News from the DNR Office of Communications

More Than 300 Young People Graduate From Civic Justice Corps Summer Jobs Program

Former Attorney General Joe Curran Addresses Graduates at North Point State Park

Edgemere, Md. (July 30, 2010) — Former Attorney General Joe Curran recognized 305 at-risk young people at today’s graduation of the Civic Justice Corps (CJC) at North Point State Park in Baltimore County. During the 5-week summer jobs program, Corps members worked in State Parks across Maryland, completing natural resource and park restoration projects, learning job and team building skills, and connecting with their natural world. Attorney General Curran gave the keynote address to the graduates and their families who gathered to celebrate this special achievement.

“I want to congratulate all the hard-working young men and women in the Civic Justice Corps,” said Attorney General Curran. “The Civic Justice Corps not only teaches these young people important life skills, but helps build an appreciation for the natural world, creating the next generation of stewards.”

In 2008, as part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, Governor Martin O’Malley expanded the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) — the state’s award winning AmeriCorps program — to include the Civic Justice Corps, a paid summer job opportunity and initiative for at-risk and court-involved Baltimore City youth. Now in its third year, the initiative has received a tremendous response: 118 young people graduated from the program in 2008, 202 in 2009, and more than 300 this year.

“Everyone wins with the Civic Justice Corps,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “Our kids gain valuable life skills, do great work for the Park Service and everyone shares in an incredibly rewarding experience.”

This year, MCC members, Maryland Park Service staff and CJC crew chiefs led projects and provided mentoring for the five-member CJC crews at Gunpowder, Patapsco Valley, North Point, Assateague, Seneca Creek and Susquehanna State Parks, as well as Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. Their projects included resource conservation, trail maintenance, forest buffer planting, creation of rain gardens, river, stream and beach clean-ups, identifying species of trees, and much more. In addition, CJC crew members learned about the natural world and had an opportunity to make a personal connection with nature through participation in additional outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping and artwork.

Throughout all their activities, crew leaders emphasized the importance of working as a team, job skills, and sustainability, which was apparent by the program’s end. Youth and staff alike agreed to abide by the program’s core values, which are represented as “SPIRIT” (Stewardship, Professionalism, Initiative, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork). Youth who best exemplify these values were awarded SPIRIT Awards at the graduation ceremony.

Building on the federal Civilian Conservation Corps established 75 years ago and the modern AmeriCorps, the Maryland Conservation Corps is an organization that engages young adults in extensive natural resource management and park conservation projects. Managed by the Maryland Park Service since 1984, the MCC provides members with opportunities for skill development and personal growth through a supportive, team-based environment, emphasizing the satisfaction of completing projects that benefit Maryland's natural resources.

   July 30, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

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. Implementation of the Partnership’s Report and Recommendations — presented to Governor O’Malley in April — is underway.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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 11 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