The History of the Maryland Conservation Corps

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The Maryland Conservation Corps was proposed by Governor Harry Hughes and approved by the Maryland General Assembly as one of 13 initiatives of the Chesapeake Bay Program. A young work force was targeted for recruitment to work on restoration projects in and around the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during the summer months. In addition to providing participants with work experience, MCC taught environmental science and job readiness skills.

The Maryland Conservation Corps expanded to include a year-round program, enabling young adults between the ages of 17-25, to learn and serve for a full year. The Program enlisted 40 members to serve year-round on projects at Rosaryville State Park, Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, Savage River State Park and Pocomoke River State Forest. The program focused on training young people extensively in park management, construction trades, tree care and hazardous tree removal, forest conservation, fisheries, and wildlife management.

MCC added two new crews: the Chesapeake Bay Crew and a Tree Care Crew.

The Maryland Conservation Corps received funding from the federal AmeriCorps program. Fifty members join for eleven months of service at Elk Neck State Park, Potomac/ Garrett State Forest, Pocomoke State Forest, Green Ridge State Forest, and near the Chesapeake Bay.

The MCC program was recognized for 10 years of conservation service with a Governor’s Citation from Governor Parris N. Glendening.

The MCC program received an Exemplary Conservation Award from the National Association for Service and Conservation Corps for its work monitoring and assessing stream conditions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The 20th Anniversary of the MCC program was recognized with a Commendation from the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, John C. Franks.

The MCC program expanded to seven crews, with established locations at: Susquehanna, Patapsco, Assateague, Tuckahoe, Greenwell, Merkle and Swallow Falls.

The MCC program celebrated 25 years of service.​

For the corps-wide Fall and Spring week-long projects, MCC Crews started treating Hemlock trees in Western Maryland to protect them against the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid pest. Members inject the trees with insecticide through the soil and tree roots to help protect the hemlocks from the invasive insect.

MCC received a Superintendent's Commendation in recognition of the program's efforts in protecting hemlock forests from the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid insect in Maryland State Parks.

Supervisor for the MCC crew at Patapsco Valley State Park, Ranger Jeffrey Mouton, received the Department of Natural Resources Employee of the Year Award. Click here to view the story.

Crew members continued to clean-up state parks following the destruction Hurricane Sandy left behind.

This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the MCC program.

MCC Alum, Ranger Chris Gleason-Smuck, received the AmeriCorps Alum Governor’s Service Award for outstanding volunteer service to the community.

The Maryland Conservation Corps celebrated the first annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness week June 4-12 by hosting a number of environmental education programs, invasive species removal projects, and guided hiking and canoeing trips.

All seven crews from across the state joined forces at Patapsco Valley State Park to assist with flood clean-up from the historic Ellicott City Flood that swept through the neighboring town and the park on May 27, 2018. The crews surveyed trails along the Patapsco River, bucked up trees that had fallen across the road, and picked up trash along the river.

All crews again joined forces to assist at Elk Neck State Park after the park was hit by a tornado in June. MCC and staff from multiple parks responded and were able to assess, open access, and mitigate many of the hazards created by the tornado.

All crews were able to continue working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Members supported the parks and assisted with the vaccine roll-out.

The MCC program expanded to eight crews and 42 members, with established locations at: Assateague State Park, Deep Creek Lake State Park, Gunpowder Falls State Park, Merkle Natural Resources Management Area, Patapsco Valley State Park, South Mountain Recreation Area, Susquehanna State Park and Tuckahoe State Park.

Members of the Maryland Conservation Corps, Veterans Conservation Corps, and Conservation Jobs Corps hosted the CEO of AmeriCorps, Michael Smith, for a site visit at Smallwood State Park in celebration of Earth Day. Members enjoyed a beautiful day of service, planting a variety of over 500 native plants to help stabilize the shoreline.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the MCC program. Alumni Projects have been held at Gunpowder Falls State Park, St. Clements Island State Park, and Deep Creek Lake State Park. We will be hosting more this fall. An Anniversary Celebration will take place on September 8, 2024 at Sandy Point State Park.
​MCC Members also became part of the Inaugural Class of President Biden’s American Climate Corps (ACC). ACC Members represent the best of a new generation of leaders – at the forefront of a national effort to tackle climate change.

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