Mickey Fearn joins the Groundwork USA board

December 29th, 2014

We are honored to announce the appointment of Mickey Fearn to the Groundwork USA Board!

Mr. Fearn, currently Professor of Practice at North Carolina State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, is the former Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance at the National Park Service (NPS), where he worked tirelessly to increase the participation of currently underrepresented groups in our parks.

Mickey Fearn has been a public servant for over 43 years. Before joining NPS, he served the City of Seattle, Washington, where he created and directed a summer youth program for Seattle Parks and Recreation aimed at connecting urban youth to the natural world while promoting personal responsibility and healthy lifestyles. While in Seattle, Mr. Fearn held positions as the manager of the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, director of the City’s Innovation Project and director of Seattle’s Neighborhood Leadership Program. He also served as a Washington State Parks and Recreation commissioner for 12 years. Prior to his work in Seattle, Mr. Fearn worked for the Governor of California, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Mayor of Oakland, California.

At NCSU, in addition to teaching classes, Mickey Fearn works with the College of Natural Resources’ (CNR’s) Community for Diversity in Natural Resources to address its challenges regarding diversity and inclusion and engaging in cross-campus diversity activities. He is also working with local government and non-profits to engage communities of color in ecology and environmental activities, and connecting federal agencies to the important research and work that CNR is doing.

Mickey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation and Park Administration at California State University, and his Master of Science degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Oregon.

Groundwork Somerville Goes to Groundwork Northern Ireland

December 2nd, 2014 Groundwork Somerville Goes to Groundwork Northern Ireland

by Chris Mancini, Executive Director of Groundwork Somerville

From November 8-18 this year, I traveled first to Dublin and then to Belfast to experience the “rule of law” in all its forms as a part of an exchange program hosted by Boston College’s Irish Institute. This was the second part of an exchange, which began when we hosted Ciaran Shannon of Groundwork Northern Ireland for 3 weeks back in May.

From meeting with political leaders at the Dáil (parliament) one day, to touring a community policing station and sitting in with a pro bono legal nonprofit the next, we were given an inside look at how the Republic of Ireland keeps itself running. Two big differences we noticed were that there are four major political parties (FOUR!) and the fact that the police guard take an active role in diverting potential offenders out of the legal system, rather than simply enforcing and arresting and leaving it up to the courts.

But the heart of my trip lay up north in Belfast. Spending two days with Ciaran and Groundwork Northern Ireland led to some sobering realizations about the work we do here in Massachusetts, as well as the great potential we have to effect change. On the face of things, Groundwork Somerville and Groundwork Northern Ireland are performing some very similar jobs creating green spaces in urban areas, engaging community in public processes and creating jobs and training opportunities for youth. However, Groundwork Northern Ireland is performing this work in a city that until just 10 years ago (or even less) was regularly rocked by extreme violence. To this day, some groups are still trying to destabilize the peace that has been created, and which Groundwork Northern Ireland strives every day to preserve and increase. Ciaran and his colleagues target “interfaces”, or streets and locations at the juncture of Loyalist and Nationalist neighborhoods, to do their work, which includes building community gardens (allotments), taking down “Peace Walls” and bringing Catholics and Protestants together to talk about their hopes for the future.

Read the whole post here.

Job Opening: NPS hiring AmeriCorps Fellow to work with GWUSA!

November 11th, 2014

This NPS-RTCA AmeriCorps Fellow will be located in the NPS office in downtown Boston, MA, starting in January 2015 for year, and will spend about 75% of his/her time working on a range of cool projects for Groundwork USA. Please check out this job description for details here: NPS-RTCA AmeriCorps Fellow 2015 (with Groundwork USA) – Boston MA

Groundwork USA is hiring!

October 24th, 2014

We are pleased to announce that Groundwork USA is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Manager of Land and Water Programs.

Please review the job description here:

Manager, Land and Water Programs

Applications are due no later than November 24, 2014.

Groundwork Youth Inspire at Shenandoah National Park

September 15th, 2014

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!

Groundwork Youth Get Hands on Experience Working at Yellowstone NP

August 28th, 2014

Check out this video from Yellowstone this summer!

Groundwork News from Yellowstone 2014

August 25th, 2014 Groundwork News from Yellowstone 2014

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.

Adrian Avila YS 2014

Ashante Kwon Harris YS 2014

Jairo Hernandez YS 2014

More news to come!

GWUSA’s Brownfields Webinars now on-line!

August 20th, 2014

Groundwork USA’s in-depth webinars on strategies for reclaiming brownfields at varying stages of that process can be found here.

Yonkers to Yellowstone: Ashley’s Journey

August 7th, 2014

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.

GW Dona Ana, GW Anacostia and GW USA: Named Under 21 CSC’s 100 Projects to Restore America

June 12th, 2014

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!