Read here about GW Cincininnati’s work on the Mill Creek Greenway and the successful completion of yet another phase of the greenway. The planned 15-mile green corridor, which starts at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Carthage and will eventually reach the Ohio River Trail in Lower Price Hill, will help clean up one of the region’s most notoriously polluted corridors.
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.
Please see attachments for details about this exciting position based in Las Cruces, NM: GWDA Americorp VISTA Flyer
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.
by Sara Sell Smith, GWHV
Groundwork Hudson Valley is pleased to announce the completion of a new Saw Mill River park across the street from the 95 Walsh Road Municipal Housing residence in Yonkers, New York . The park, which includes a flagstone walkway, will give Walsh Road residents, mostly lower income seniors, safe access to the Saw Mill River, a place to enjoy nature, and a quiet, shady area with benches, chairs, and tables for games and cards. This project is part of Groundwork’s continuing efforts to restore the Saw Mill River and improve access to the river for the communities around it. The design, done by a senior at Saunders Trade and Technical High School, was completed after extensive input from Walsh Road residents, who shared ideas, concerns and solutions with Groundwork Staff at several tenants meetings during the spring of 2014.
Groundwork’s youth Green Team began construction of the park in July and finished a mere 1.5 months later in the beginning of August. The Green Team is comprised of students from Yonkers public high schools employed by Groundwork over the summer to learn construction, conservation, and leadership. The teens leveled the site, dug out the walkway, applied and smoothed sand and gravel, laid and sealed pavers, cut stones for trim, planted shrubs and flowers, and cleared invasive vines and debris from the river. Beyond the value of the park itself and the skills that the youth learned, the project provided a space for youth and seniors to come together around the improvement of their own community. They proved to each other that someone else does care about the Saw Mill River, its neighbors and its future.
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
A Washington Post Op Ed from Dennis Chestnut, Executive Director of GW Anacostia, offering ideas with concrete plans for the new Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, for revitalizing the Anacostia neighborhoods of Wards 7 & 8.
For Immediate Release
November 4, 2014
By Hilary Johnson
Most of us will never know what it feels like to receive a standing ovation from more than 600 people, but that’s just what happened recently to some young people from Groundwork Hudson Valley when their organization received an award from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck on the evening of October 24.
The Yonkers teens spoke to a capacity crowd at the opening ceremony for the annual Where We Go From Here conference, organized by the educational and retreat center, which included such notables as CNN commentator and green-jobs pioneer Van Jones, the evening’s keynote speaker, and Indian anti-GMO crusader Vandana Shiva.
The four teens — Joshua de los Santos, aged 17, Elijah Washington, 14, Samantha Robinson, 17, and Anderson de Aza, 15 — spoke about the work they do at Groundwork and what the organization, a nonprofit which revitalizes neglected communities through an array of on-the-ground environmental projects, has meant to them. When they finished, the crowd leapt to their feet with thunderous and sustained applause, recalled Curt Collier, deputy director for Groundwork Hudson Valley.
“It was great to see how the audience deeply appreciated them,” he said. “They were the center of attention, and it was terrific for them to have the opportunity to see so many other people who are energized about the environment.”
During their tenure as seasonal Green Team employees and volunteers at Groundwork this year, the young people have built a riverside “pocket” park in Yonkers for elderly municipal housing residents, restored hiking trails at Bear Mountain State Park and Shenandoah National Park, built local community gardens, and helped run Groundwork’s farmers’ market in Yonkers. Several of them also traveled to places like Chicago and Yellowstone National Park to work on environmental initiatives and represent Groundwork, which receives funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.
“We are so thankful to the Green Team youth for taking such active and important roles in their communities,” noted Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.
The four were selected to represent Groundwork Hudson Valley as they received the $10,000 Leadership in Sustainable Education Award from the Omega Institute. Also speaking that evening for Groundwork were Collier and Science Barge Education Director Jennifer Sloan, who shared her passion for teaching school children how growing fresh food off-the-grid, using only solar and wind power and rain water irrigation, offers hope for future generations.
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Hilary Johnson is a Mount Vernon-based freelance writer who also volunteers for Groundwork Hudson Valley.
Here’s the press release from the Omega Institute: OMEGA AWARD GROUNDWORK HUDSON VALLEY 2014 Press Release_ForImmediateRelease