Conservation Corps Minnesota Working for DNR Parks and Trails Legacy Projects
Sec. 3. Department of Natural Resources
(a)$14262000 the first year and $14603000 the second year are for state parks recreation areas and trails to:
(1)Connect people to the outdoors;
(2)Acquire land and create opportunities;
(3)Maintain existing holdings; and
(4)Improve cooperation by coordinating with partners to implement the 25-year long-range parks and trails legacy plan
The MN Legislature requires the Division of Parks and Trails to contract with Conservation Corps Minnesota for services of at least $500 000 the first year and at least $500 000 the second year for the FY2012/2013 Parks and Trails Legacy Fund.
Through this partnership with the Conservation Corps completed 34 194 crew hours toward FY2012 and 49 360 towards FY2013 Parks and Trails Legacy projects through June 30 2013.
The MN Legislature requires the Division of Parks and Trails to contract with Conservation Corps Minnesota for services of at least $600 000 the first year and at least $1 000 000 the second year for the FY2010/2011 Parks and Trails Legacy Fund.
Through this partnership with the Conservation Corps completed 109 584 crew hours toward Parks and Trails Legacy projects.
In Fiscal Year 2010 the division contracted for $721 824 in services with the Corps. In Fiscal Year 2011 the division expended $1 287 857 with the Corps. The division has met the goal of contracting for at least $600 000 the first year and $1 000 000 the second year for Conservation Corps services under this program.
The Division of Parks and Trails (as directed by Chapter 172, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Subd. 3(c)) utilizes Conservation Corps of Minnesota services for restoration, maintenance, and other activities that supplement the ability to reach Legacy Fund goals. Budget associated with this program area capture an accounting of dollars that support CCM Summer Youth, Individual Placements, and special projects for park and trail renewal and development. Other dollars not accounted for in this program area are part of other PAT program areas and included as part of those budgets. In particular, the division's Natural Resource Management Program utilizes CCM for a majority of the division's annual responsibility to contract with CCM for services.
Conservation Corps Minnesota provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults while accomplishing natural resource management and emergency response work.
Young Adults (ages 18-25) that join the Field Crew Program enroll in AmeriCorps for a 10-month service term, earn a monthly living stipend, and receive an education award upon completion. Program participants join to give back to their communities while gaining marketable skills for natural resource and other green-industry careers. Each summer, diverse youth (ages 15-18) that join the Summer Youth Corps enroll in an eight week service term, work and camp outdoors, and earn a stipend. AmeriCorps members serve as leaders for the youth crews. The Corps leases fleet, a group camp facility at St. Croix State Park, and office space from DNR and other sources. A crew is equipped with most hand and power tools necessary to complete a project including boats, canoes, firefighting gear, chainsaws, etc. Fleet and equipment expense is included in the hourly rate along with corpsmember pay.
The Corps provides trained crews on a flexible basis from 1 day at a time to one year at a time. In addition to the field crews (primarily focused on habitat work under Parks and Trails Legacy funds), the Corps and DNR have enhanced the Single Placement training program. This program provides mentorship & training opportunities focusing on connecting people to the outdoors through outreach, new technologies, GPS/GIS work, interpretive programs, landscape design, and planning outreach/assistance.
With the societal trend toward decreased outdoor recreation participation, DNR is focusing significant energy on outreach to youth and young adults. Conservation Corps members serve as ideal role models to other youth and young adults and provide new perspectives towards project assistance for DNR projects and new programs.