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Maryland Conservation Corps Celebrates A Quarter Century
MCC was the inspiration behind successful and growing Civic Justice Corps
Ellicott City, Md. — More than 100 people joined Former Governor Harry Hughes, Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin and several other dignitaries to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC). The MCC is an award winning AmeriCorps program focusing on natural resource management and park conservation projects.
“For the past 25 years, the MCC has been a great steward of Maryland’s natural resources,” Said Governor Martin O’Malley. "The extraordinary vision of Governor Hughes was the inspiration for the Civic Justice Corps (CJC), which we created last year to provide summer jobs and meaningful outdoor experiences to at risk and adjudicated youth."
"It is wonderful to see this program, which we started 25 years ago, not only survive, but flourish in connecting young people with our environment," said former Governor Harry R. Hughes.
In April 2008, Governor O’Malley expanded the MCC to include the CJC, a summer job and environmental education opportunity for at-risk youth. MCC crew members and Maryland Park Service staff supervised projects and provided mentoring for 8-member crews. 200 youth participated in the program in 2008, completing projects to enhance Gunpowder State Park, Patapsco Valley State Park and North Point state Park. This year, CJC has expanded to three additional parks, including Assateague Island, Susquehanna State Park, and Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, and has more than 260 youth involved.
Participants learned valuable lessons about the environment through participation in outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and art work. The program was made possible, in part, by a $4 million increase for Maryland State Parks.
“This year we have seen exciting changes in the program,” said Captain Peyton Taylor, “We have created positive partnerships with local organizations, such as the Harford County Sheriff’s office, to help develop and implement some amazing enrichment activities for the participants.”
To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps, a summer job and environmental education program that employs at risk youth in Maryland State Parks, and recently issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. A plan to implement the Partnership’s Report and Recommendations – presented to Governor O’Malley in April -- is under development. During the 2009 legislative session, the O’Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland’s #1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.5 billion.
June 1, 2009
Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 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 12 million visitors annually. 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