Field News Recap- May 2024

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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 with all of our crew members and leaders for the season and look forward to hearing about the great things they do after their time with Northwest Youth Corps!”

Throughout the month of May, the Urban and Community Forestry Crews have also been busy and dedicated to enhancing their community through various important projects up to their May 10th graduation.

The UCF Red Crew partnered with Friends of Trees for a series of tree planting events, adding greenery and improving urban landscapes. They continued their efforts in storm debris cleanup from the infamous January ice storm, diligently managing woodchip piles at Mount Pisgah/Friends of Buford Park. The crew also visited the native plant garden at Mount Pisgah, where they admired the vibrant purple flowers in full bloom. Additionally, they worked with the City of Eugene’s Urban Forestry department to maintain bioswales (a vegetated channel that manages stormwater by streets), ensuring these structures function effectively to manage stormwater and support local biodiversity.

The Brown Crew worked with the City of Eugene on street tree maintenance, including placing water bags, staking out trees, weeding, and mulching. Additionally, they tackled the aggressive Scotch broom, an invasive shrub known for its bright yellow flowers and rapid spread, which can outcompete native vegetation and disrupt local ecosystems. The crew also collaborated with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a wetland area, contributing to habitat preservation and restoration efforts.

Some key accomplishments from our UCF crews this session:

1,000+ cubic yards of fuels and invasive plats removed

300+ trees intentionally watered, weeded, mulched, and/or maintained

66 trees planted or replanted

3,700+ hours served

Our Community Wildfire Protection Crews were also hard at work before their graduation ceremony on May 3rd. Throughout their session, their work impacted 451 individuals by protecting 171 dwellings and improving 8 acres of land. 

Some positive feedback from the community:

"I was overwhelmed by the amount of work we needed to do to make our home safe. The crew came in and in a short time made a huge difference. They went above and beyond."

"They showed up each day with a can-do attitude and worked tirelessly each and every day. If all of our young folks had this type of work ethic our world would be a better place. We are beyond grateful for their terrific work. The department should be proud to have a group of young men like this on their staff. Kudos to each and every one of them. Again, please let them know how much we appreciate all of their hard work. We wish them the best of luck in whatever the future holds for them. Forever grateful."

Washington:

Washington Urban and Community Forestry crews wrapped up their 12-week session this month, having worked with six project partners and clocking in 4,320 total hours between the seven members and two crew leaders.

Some highlights include:

6 acres of invasives removed
62 bags of invasives collected
848 live stakes planted
120 ft of fencing installed
20 tree fences built
4 structures demolished
5 invasive trees removed

Idaho Conservation Corps:

Idaho Conservation Corps’ (ICC) first-ever Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Young Adult crews concluded their 12-week session on May 10th. Under the guidance of two dedicated leaders, eight members graduated, marking the end of a productive season with impressive PowerPoint presentations showcasing their projects and accomplishments. The graduation ceremony was a highlight, with a few of our project partners in attendance. They celebrated the occasion with heartfelt speeches, expressing their gratitude and congratulations for the crews’ hard work. The graduates received shirts, pins, and other gifts as tokens of appreciation. Notably, one member and one leader from this crew have decided to continue with ICC for the summer, co-leading one of our UCF Youth Crews.

On May 18th, our two Young Adult (YA) Camping crews also celebrated their graduation, concluding a 10-week stint of camping and working across the Gem State. These crews, comprised of two leaders and seven members, ended their term with surveying work in collaboration with the Idaho City Ranger District of the Boise National Forest. Their tasks included both timber and silviculture surveys, in addition to a week dedicated to invasive species management and fencing projects with the Army Corps of Engineers in John Day, OR.

The busy month continued May 21st, with all ICC leaders, including youth camping, YA camping, and UCF Youth community leads, convening for further training and preparation. Our 12 camping crew leaders embarked on training in the Idaho City area, focusing on essential skills such as trail maintenance and operating saws. Meanwhile, our four UCF leaders remained in the Treasure Valley for local training. Their activities included meeting with project partners, invasive species removal and treatment, as well as tree and plant identification and maintenance techniques.

This comprehensive training ensures that our leaders are well-prepared to tackle the upcoming projects and continue the ICC’s mission of environmental stewardship and community service. The efforts and dedication of our crews and leaders throughout May highlight the impactful work being done and set a strong foundation for the summer.

Internship Programs:

NYC currently has 55 interns serving with various partners, and 31 will begin their term of service in June and July.

Kevin K. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Dam – Natural Resource Steward AmeriCorps Member: Surveying for painted/pond turtles, (western painted turtle pictured).

Hannah A. – Boise National Forest (NF) – Hydrologic Technician Resource Assistant: Planting Ponderosa Pine on a decommissioned and recontoured logging road.

Hannah standing opposite Lowman School children, teaching them about how water moves across the landscape with the Watershed stream table trailer.

Benjamin C. – Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve – Natural Resource Management (Vegetation) AmeriCorps Member: Checking hazard trees.

Ava C. – Payette NF – Forestry Technician (Silviculture): Doing plots in logging units.

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