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285 Young People Graduate from Conservation Jobs Corps

Successful summer parks program now in its fifth year

Edgemere, Md. (August 3, 2012) ─ 285 young people from across Maryland were recognized at today’s graduation of the Conservation Jobs Corps (CJC) at North Point State Park in Baltimore County. During the 6-week summer jobs program, which targets disadvantaged youth, Corps members worked in State parks across Maryland learning green job and team building skills, and developing a stewardship ethic and appreciation for Maryland’s natural resources.

“Congratulations to all of our Conservation Jobs Corps graduates for their hard work and commitment,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This program helps cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards by teaching them the importance of enhancing their communities and protecting our State’s natural resources.”

In 2008, Governor O’Malley expanded the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) — a summer employment program designed to provide at-risk youth with service opportunities in Maryland State Parks. The name has been changed to the Conservation Jobs Corps to better reflect the goals of the program. Now in its fifth year, the program has graduated a total of approximately 1,500 kids.

“The CJC was more than just a summer for me ─ it was a life experience,” said Murithi Marshall of Assateague, winner of a SPIRIT Award.

This year, MCC members, Maryland Park Service (MPS) staff and CJC crew chiefs led projects and provided mentoring for the five to eight-member CJC crews at Assateague, Gunpowder Falls, Patapsco Valley, Seneca Creek and Susquehanna State Parks, Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gwynns Falls Trail Park in Baltimore City.

Their projects included trail maintenance, removing invasive species, planting trees, installing trail signs, building deer and turtle enclosures and many other basic landscaping and construction jobs. In conjunction with all of their hard work, the kids also went on kayaking, canoeing, fishing and camping trips to experience nature hands-on.

“Those who participate in the CJC program learn a lot and seem to gain a newfound awareness of nature and their surroundings,” said MPS Superintendent Nita Settina. “And the added manpower helps immensely with the work that needs to be done in State Parks. Last year, the kids completed work that saved the State of Maryland more than $2.7 million dollars.”

Select youth at each park were recognized with SPIRIT Awards at the ceremony, for having exemplified the SPIRIT principles (Stewardship, Professionalism, Initiative, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork).

Building on the federal Civilian Conservation Corps established 75 years ago and the modern AmeriCorps, the Maryland Conservation Corps is an organization that engages young adults in extensive natural resource management and park conservation projects. Managed by the Maryland Park Service since 1984, the MCC provides members with opportunities for skill development and personal growth through a supportive, team-based environment, emphasizing the satisfaction of completing projects that benefit Maryland's natural resources.


   August 3, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov