Field News Recap – April
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.
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, WA. This new initiative focuses on clearing a forest service road that cuts through town and can be used as a strategic fire break in case of a wildfire.
In the final week of April, one of the crews helped clear and chip woody vegetation along the road to widen the firebreak. The crew is really excited about working with locals and the impact they are making in the community. This new partnership spans for 4 weeks throughout April and will end in May.
With snow still on the ground in Idaho our Idaho Conservation Corps crews teamed up with Northwest Youth Corps in Washington and Oregon.
Our ICC women’s crew partnered with Washington Department of Natural Resources on a forestry thinning project near a middle school. They also installed a rock fire prevention wall around a conservancy building. Now they have headed to work on a project with Prineville Bureau of Land Management.
Our young adult crew has also been working with Washington DNR, but in the Olympic Peninsula. Some crew members have said that it was the most beautiful place they have ever seen. The crew is now headed to the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon where they will complete trail work with project partners.
Our Community Wildfire Protection Corps currently has 5 crews who have completed fuel reduction work on over 70 homes in Lane, Josephine and Jackson Counties since March 6th.
Success story from David Reed Phares:
“I had the honor of working as one of two Crew Supervisors during the inaugural session of Northwest Youth Corp’s Community Wildfire Protection Corps, as well as during subsequent sessions. I currently work in the Regional Office of the U.S. Forest Service as a Resource Assistant and Digital Media Specialist. My time with Northwest Youth Corps allowed me to build critical leadership skills, as well as participate in direct service to communities in need. As a member of Community Wildfire Protection Corps (CWPC), my crew and I provided wildfire risk reduction work to private property owners completely free of cost to the property owner, while building skillsets needed to continue working in natural resources. It is not an exaggeration to say that allowed me to become the person I am today – a year later. Working in CWPC allowed me to make the leap from seasonal conservation work to a renewable (every 3-4 months) position as a crew supervisor, and from there as a Resource Assistant with the Forest Service.”
Quote from property owner survey result, who received CWPC work in Central Point, Oregon. Terri Williamson says:
“I am terrified at the thought of a wildfire. I am elderly and I have to think about getting my elderly father to safety, who I am the sole caretaker for. The thought of being safer in our own homes…it’s such a bonus that we had this work done. They did an outstanding job of clean-up on my property. They got rid of blackberry, they got things limbed up close to the house. I would hire the crew that worked for me in a heartbeat. They were the best. They did an outstanding job, and I would highly recommend them to anybody. They worked so good as a team. I think they made my home safe, and that was such an issue for me. I really think these are all exceptional workers who worked very hard, and worked well together. Your scale only goes from a 1 to 5, but they’re about a 6, 7, or 8! Just keep doing the good work.”
During April, our Internships department has been heavily focused on recruiting and onboarding dozens of new Interns with partnering agencies such as the National Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and National Park Service.
Emilio Raul Gonzalez is currently serving as a Visitors Services Intern with Klondike National Historical Park. Emilio will work to help engage and educate park visitors. Emilio is leading a snowshoeing activity with youth with National Park Partner organization Outdoor Asian, a non-profit with the vision “to create a diverse and inclusive community of Asian and Pacific Islanders in the outdoors.”