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280 Young People Graduate from Conservation Jobs Corps

Successful summer parks program now in its fourth year


Edgemere, Md. (August 5, 2011) — Governor Martin O’Malley recognized 280 young people from across Maryland at today’s graduation of the Conservation Jobs Corps (CJC), formerly known as the Civic Justice Corps, at North Point State Park in Baltimore County. During the 5-week summer jobs program, which targets at-risk youth, Corps members worked in State parks across Maryland learning green job and team building skills, and developing a stewardship ethic and appreciation for Maryland’s natural resources. Governor O’Malley gave the keynote address to the graduates and their families who gathered to celebrate this special achievement.


“I want to congratulate the graduates on all of their hard work,” said Governor O’Malley. “The CJC helps cultivate a deeper appreciation of nature. Only through connecting children with the natural world are we creating the next generation of stewards and leading the effort to protect the future of Maryland’s natural resources.”


In 2008, Governor O’Malley expanded the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) to include the Civic Justice Corps—a summer employment program designed to provide at-risk youth with service opportunities in Maryland State Parks. The name has been changed to the Conservation Jobs Corps to better reflect the goals of the program. Now in its fourth year, the program has graduated a total of 820 kids.


"I learned you need to have a good work ethic in order to succeed," said Daquan Knight of Baltimore, Md. "It's nice to spend the day outside instead of in an office or indoors."


This year, MCC members, Maryland Park Service (MPS) staff and CJC crew chiefs led projects and provided mentoring for the five to eight-member CJC crews at Gunpowder Falls State Park, Patapsco Valley State Park, Susquehanna State Park, Assateague State Park, Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, and for the first time, the Gwynns Falls Trail Park in Baltimore City.


Their projects included trail maintenance, removing invasive species, planting trees, installing trail signs, building deer and turtle enclosures and many other basic landscaping and construction jobs. In conjunction with all of their hard word, the kids also go on kayaking, canoeing, fishing and camping trips to experience nature hands-on.


“CJC members gain so much from the opportunity to participate in this program, while providing the man-power that we need for the work that needs to be done in State parks,” said MPS Superintendent Nita Settina. “Last year the kids completed work that saved the State of Maryland over $2.7 million dollars.”


Select youth at each park were recognized with SPIRIT Awards at the ceremony, for having exemplified the SPIRIT principles (Stewardship, Professionalism, Initiative, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork).


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.


   August 5, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

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 www.dnr.maryland.gov