Field News Recap- June 2024

We are excited to share the latest updates from our Northwest Youth Corps crews for the month of June. Our members have been hard at work on various projects, developing skills and making significant contributions to our public lands. Here’s a detailed look at what our crews have accomplished this month: Oregon:   In the first week, Orange Crew began their journey with a developed recreation project, cleaning up a campground in southern Oregon in partnership with the Roseburg Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure it was ready for the summer season. During the second week, they ventured into the backcountry of the Umatilla National Forest with the Blue Mountain Land Trust. Here, they learned to use crosscut saws alongside volunteers, logging out the trail and enhancing their trail maintenance skills. In the third week, continuing their backcountry adventures, the crew worked in the Siuslaw National Forest, performing tread repair along the North Fork Smith River, helping to preserve these beautiful natural areas for future visitors. Red Crew dedicated the first three weeks of June to working in the Mount Hood National Forest. They focused on the Camas Creek and Clear Creek trails, as well as the McCubbins Gulch OHV […]

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A Summer of Service at Grays Lake

(Originally posted to CaribouCountyNews.com on June 27, 2024) The Grays Lake Refuge includes both riparian areas, which are muddy and wet, and these meadowlands, which are where the cattle are part of a management strategy. This summer, the Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles north of Soda Springs had a new group of visitors.  While the area is set aside as a refuge for wildlife with, in many cases, seasonal migratory habits, it also hosted a group of young people from around the country for several weeks.  In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Grays Lake Wildlife Specialist Dana Duran, the Idaho Conservation Corps sent a group of seven individuals to help with projects related to the area’s mission to preserve the local ecology and wildlife. Conservation is also something that Fish and Wildlife’s Dana Duran places a high value on.  As the primary overseer of the Grays Lake area, she’s committed to making sure that the area stays well managed for both human and wildlife needs.   Dana Duran began her work at Grays Lake last October, and she’s still getting to know the Gray’s Lake Marsh and the ecosystem, though she seems to have

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Field News Recap- May 2024

Oregon:   May was an exciting month in Oregon with the graduation of four Young Adult crews on May 18th and the launch of the first Youth crew on May 24th. The Blue crew improved trails and recreation areas in the Siuslaw National Forest. The Yellow crew completed invasive plant removal near the John Day Dam with the Army Corps of Engineers before transitioning to developed recreation work in the Umpqua National Forest. The Orange crew improved developed recreation facilities in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and later worked on invasive plant removal along the McKenzie River with the Pure Water Partnership. The Red crew finished their season at the Biocycle Farm and partnered with the Nature Conservancy in the Columbia Basin for invasive plant removal. The Tribal Stewards crew, comprised of students from the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, OR, also began their program. After finishing classes on May 24th, eight participants joined the Eugene headquarters for orientation before starting trail work at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. This crew will continue until July 20th, graduating alongside five other youth crews launching in June. Oregon Program Leader Amanda Wallace says, “We were incredibly fortunate to have worked

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Field News Recap- April 2024

Oregon:   Oregon’s spring young adult blue crew started the month with two weeks of work along the McKenzie River with the Pure Water Partners (PWP). Northwest Youth Corps has worked with Pure Water Partners to restore habitat that was destroyed by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire since PWP’s inception. Blue crew later served with the Siuslaw National Forest, where they improved recreational facilities for a week. For the final two weeks of April the crew served with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at Cape Falcon State Park where they restored tread along the Oregon Coast Trail. Yellow crew started their month with the Medford Bureau of Land Management (BLM), rerouting the Upper Table Rock Trail. They then improved campsites and other developed recreation sites at the Eel Creek Campground with the Siuslaw National Forest. They spent one week with Oregon Equestrian Trails brushing and widening their trail system. And for the last two weeks of April, Yellow crew removed Russian olive, black locust, and other invasive tree species with the Army Corps of Engineers at Irrigon Parks and Recreation District.   Orange crew began their month working with the City of Springfield at The Biocycle Farm, planting and maintaining poplar trees that will eventually

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2023 Annual Report

“As we reflect on the successes and triumphs we have experienced over the past 40 years, I am filled with gratitude for the impact young people at NYC have made on our communities and our future. The unwavering support of our strategic partners and generous donors has provided opportunities for 27,000 young people to do something truly extraordinary. Their service has improved our environment and driven positive change across our region. As we look ahead to the next forty years, I am profoundly optimistic that our programming will continue to attract talented, smart, and passionate young people who want to make their world a better place through conservation service.” Jeff Parker, Executive Director Dear Friends, As we reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and celebrate Northwest Youth Corps’ fortieth year of service, I am pleased to present our 2023 Annual Report. I hope that you share both my pride and gratitude for the strides we have made together. For four decades, our collective efforts have endured and thrived in the face of daunting challenges. Through innovative programs, strategic partnerships, the unwavering support of donors, and especially, the deep commitment of our members, we have provided essential contributions to our communities

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Field News Recap- March 2024

Oregon: This month, Northwest Youth Corps’ (NYC) newest program, the Urban Community Forestry (UCF) program, has worked long days cutting, hauling and chipping debris left over from the devastating ice storm that hit Eugene and the lower McKenzie River Valley from January 13th-17th. Their worksites have included many local parks in Eugene and Springfield as well as residential areas that were hit particularly hard. Many of these community parks and recreation spaces have been closed off to the public do to the dangerous scattered debris. Though this storm clean up can be monotonous and grueling work, the crews have kept after it, often returning to NYC’s headquarters at the end of a long day tired but propped up by enormous gratitude from the community.  One UCF crew was assigned to assist with park cleanup efforts at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Howard Buford Recreation Area. With help from local volunteers and Mt. Pisgah staff, these parks were able to reopen March 15th. Members of the public were thrilled to see the parks reopened, and their enthusiasm helped to keep the crew’s morale high as they cleaned up the final section of the parking lot. Most of the work was chipping

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Leave It to Beavers – Renewing rivers one rodent at a time

Originally from: https://www.patagonia.ca/stories/leave-it-to-beavers/story-149108.htmlBy: Amanda Monthei All photos by Greg Mionske It’s barely above 50 degrees in a mountain meadow at the headwaters of the John Day River, deep in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. Dew soaks the ground, and the consensus is that today’s work conditions are already significantly better than yesterday’s. “It was the hardest day this year,” says Alex, a 19-year-old Northwest Youth Corps crew member sipping coffee from a mug covered in faded stickers. A random thunderstorm blew through yesterday morning and caught him without his rain jacket. Weather and morale have improved significantly in the last 24 hours. Alex and the rest of the four-person crew from the conservation service and job-training program, as well as three Trout Unlimited employees, pull on mud-caked boots and waders, finish coffees and collect their tools—chainsaws, an errant bundle of shovels, towers of five-gallon buckets, branch loppers and wooden posts shaped like enormous pencils, shouldered two at a time. “If all goes according to plan, a passing beaver might see these human-made dams, complemented by the soft, pooling water they love, and think, ‘This is nice … but I could do better.’” Shifts start at 7 a.m., and although

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Serving our Community in honor of MLK

Each year, Northwest Youth Corps honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of service and social change by organizing volunteer service projects for staff to get engaged and do good for the community.  At our Washington office, staff members volunteered with the Tacoma area Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for those in need. The team spent the day installing siding on a new townhome and kept spirits high through frigid temperatures by rocking out to early 2000’s hits on the radio! Washington office staff members volunteering with Tacoma area Habitat for Humanity Unfortunately in Oregon and Idaho, devastating storms caused severe tree and infrastructure damage cancelling service day projects and leaving thousands in the area without electricity for more than a week. In the wake of these storms, Northwest Youth Corps was quick to see the community in need and was proud to volunteer services to the restoration of local parks in the Eugene/Springfield area. Northwest Youth Corps Oregon staff using pole saws, chainsaws, and chippers to remove downed trees and debris at Willamalane Park and Recreation District, Day Island Park in Springfield. OR. Knowing that many employees did not get the opportunity to serve their communities

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Sound to Summit program wins Project of the Year!

Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) received the prestigious Project of the Year Award from The Corps Network in recognition of NYC’s unique Sound to Summit program. The Corps Network  – also known as the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps – presents this award on an annual basis to select organizations from their membership of more than 140 Corps across the country. Awardees are chosen through a competitive nomination and review process. “This national recognition is a testament to partnership” states Jay Satz, Northwest Youth Corps’ Senior Director for External Affairs. “Mount Rainier National Park staff recognized the value of engaging neighboring urban youth with the park, and Metro Parks Tacoma was looking to expand youth programming that created a sense of neighborhood stewardship. Northwest Youth Corps was able to step in as the connector to create the program model based on our extensive experience running backcountry conservation service crews (40 years) and community based conservation service crews (15 years). The result has been an inspiring program impacting 163 members and leaders (thus far). Northwest Youth Corps is honored to receive this award from The Corps Network.” National Project of the Year Award Info: Project of the Year Awards are presented on

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New Urban and Community Forest Crews to serve in OR, WA, and ID

Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) is grateful to receive a $12 million grant from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Inflation Reduction Act to engage youth and young adults in urban forestry stewardship and education activities in Boise, ID, Eugene, OR, and Tacoma, WA. Working with local partners, NYC will invest $4 million over five years in urban forestry programs in each of the three state program areas. “This grant from the US Forest Service is a remarkable investment in our community”, says Parker.  “Our work over the next five years to increase the health and resilience of our urban forest will further enhance the health benefits of living in these communities. The young people who participate in this paid service initiative will graduate with skills and abilities that will help them advance their goals in the classroom and the workforce.” – Jeff Parker, Executive Director, Northwest Youth Corps Urban forests provide numerous benefits, including: • Reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.• Lowering energy consumption by providing shade and reducing heat island effects.• Improving water quality and reducing stormwater runoff.• Enhancing property values and economic vitality.• Improving public health and well-being. Urban and Community Forest Program Overview for

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NYC and National Park Service Partnership Report | 2023

[banner image above: 2023 ASL Inclusion Crew serving at Mount Rainier National Park] “I have gained so much from this experience: lifelong friends, a passion for the outdoors, important life skills, and most importantly, an understanding of the world around me.” – Juniper, Rainbow crew member Partnership Overveiw During its 40-year history, Northwest Youth Corps has enjoyed a long partnership with the National Park Service’s Columbia Pacific Northwest Region, one which has grown significantly in the last eight years. This year, generous and pivotal NPS support allowed NYC to extend even further the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation, as we engaged new audiences of young people in ecosystem restoration, imperiled species recovery, and visitor infrastructure enhancement. All these intrinsic values of our Northwest national parks are at risk from the effects of climate change, which threaten to expand invasive species and fragment habitats for native species. In locations currently covered with snow, hydrologic systems are especially vulnerable as watersheds become increasingly rain dominated, resulting in more autumn/winter flooding, higher peak flows, and lower summer flows. Northwest Youth Corps is proud to be part of efforts to increase the resilience of systems at our regional parks, to help natural systems and

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Field News Recap- August

Oregon: Our Blue crew spent the first four weeks of their five month term they were at Crater Lake National Park, where they cleared 13.25 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail of downed trees using crosscuts. For their final week Blue was in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest working on the Hanging Rock trail, where they improved 1.31 miles of trail. Red crew worked all over the state. Their first week was spent at Loon Lake, improving campgrounds and doing light trail maintenance. They then worked in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest, removing 12.76 acres of invasives and collecting seeds. Their final two weeks were at Saddle Mountain State Park, where they completed gabions baskets at the end of a challenging hike in. This wonderful work was fueled in part by 126 Kinder eggs. Our Yellow crew spent their first week removing invasive plants at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area near Reedsport, then removing more invasive plants in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest. Their final two weeks were spent working on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Umpqua National Forest, where they did 3.5 miles of trail maintenance and cleared 50 drainage structures. Orange crew began

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Field News Recap- Youth Camping Crews Session One

Oregon: Our Youth Camping Crew 7, Red Crew 1 spent their first three weeks in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest before heading out to central Oregon and finishing in Coos Bay. Throughout the session they pulled invasives, fixed trails and even maintained campgrounds. The work included installing 12 fire rings, clearing over 5 acres of invasive plants and maintained over 6.5 miles of trail. YCC 8, Blue Crew started in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in the south, moved to the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon and finally finished up north in the Mt Hood National Forests, fixing trails the whole way. They maintained over 12 miles of trail over 5 weeks and cleared 35 logs with crosscut saws. YCC 9, our red 2 crew started the season working with a couple other youth crews in the Fremont-Winema National Forest clearing trails before finishing near the coast with some invasive removal. They were able to maintain over 2.5 miles of trail in two weeks before clearing well over an acre of invasive species. YCC 10 Orange  crew also worked in the Fremont-Winema National Forest for 3 weeks before tackling a couple weeks of invasive removal, ending the season in Northern

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How LGBTQ youth are building community through conservation work

On an August morning, the Rainbow Conservation Crew woke and had breakfast at a campsite in Mount Rainier National Park before commuting three miles by foot with McLeods, Pulaskis, and peaveys—tools used for trail work and wildland firefighting—to their worksite on the historic Wonderland Trail. For the past few weeks, the small group of teenagers had been hacking at sections of the 93-mile trail that circumnavigates Washington’s Mount Rainier—or Tahoma as it is known to the local Puyallup tribe—gliding like a roller coaster through alpine meadows, temperate rainforests, and rivers fed by glacial runoff. Mel Hanby, the group’s leader-in-training, was working his third summer with the Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) after joining the Rainbow Crew in 2017, the nation’s first LGBTQ youth conservation corps. As a longtime volunteer, Hanby was taking on more responsibility in the backcountry as he oversaw the teenagers alongside senior leaders Ernie Callaghan and Ash Young. One of the crew’s main projects over the five-week program was to construct an urgently needed bridge over a dangerous crossing of the Carbon River. “The youth corps is not a summer camp,” Hanby says. “For many of us it’s our first paid job, and it comes with a lot of responsibility.” He explains that in order for youth

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Field News Recap – May

Oregon Update: In May, Oregon graduated one crew, the blue crew!  Two of our other Oregon crews partnered with the Hood River and Barlow Ranger Districts. They worked alongside recreation staff. Crews tackled maintenance projects around the districts including removing graffiti from Little John warming shelter, repainting forest boundary signs, and removing trash left after the winter snowmelt. Crews also assisted the trails program in restocking the Fivemile Butte Lookout with firewood.  Our Expedition Crew ending the month working out at Diamond Lake with the Umpqua National Forest helping to get the campgrounds ready for the summer season.  Previous image Next image Washington Update: Washington’s first Young Adult Spring program successfully graduated 12 members and leaders at then end of May. Crews rounded out the season working with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Cascadia Conservation District, and the Siuslaw National Forest completing projects ranging from campground and recreation area maintenance and preparation for the summer season, and trail maintenance.   “During my term I realized I am stronger than I thought. I definitely didn’t realize how mentally hard it is rather than physically. I grew a lot as a person and hope to continue to use the knowledge I have

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2022 Annual Report

“In reflecting on the past year, I am struck by how much we have learned about resilience and the power of community.   Northwest Youth Corps was not immune to the challenging impacts and upheaval in our social and economic systems over the last three years. Like so many, we struggled, experimented, occasionally screamed into the void, but ultimately we were fortunate to have persevered. And in 2022, we started another year on solid ground due to the dedication of our staff and support from you – partners, agencies, and individual and institutional funders. We are surrounded by a constituency of remarkable stakeholders who share our passion for our youth, our communities, and our planet.” Jeff Parker, Executive Director Dear Friends, In reflecting on the past year, I am struck by how much we have learned about resilience and the power of community.  Northwest Youth Corps was not immune to the challenging impacts and upheaval in our social and economic systems over the last three years. Like so many, we struggled, experimented, occasionally screamed into the void, but ultimately, we were fortunate to have persevered. And in 2022, we started another year on solid ground due to the dedication of our staff

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Field News Recap – April

Oregon Update: Oregon graduated its first young adult crew for the season in April. The winter silviculture crew in Eugene graduated 6 members, and throughout the whole session they planted nearly 19,000 poplar trees. The winter camping crews have finished their season and completed 9 weeks of campsite restoration, 7 weeks of invasive plant removal, and 3 weeks of trail maintenance. Our Oregon program has launched a combo Leadership Development Program with future youth crew leads for our Washington, Idaho, and Oregon programs. They’ve started their session with getting Wilderness First Aid certifications and will be moving on to chainsaw certification in the coming weeks. The spring crews are cruising along and just completed their 6th week at the end of April. One crew has been working at Silver Falls this whole month, and the other crew has been working on a combination of campsite restoration, invasive plant removal, and Douglas Fir habitat restoration where a fire came through a few years ago. Previous Next Washington Update: Washington currently has three young adult crews. One of them partnered with Cascadia Conservation District and the Washington Department of Natural Resources to help clear out fire breaks in the community of Plain,

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Field News Recap – March

Oregon Update: Oregon currently has five active young adult (YA) crews out in the field. Our three winter crews have been out since February and the two spring crews kicked off in March.  The winter camping crews have been working hard in Oregon state campgrounds to get them ready for the upcoming summer months by making them accessible for as many people as possible. Another of our winter crews has been working on a poplar farm in Eugene with the goal of planting 26,000 trees. These crews are approaching their final weeks for the season.  Our two spring crews are in their third week and have been focused on developed recreation projects in campgrounds. This is the first week of trail work for crew 5 and they will be in Silver Falls State Park for the next four weeks helping maintain the highly popular Canyon Trail. Poplar Project Register guard article read Here Checking the Phacelia to make sure it has plenty of room to grow and flourish. Our Oregon Expedition crew teamed up with our blue crew. Expedition crew working on the fire pits at Driftwood Campground. Previous Next Washington Update: For the first time, Washington launched three young adult spring

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2022 National Park Foundation Partnership Report

“I have learned to adapt and persevere when times get hard… beyond learning trail building methods, crosscut and nursery operations I also learned about the importance of an expedition mindset… Overall I learned not only physical skills but interpersonal crew skills.”                                -2022 Women in National Parks crewmember Partnership Overveiw During its 39-year history, Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) has enjoyed a long partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and, more recently with the National Park Foundation (NPF). During that time, more than 25,000 youth and young adults and 2,200 field staff have completed 3,518,480 hours of service across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. For their service, crews have earned a total of $4 million in field wages and educational stipends, while graduates have returned home better prepared for civic leadership. We are deeply grateful for our active and innovative partnership with the National Park Foundation. NPF investments in Northwest Youth Corps since 2018 have totaled $1,155,504 to support NYC’s foundational commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming. Projects completed by our members have improved the visitor experience; ensured critical resource management work is completed; supported NPF

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Honoring MLK Day across three states

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day from all of us at Northwest Youth Corps! While the daily work of Northwest Youth Corps honors the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its focus on service, community, and future generations, this federal holiday (the only one dedicated as a National Day of Service) is a time for people across the country to step up to help build more equitable communities everywhere.  This past week, Northwest Youth Corps staff dedicated time to reflect on the values that Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. championed and took part in community service work around our three office locations in Eugene, Tacoma, and Boise. A huge thanks to all organizers and participants of our MLK day service projects! At our Idaho office, staff members removed old wire caging and reinstalling new wire caging around trees along the Boise Greenbelt in partnership with Boise Parks and Rec. Once trees have died, uprooted, or outgrown their cages, the wire needs to be removed before it becomes a hazard or pollutant to the Boise River. Properly-fitted cages protect healthy trees from beaver damage, ensuring that important riparian habitat has the shade, soil stabilization, and productive plant life that

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