May 18, 2024
Annapolis, US 63 F

Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program Expands To 26 Participants In Third Year

The Chesapeake Bay Trust has announced the continued expansion of its Chesapeake Conservation Corps, a program that provides service-learning opportunities and green job training for young people through environmental and energy conservation careers.  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. Today marks the beginning of the third year of this incredibly popular program which has expanded from an inaugural class of 16 participants to 21 in its second year to now 26 exceptional young people who will be inducted into the program this afternoon.

During the course of the year, each Corp Volunteer will work on a variety of environmental initiatives including energy efficiency programs, watershed restoration activities and clean-ups, water quality monitoring programs, reforestation projects, and bilingual environmental education and job training programs. The Volunteers bring diverse experience and backgrounds to their host organizations, ranging from habitat assessment and fisheries management to environmental justice efforts and rainforest ecology. Notably, almost 30 percent of previous Corps participants have been hired by their host organizations during the first two years of the program, most in newly created positions, thus providing sustained employment for young people in Maryland and capacity building for host organizations.  Furthermore, retention rate of Corps Volunteers in the program has been 100 percent since its inception.

“Through the Chesapeake Conservation Corps program, we have been able to invest in Maryland’s young people, providing them with hands-on opportunities to learn valuable job skills to advance their professional careers during these tough economic times,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., the lead sponsor of the legislation that created this program. “Not only are they developing green job skills, but their work is having a positive impact on our natural world while improving Maryland’s environment.”

At today’s event, the new Corps volunteers were introduced to the Maryland watershed organizations, county governments, and other nonprofits at which they will serve for the next year. Additionally, the 21 exceptional young people who were a part of last year’s Chesapeake Conservation Corps class graduated from the program, during a special “passing of the golden shovel” ceremony from one class to the next that has become an annual tradition in the program.

“Strong environmental education programs help grow the next generation of scientists and environmental stewards,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who authored the No Child Left Inside Act, which funds hands-on environmental education in America’s schools. “The Chesapeake Conservation Corps program trains tomorrow’s environmental leaders for careers to preserve the Chesapeake Bay and our state’s natural resources.”

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 and health insurance option 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 apply for grants to learn more about on-the-ground project implementation and gain valuable grant writing and fundraising skills.

“At the Chesapeake Bay Trust we believe that engaging and educating the next generation of environmental leaders is the key to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and our natural resources,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We have been honored to partner with the state of Maryland and Constellation Energy, among many others, on this program for three successful years and look forward to working with them and others for many years to come.”

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

  1. Alexis Bryant, Clozynergy, Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County
  2. Amanda Pinzon, CASA de Maryland, Hyattsville, Prince George’s County
  3. Ann Desanctis, Anacostia Watershed Society, Bladensburg, Prince George’s County
  4. Christine Carpenter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
  5. Ellen O’Brien, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Easton, Talbot County
  6. Emily Stransky, Eden Mill Nature Center, Pylesville, Harford County
  7. Emily Thorpe, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
  8. Heather Jentilet, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
  9. James Traynham, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Baltimore, Baltimore City
  10. Jennifer Kunze, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Baltimore, Baltimore City
  11. Karen Zeiter, Rock Creek Conservancy, Bethesda, Montgomery County
  12. Katelyn Geiger, South River Federation, Edgewater, Anne Arundel County
  13. Kendra Shillenn, Annapolis Maritime Museum, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
  14. Kiri Brenner, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Montgomery County
  15. Latisha Bordley, Environmental Concern, St. Michael’s, Talbot County
  16. Lien Vu, Potomac Conservancy, Silver Spring, Montgomery County
  17. Lisa DeGuire, Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore City
  18. Matthew Felperin, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, Tilghman, Talbot County
  19. Raymond McClain, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
  20. Rich Lefebure, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Towson, Baltimore County
  21. Sophie Foscue, Sassafras River Association, Georgetown, Kent County
  22. Stephanie Pully, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Baltimore, Baltimore City
  23. Tim Rosen, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Easton, Talbot County
  24. Tyler Walston, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Vienna, Dorchester County
  25. William Saffell, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Shady Side, Anne Arundel County
  26. Zuzuna Culakova, Echo Hill Outdoor School, Worton, Kent County
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