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Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program Selects 21 Exceptional New Participants

| August 31, 2011, 02:03 PM | 0 Comments

The Chesapeake Bay Trust announced the second class of its Chesapeake Conservation Corps, a program that provides career and leadership training for young people interested in environmental careers and Chesapeake Bay protection. This initiative, established by the Maryland Legislature in 2010, matches young people, ages 18-25, with organizations throughout the state for paid, one-year terms of service. In its inaugural year, 16 Corps Volunteers worked on a variety of environmental initiatives including energy efficiency programs, restoration activities and clean-ups, water quality monitoring programs, reforestation projects and job training programs for youth. Due to the success of last year’s program, the Corps has expanded this year to include 21 participants, who will gain valuable work experience and partner with local communities to advance conservation initiatives in Maryland.

“In today’s challenging economic times, it is important that we invest in our young people and provide them with the skills and training necessary for jobs that create a smarter, greener future for Maryland,” said SenatePresidentThomas V. Mike Miller, the lead sponsor of the legislation that created this initiative. “The Chesapeake Conservation Corps not only provides on-the-job experience in a variety of fields, but also opens doors for future employment possibilities.”

At today’s event, the new Corps volunteers were introduced to the 21 Maryland watershed organizations, county governments, and other nonprofits at which they will serve for the next year. The Corps Volunteers are between the ages of 18 and 25 and bring diverse experience and backgrounds to their host organizations, ranging from international climate change and marine biology to experience working with volunteer organizations such as the Red Cross.  Notably, four of last year’s Corps participants (25 percent) have already been hired by their host organizations as full time employees, thus providing sustained employment for young people in Maryland.

“The Chesapeake Conservation Corps provides a unique opportunity for the next generation of Maryland’s leadership to learn firsthand about preserving the environment and our great Chesapeake Bay,” said Congressman John Sarbanes, of Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District. “Through this program, they are working to protect our natural resources, our economic stability and our quality of life while gaining valuable skills to reach that next level of professional success.”

The program is funded by both the State of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, with a generous contribution provided by Constellation Energy.  Volunteers are provided with a stipend for one year in addition to on-the-job experience and technical training provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.  Corps volunteers also have an opportunity to enroll in environmental career certificate programs offered by the Chesapeake Area Consortium for Higher Education, a consortium of Maryland community colleges.

This year’s class includes the following individuals and their host organizations:

  • Patrick Bond, Parks and People Foundation, Baltimore City
  • Stacy Bond, Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education,
  • Howard County
  • Erin Bowman, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Baltimore City
  • Braeden Bumpers, Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment, Montgomery County
  • Kristin Buter, Phillips Wharf Education Center, Talbot County
  • Laura Cattell, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Baltimore City
  • Dietrich Epp-Schmidt, Eco City Farms, Prince George’s County
  • Taren Evans, American Chestnut Land Trust, Calvert County
  • Stephanie Fischer, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anne Arundel County
  • Ileana Freytes, Casa de Maryland, Prince George’s County
  • Kosoko Jackson, Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, Anne Arundel County
  • Concetta Laskey, Calvert Marine Museum and CHEARS, Calvert County and Prince George’s County
  • Racheal Patrice, Habitat for Humanity Choptank, Talbot County
  • James Phillips, Anacostia Watershed Society, Prince George’s County
  • Joseph Ports, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Anne Arundel County
  • Allison Rich, Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore City
  • Nicole Robinson, Frederick County Office of Environmental Sustainability, Frederick County
  • Lea Rubin, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Anne Arundel County
  • Wesley Tse, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Queen Anne’s County
  • Zoe Unruh, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery County
  • Carol Wong, South River Federation, Anne Arundel County

“At the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we believe that education, leadership and direct citizen involvement are crucial to the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Allen Hance, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “The Chesapeake Conservation Corps program provides these tools—and more—to help Maryland’s talented youth tackle the environmental and economic challenges that face them as they become the leaders of tomorrow.”

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