to be. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George’s Public Schools, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, UMD Environmental Finance Center, and Annapolis Maritime Museum also contributed matching funds for the program.
“The BGE family is proud to contribute to the Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program. These young people are bright and they are passionate about making in difference in the environmental world. They are learning valuable job skills that they need in order to protect Maryland’s most treasured natural resources,” said Valencia McClure, Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs, BGE.
Each Corps participant is provided with a stipend and commits to a one year term of service which begins in August. During the course of that year, Corps participants work directly with their host organizations while also receiving extensive job trainings hosted by the Trust, as well as other service-learning opportunities including grant writing and project management.
The Chesapeake Conservation Corps program aims to prepare its young participants for future careers in the natural resource sector and beyond, but has had a positive unintended consequence: The young people provide such positive energy and valuable work that sometimes up to 40% of the Corps Members in a graduating class are hired by directly by their host organizations, often into brand new positions. “This program truly increases capacity of local organizations and has become a real jobs creation program. These young people greatly enhance their hosts’ abilities to accomplish their missions. We understand why, despite the training we provide to prepare the Corps Members to go off into the world, their hosts want to keep them!” said Jana Davis, Executive Director of the Trust.
Of the 37 selected participants, 14 will work for organizations in Anne Arundel County; 4 will work in Montgomery; 4 in Baltimore; 5 in Prince George’s; 2 in Frederick; 2 in Howard; and 1 each in Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Talbot counties. The one remaining Corps participants will work in a Virginia based organizations. The 2017 Chesapeake Conservation Corps class includes the following individuals and their host organizations:
- Maya Alexander, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center
- Lindsay Ashley, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center
- Carolyn Black, National Park Service
- Kevin Carpenter, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
- Kimberly Choi, UMD Environmental Finance Center
- Rachel Denby, MD DNR MBSS
- Bernard Devlin, Town of Edmonston
- Brandt Dirmeyer, Patapsco Heritage Greenway
- Alyson Dodson, Prince George’s County Public Schools
- Olivia Donachie, USFWS
- Jaclyn Fisher, South River Federation
- Bonnie Griesemer, Frederick County OSER
- Corinne Griffith, Prince George’s County Public Schools
- Jason Guy, MNCPPC: Brookside Gardens
- Leah Hart Handwerger, MD DNR Resource Assessment Service
- Elise Houser, Howard County Conservancy
- Lindsey Hughes, Chester River Association
- Nora Jackson, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Mary Jeter, USFWS
- Sam Lee, Maryland Environmental Service
- Jacob Leizear, Chesapeake Conservancy
- Jeffrey Mattheiss, Hood College
- Michael Molina, American Chestnut Land Trust
- Kathryn O’Hara, Annapolis Maritime Museum
- Carley Pouland, MNCPPC: Meadowside Nature Center
- Malia Pownall, Waterfront Partnership in Baltimore
- Connor Roessler, City of Greenbelt
- Judith Rosenberg, Parks & People Foundation
- Keitasha Royal, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy
- Haley Schanne, Irvine Nature Center
- Michael Scott, Fair Hill Environmental Foundation
- Kathy Thornton, Adkins Arboretum
- Andrew Veselka, The Nature Conservancy
- Kylie Watson, Audubon Naturalist Society
- Therese Wilkerson, Annapolis Maritime Museum
- Michelle Williams, Anne Arundel County
- Ellen Woytowitz, US Geological Survey Water Science Center
For more information on the program and for detailed descriptions on the program participants and their activities for the year, email [email protected].