Here is a great video put together by the Groundwork youth who worked in Shenandoah National Park this summer, talking about their experiences and what it meant to them. Thanks to Shenandoah National Park, Groundwork Anacostia River DC, Groundwork Richmond, VA, and Groundwork Hudson Valley, NY, for this great collaboration that made this summer youth service camp possible. We hope to continue it next summer!
Check out this video from Yellowstone this summer!
In its third year now, this program brought 53 Groundwork youth from across the country together to work at Yellowstone National Park over the course of two weeks in August 2014, as part of a partnership between Groundwork USA and the National Park Service (NPS). Groundwork youth from urban centers across the country are working alongside Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) staff on a variety of maintenance projects for the park. The purpose of this unique collaboration is to give the youth the opportunity to work with conservation professionals outside their hometowns and to see their important work back home as part of a broader environmental movement. Groundwork USA was thrilled that the YCC within Yellowstone National Park was able to arrange for two sessions of the program to take place – thanks to Deputy Chief of Resource Education & Youth Programs, Judy Knuth Folts, Youth Program Manager Bob Fuhrmann, and YCC co-directors Mike Coonan and Laura Del Ross. This program was also financially supported by the Washington DC Youth Program Office of NPS and the National Park Foundation.
Here’s a glimpse of their first day this summer: The youth flew into Bozeman, Montana and were greeted by YCC staff who transported the youth to the YCC camp near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. The youth checked into their dorms, received hard hats and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and their uniforms. The evening included fun and games and ice breakers to help start things off. The youth were then divided into three teams and the next morning headed off to their various work sites which included axing bumber logs to keep drivers on the road, painting picnic tables throughout norther Yellowstone, and working on the Mandrake trail. That evening they learned all about bears within Yellowstone and how to protect themselves in an encounter. This included practice with bear spray on willing “bears.”
And here we have some fun and inspiring conversations with Jairo from Lawrence, MA, Adrian from Las Cruces, NM, and Ashante from Denver, CO, all loving their time at Yellowstone.
More news to come!
Groundwork USA’s in-depth webinars on strategies for reclaiming brownfields at varying stages of that process can be found here.
A former Yonkers Green Teamer, now interning at Yellowstone National Park, narrates here how her experience with Groundwork Hudson Valley transformed her relationship with the natural environment, as well as her understanding of family, community, and neighborhood.
The Partnership for a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a diverse group of private, public, and nonprofit partners announced a list of “100 Projects to Restore America” at an Aspen Institute-sponsored summit in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Friday. The 100 projects showcase the variety of work being completed this year non-profits across the country, and includes Groundwork USA’s Yellowstone Program, Groundwork Doña Ana’s Xeriscape Las Cruces and Groundwork Anacostia’s Urban Archeology Corps, projects that will restore vital ecological habitat and train youth in the skills and experience to become the next great generation of American conservation and community leaders. Congratulations to Groundwork Dona Ana and Anacostia, and to the Groundwork network!
Check out this cool video, One Day with Groundwork Denver. This is part of a TV Series and Geo-tagged archive featuring stories that matter most to people in the community, a historic film project that gives people the power to tell their unique story and show the world what a day in the life of their city is like—through their eyes.
Additionally, this project will result in a TV series on the future of American cities that will feature select captured footage and run on local PBS affiliates. To learn more about the project, click here.
Former Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Takes the Helm
YONKERS, NY March 26, 2014
Groundwork USA, a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving quality of life in underserved communities, has named Stephen Burrington to the role of Executive Director effective immediately. Burrington, a veteran of state government, brings to Groundwork USA more than two decades of leadership experience in sustainability, community development and environmental protection. Burrington assumes the role from Rick Magder, who has served as Executive Director of Groundwork USA since 2007.
“We are incredibly excited to have Steve at the helm as we enter the next phase of organizational growth and development,” said Maggie Super Church, Board Chair for Groundwork USA. “Steve brings a tremendous track record in the non-profit, government, and philanthropic sectors, along with a compelling vision for the organization and a deep commitment to our mission of changing places and changing lives.”
Groundwork USA is a national organization with local roots in 20 communities, engaging local businesses, residents and government officials to revitalize neighborhoods, improve quality of life in underserved communities, build cross-sector partnerships, and create sustainable community change. New Groundwork Trusts are invited to join the network through a rigorous selection process led by the National Park Service, one of Groundwork’s key federal partners. Core support for Groundwork USA also comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ford Foundation.
Since 2007, Burrington has been a consultant to state and local leaders and diverse private sector organizations across the nation, planning and helping implement strategies in sustainable land use, transportation, and energy. His clients have included the US EPA; governors’ offices, state cabinet officials and mayors; environmental, business, and community development organizations; national foundations; and developers of renewable energy and transit-oriented development projects.
“Groundwork USA combines the Trusts’ ability to effect change at the local level with the know-how and resources of a nationwide network,” said Burrington. “That’s exactly what the next era of environmental progress requires, and exactly what we need to reach the goal of ‘no community left behind.’”
“I have watched Groundwork Trusts in action for a decade,” he continued, “and am amazed by their ability to grapple with complexity, overcome difficult circumstances and accomplish great things.”
Burrington was formerly Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, where he led the formation of the nation’s sixth-largest and most diverse state parks, natural resources and infrastructure agency. He also served as undersecretary in the Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development, where he created nationally recognized programs for advancing sustainable development in cities and town centers. Before entering state government, Burrington was Vice President and General Counsel for the Conservation Law Foundation, New England’s leading environmental advocacy organization. He began his career as an attorney with the civil legal services program for low-income people in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and University of Michigan Law School.
Groundwork Trusts are located in small and medium-sized cities, neighborhoods within larger cities, and rural communities that have suffered from the twin challenges of environmental degradation and economic decline. With input from local stakeholders, Groundwork Trusts train and employ local residents in green jobs; restore rivers that have been polluted and neglected; turn brownfields and vacant land into parks, trails and gardens; develop farmers’ markets and urban agriculture; and engage young people in community-based environmental leadership programs. Groundwork USA supports the local Trusts through capacity-building, fundraising, technical assistance, and documentation and sharing of best practices. Groundwork USA also works with partners and funders to inform national policy by holding up lessons learned on the ground in diverse communities across the country.
Between April 3rd and April 6th, 2014, Groundwork USA will host its annual National Assembly & Youth Summit (originally scheduled for October 2013 and postponed due to the federal shutdown) at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
If you are Groundwork personnel, please REGISTER HERE.
If you are a federal or non-profit partner, please REGISTER HERE.
A more detailed agenda is being finalized. For the moment, here’s a rough outline of events:
THURSDAY APRIL 3rd
6:00pm Welcome Reception & Dinner for the Groundwork Network
FRIDAY APRIL 4th
9:00am-3:00pm Groundwork Youth: Investing in the Next Generation of Conservation-Minded Sustainable Community Builders
This morning-through-early afternoon forum will engage Groundwork USA’s federal partners in a dynamic and interactive conversation with Groundwork Green Team youth ambassadors, youth program leaders, and practitioners from underserved Groundwork communities. Forums held during past Groundwork Youth Summits have inspired the robust youth corps and job training programs happening on federal lands with Trusts across the Groundwork USA Network. This event celebrates that work, and also the National Park Service’s Call to Action.
We have planned an engaging agenda that involves:
• Groundwork youth making presentations about their work to improve their communities;
• Senior level NPS, EPA, and FWS staff as guest speakers; and
• A series of interactive discussions between all parties about fostering greater connections between public lands (as well as their agencies) and youth from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
For more information on our national youth development program called “Green Team”, take a look at 7 recently completed profiles of young people emerging from Groundwork Green Team programs across our national network. Here’s a more broad-brush update on our youth development endeavors network-wide.
3:30-5:00pm Network-Only Program
Groundwork USA AND EPA-facilitated discussion among EDs, youth, and youth leaders on Environmental Justice
SATURDAY APRIL 5th (all-day at NCTC)
Groundwork USA Assembly for Trust Executive Directors
SATURDAY APRIL 5th (all-day at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park)
Groundwork USA Youth Summit for Youth Leaders and Green Team Youth Ambassadors
The NCTC facility, a US Fish and Wildlife Service property, is a 1 – 1.5 hour drive from BWI (Baltimore) and downtown Washington, DC, respectively.
Please check back here for detailed agenda and more conference info.
Groundwork USA is greatly honored to have been chosen by the National Park Service for the Department of Interior’s 2013 Partners in Conservation award, which recognizes Groundwork USA’s outstanding contribution to conservation nationwide through community engagement and cooperation with local, state and federal partners.
“We are truly honored to have been selected by the National Park Service for the work we have done over the last decade to transform the lives of young people in their own communities and on public lands,” said Rick Magder, Executive Director of Groundwork USA, accepting the award from the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on behalf of the 19 Groundwork Trusts in the network. “We are incredibly proud of our staff at Groundwork Trusts across the country, the partners we have in the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the young people we reach and mentor to become the conservation leaders of tomorrow.”
Please see Groundwork USA’s full press release for more details: GWUSA DOI Conservation Award Press Release Jan 16 2014. And here is the DOI Press Release.