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Trust Seeks to Inspire Conservation Careers Virtually

With so many summer programs cancelled by the pandemic, the Trust is working with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation to develop a series of virtual seminars geared towards inspiring teens to pursue careers in conservation and the National Park Service (NPS). 

The seminars, to be delivered to young people participating in the county’s summer programs, include interviews with a variety of NPS employees about their careers and how they got their start with the Park Service. Teens will also learn how to navigate USA Jobs, the application website for federal government employment. 

CJC crew members at the Swains Lockhouse Ribbon Cutting in July 2019.

Callie Fishburn, our Chesapeake Bay Trust member, is developing the content which aligns with the goals of the Trust’s Canal For All program’s “work” component to provide job skills training and summer employment opportunities for underserved youth.  In the summer of 2019, the Trust hosted a Conservation Jobs Corps (CJC) program in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, in partnership with Montgomery County’s TeenWorks program and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Youth crews spent five weeks in the Park working on maintenance and beautification projects under the supervision of the Trust’s CJC Coordinator. 

The Trust planned to host several CJC projects in the Park this summer, but, due to the pandemic, we have had to shift gears.  Callie is also developing sessions focused on invasive species in the Park and conservation. Earlier this year, she received a mini-grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to purchase environmental conservation and education supplies for two Canal For All partners to use in developing their own conservation programming. Some of the funds were used to purchase materials to support future CJC programs and other outdoor work programs. These materials include reusable water bottles to distribute to youth to minimize the use of plastic water bottles and nature ID guides specific to Maryland and DC. 

Assuming the pandemic is contained by then, the Trust plans to once again host the CJC in the Park next summer, with funding from the Montgomery County Council. These funds will enable us to hire a Canal For All Coordinator to implement recreational, volunteer, and educational projects in the spring and lead the five-week CJC program in the summer. 

Read more about the CJC program and its activities in 2019 here.