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White House Honors Anthony Ciocco, Southwest Conservation Corps Crew Leader, as a “Champion of Change” in engaging Next-Generation Leaders


WASHINGTON, DC –March 18, 2014 – The White House today honored fourteen local heroes who are actively engaging communities and youth in environmental stewardship. The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.  Anthony Ciocco, Ancestral Lands Crew Leader for Conservation Legacy’s Southwest Conservation Corps, was recognized today for his extraordinary efforts to engage and lead Native American youth.

About Anthony: Anthony, or “Chako” as his crew refers to him, leads ecological restoration crews on the Navajo Nation. Under Anthony’s leadership his crews of local Native youth work to rebuild damaged ecosystems and build trails to provide outdoor access to local communities. In his work, Anthony accomplished extremely challenging and important conservation projects, while at the same time giving crew members a deep and hard-earned sense of accomplishment, enabling them to move forward in their professional and personal lives. The example he sets for others makes him a Champion of Change.

Anthony strongly believes that reclaiming well-being in Native communities is a highly integrative process including our landscapes, cultures, languages, and our mental and physical health. Anthony, a member of the Mvskoke tribe of the Creek Nation, co-founded a non-profit devoted to restoration of traditional language and culture. He has also worked extensively in restoring traditional food systems and received the Live Real Food Fellowship. The University of Colorado Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) awarded Anthony a grant to fund his work with the Indigenous Training and Resource Council.

“When I took up conservation corps work I did not realize how much it would impact the lives of my crew members, nor the impact our work would have on the environment,” said Anthony. “I have found that it is perhaps the most radical form of supporting and empowering our young people to fulfill their own destinies. So it’s with great appreciation that I thank the White House for honoring me and this concept. At its core, conservation work is about helping things grow and I hope my example continues to do that.”  To read Anthony’s official White House blog visit: .

“The White House Champions of Change award is a fitting recognition of Anthony’s environmental stewardship and leadership. He works tirelessly to improve outdoor access on the Navajo Nation,” Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet said. “In true Colorado fashion, Anthony, and the Southwest Conservation Corps, are dedicated to furthering opportunities for all of us to get outside and appreciate the outdoors, while also teaching countless young people the importance of being good stewards of our natural resources.”

Anthony’s work with the Ancestral Lands program at the Southwest Conservation Corps is an example of the amazing work being done throughout Conservation Legacy’s various programs nationally.

Conservation Legacy: Conservation Legacy is not a new organization; it is the rebranding and restructuring of the Southwest Conservation Corps, and including other programs such as the Arizona Conservation Corps, Western Hardrock Watershed Team, Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, Environmental Stewards, and Southeast Youth Corps. Conservation Legacy’s mission is to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment.  Conservation Legacy accomplishes this mission in two ways:

  1. Conservation Legacy programs employ, engages and train a diverse group of young women and men.  In 2013 Conservation Legacy programs engaged 709 young people, veterans and crew leaders in residential and day service programs providing them with paid work, job training, education, life skills and the opportunity to make a difference.
  2. Conservation Legacy programs complete conservation projects for the public benefit.  In 2013 Conservation Legacy programs completed over 350,000 hours of service maintaining recreational trails and open space, protecting communities from wildfire, preserving wildlife habitat, and more.

Conservation Legacy has been a national leader in the growing movement to engage more young Americans in conservation service through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC)

The 21CSC: As a part of the administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, President Obama established the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) to create quality jobs, career pathways and service opportunities for youth and veterans. The 21CSC is built on the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); the Great Depression-era federal program that employed over 6 million young men on public lands. With the support of public agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations, the 21CSC puts young Americans and Veterans to work on service and conservation projects. Like the CCC, the 21CSC improves our parks and community spaces while providing young people with job training and life skills development. Unlike the CCC, this modern corps program is operated through a public-private partnership, rather than being solely federally operated. This public-private partnership is led by the Partnership for the 21CSC, and the National Council for the 21CSC. To learn more please visit .




Eugenie Bostrom, Dir. of Strategic Partnerships and Communications

Conservation Legacy



Join Us At The Annual Youth Corps Awards Ceremony!

We’re proud to honor Auston Craig, who has been named a 2013 Corpsmember of the Year! We’re excited to celebrate this great achievement at the annual Youth Corps Awards Ceremony, coming up at the Colorado State Capitol on Feb. 3! Congratulations, Auston!

Come Join Us:

Annual Youth Corps Awards Ceremony (no charge)
Monday, February 3, 2014, 8:00 am
Colorado State Capitol, Old Supreme Court Chambers

Celebratory Brunch – 10:30 am ($35)
Warwick Hotel, 1776 Grant St., Denver


RSVP by January 27

At the awards ceremony we will be honoring:

2013 Champion for Youth
Former Secretary of the Interior and U.S. Senator Ken Salazar

2013 Legislators of the Year
State Representative Don Coram and State Representative Mike McLachlan


Ancestral Lands Youth Conservation Corps – A Summary of the Year!






Veterans Day – thoughts from a Veteran Fire AmeriCorps Program Member

I have served over 11 years in the US military both in the active Army and the Army reserves, in that time I have seen some of the greatest accomplishments done by ordinary people in the times of need. Ordinary people no different than any other, except for the fact they volunteered to raise their right hand and pledged to serve the United States. I’ve also seen the greatest sacrifice one can give, those who give their all to protect what is most important to them, whether it be for god and country, friends and family back home, or even ones brothers and sisters in arms.  Veterans day shouldn’t just be important to me but to ALL those across the United States, to be a veteran of the current, past, or even in the future era shows what commitment that an ordinary citizen can achieve to better not only themselves but their fellow countrymen/women. Veterans day is a symbol of what made this country so great, a country that is full of Pride and Honor.

I’m thankful for all the experiences that I have learned and received from being a veteran, and I’m grateful in the opportunity to be a member of the Veteran Fire AmeriCorps Program, so that there is a way that I could give back to not only to the community but back to the country that I Iove so much. The skills I learn here, I hope to someday be able to pass to the next generation of veterans as they find it is their time to leave the service and pursue other goals in life. I find that VFC enforce the values I’ve learned as a veteran and allow me to become a better person, a person of Strong Morals, and Character.

Curtis Brotherston

Veteran Fire CORPS 484


SCC Official 21CSC Program!

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) today announced that Southwest Conservation Corps is one of 91 initial organizations nationwide that have been approved as member organizations to help implement the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC). The 21CSC is a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s natural and cultural resources.

The 21CSC engages young Americans aged 15-25, and veterans up to age 35. Through the 21CSC, young people and veterans will accomplish meaningful work, gaining important personal and professional skills and builds a lifelong connection to the outdoors.

All 21CSC participants gain skills, and deliver results that include enhancing recreational opportunities and access, protecting wildlife, restoring impaired watersheds, removing invasive species, increasing energy efficiency, preserving historic or cultural sites, enhancing community spaces, coordinating volunteers, supporting monitoring or data needs, responding to natural disasters, reducing hazardous fuels and protecting communities from wildfire.

Increasing diversity and expanding opportunities for all youth and veterans are core 21CSC principles: all 21CSC member organizations emphasize diversity and inclusion, and the 21CSC National Council will focus in the coming months on recruiting additional member organizations, targeting new programs in diverse areas, and investing in training and career pathways for a diverse group of participants.

The 21CSC is supported by the federal 21CSC National Council, which includes members from USDA, DOI, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Environmental Quality, and by the Partnership for the 21CSC, which was launched in June of 2013 as a collaborative group to support the 21CSC.

For more information, visit the partner-hosted website and see the USDA/DOI blog here.


Civilian Conservation Corps Celebrates 80th Anniversary with National Event in Tucson along with Southwest Conservation Corps’ 15th Anniversary

Civilian Conservation Corps Celebrates 80th Anniversary with National Event in Tucson along with Southwest Conservation Corps’ 15th Anniversary

 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Legacy, Inc. will hold its national celebration of the 80th anniversary of the CCC in Tucson, AZ October 24-27.  CCC Legacy expects CCC alumni to join in the events along with other supporters, family, and friends.  Over the four-day event, alumni and participants will hear from experts about the CCC’s impact in Arizona, mingle with authors of books about the CCC, and celebrate with a service project at the Desert Museum.  Keynote speakers include Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, US Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and Corporation for National and Community Service Deputy Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), with an office in Tucson, will co-host the event and celebrate its 15th anniversary.  SCC, an AmeriCorps program, enables a new generation to carry on the CCC’s ethic of environmental stewardship.  Nearly 7,000 AmeriCorps members serve in this capacity nationwide, including 700 young people and veterans who serve with SCC each year.  Built on the legacy of the CCC, SCC embodies the same principles of hard work, lasting impact, and individual growth.

“We are thrilled to be coming to Tucson to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the CCC,” said Joan Sharpe, CCC Legacy’s President.  “Arizona has a strong history of conservation service, and Tucson is an ideal location to celebrate the six million men and the tremendous legacy they left for America.”

“SCC is built on the legacy of the CCC, so it is an incredible honor for SCC to host this important national celebration,” said Rob Spath, Executive Director of SCC’s Arizona programs.  “Each year hundreds of young people and returning Veterans at SCC commit to improving recreation access, protecting communities from wildfire, and strengthening Arizona’s national resources.”

The following events are open to the public:

  • A session on Arizona history and the CCC (Friday at 8:15 am, Riverpark Inn)
  • An author’s panel and book signing (Friday at 3:00 pm, Riverpark Inn)
  • A community service project (Saturday at 10:00 am, Desert Museum)


 CCCLegacy is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, preservation, and education to promote a better understanding of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its continuing contribution to the American life and culture.  The Southwest Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program, is one of today’s leading conservation corps that provides jobs and service opportunities for hundreds of young people each year throughout the Southwest.  For more information, visit and


Challenge, Doubt, Empowerment and Appreciation

I looked around, at the end of our second hitch at Disappointment  Creek, feeling satisfied. Hiking down the trail to the work site, I was last in line today. From up on the hill that overlooks our site one can see the work we’ve accomplished by the shape of the landscape. That visual confirmation of our achievement recharged me every day, as the completed section grew. I remember walking down the same hill on the first day of this project and feeling so daunted and it seems safe to say that we all doubted our ability, as brand new sawyers, to remove all of the Tamarisk that dominated the scenery. By the end it became comforting to look down the hill and see the crew, saws-over-shoulders, heading in for another day of Tamarisk removal.


Despite all of the time we spend talking about all the things we intend to do on our time off, I know that I am in no rush to leave this space beneath the cottonwoods, surrounded by willow thickets and ankle-deep in mud. I have been reflecting, recently, on what aspect of this job is the toughest, here is what I’ve got for you:

The work is challenging, sure; it is continuous and physically demanding, but it is only difficult if you let it get to you. I’m beginning to feel that the hardest part of the job is getting out of your sleeping bag at 5am when you can see frost covering the Junipers outside. Even so, there’s a trick that I’ve found helpful: just remember that it will warm up sooner or later and, sure enough, the day will end and find you, once again, curled up in your sleeping bag hours away from waking up again. Of course, the pressure of your job’s future relying, to some extent, on your ability and willingness to bear the cold morning time is also an undoubtedly powerful motivator.

I applied for SCC’s chainsaw crew to learn a new skill set, to experience something vastly different from the last four years that I spent in college, and to challenge myself to whatever it took to get through the program. The chain sawing was the most nerve racking aspect of the program before it began. It turns out, however, that the sawing is the easiest part, once you get past any physical boundaries and stamina-related concerns. It is remarkably empowering, especially as a female, to realize how accessible it is and how capable I am of running a saw and maintaining it myself. The crew life is also surprisingly welcoming and enjoyable.

So, then, the hardest part for me hasn’t really been getting out of my tent because I have a strategy worked out, and it hasn’t really been the work. The hardest part for me has really been trying to reconcile the realization that many people, including myself, seem to always be looking forward to the next step in life: we can’t wait to leave work, we can’t stop thinking about how soon we can be finished with de-rigging, we love to imagine all the meals and engagements we will experience later. I don’t think we appreciate enough the moments when our rig is stuck in mud, for the third time, and we have to get out and dig and push and pull and drag, again. Nor do I feel that we appreciate the moments or the company when we are working together on projects. Maybe it’s freezing outside, but the sunrise and the snow-topped trees are beautiful and they are both gone by high-noon, so it seems that we have to endure the cold to experience these things. Many people will agree that the view from atop the mountain is well worth any drudgery required to get there, but I am finding that every step is the best part of my life because I am alive. Eduardo Galeano expressed a similar sentiment when he wrote that, “Each day of life is an unrepeatable chord of a music that laughs at death.”


Reflecting on the importance of national service on 9/11

On days like today, I find it particularly challenging but also inspiring to be one small part of this country.  As we each take time to remember the tragedies that took place so many years ago, many also take time to participate in a National Service Day.   When I first joined an AmeriCorps program four years ago, I, like so many, was looking for a way to make a positive contribution to my country.  The path that this initial undertaking has led to so many years later is one of continued amazement.  In time where harsh words abound, I am fortunate to see the other side.  The side of people with a genuine interest in giving back and striving to make positive and conscience contributions to their communities.  I have the honor to work with military veterans whose dedication to national service is seemingly unending even after their military service is complete.  I see youth who choose to spend their summers working in their communities and on public lands rather than watching TV.   I talk with young adults from all over the country, from many walks of life, that come together, break down barriers and stereotypes to build a culture of inclusiveness and understanding.  I see values of work ethic and civic responsibility not just discussed, but lived on a daily basis.  I see the spirit of national service resound, often quietly, but steadily in AmeriCorps programs throughout this country and I am honored to be a part of it.  Thank you to each person who dedicates themselves to serving our country, in the many forms that exist.

- Anna Hendricks, AmeriCorps Alum and SCC Staff Member


SCC Staff Openings – Regional Director & Recruitment & Supportive Services Coordinator

SCC Sonoran Desert is hiring two new year-round, salaried staff positions with benefits.



SCC seeks Director of Finance and Administration based in Durango, CO


Status Full time, Exempt
Location Durango, CO
Salary Group 6 – Starting 48-53K DOE
Reports to CEO
Start Date Applications will be reviewed starting August 18th, 2013, open   until filled
Brief Description The Director of Finance and Administration is responsible for all the financial and administrative operations   of the organization in support of program operations and the organization’s   mission. The Director of Finance and Administration sets out and implements the vision,   expectations and systems necessary to support the financial and   administrative needs of the program operations of the organization in an   effective, efficient and legally responsible manner.
Additional Information  Please CLICK HERE for a full job description and application information

AmeriCorps Corps Network Colorado Youth Corps