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.
Veteran Fire CORPS 484
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.
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:
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 http://ccclegacy.org/ and http://sccorps.org/.
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.”
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 Sonoran Desert is hiring two new year-round, salaried staff positions with benefits.
DIRECTOR of FINANCE and ADMINISTRATION – Durango, CO
|Status||Full time, Exempt|
|Salary||Group 6 – Starting 48-53K DOE|
|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|
It’s 5:30 pm in the backcountry. The crew is headed back to camp, pick-mattocks in hand, stomachs rumbling. With fresh produce running low and weary of burnt quinoa and undercooked rice, it’s your job to decipher among the various shades of brown and tan powder packed in bulging zip lock bags dangling from the bear hang, and seemingly magically produce something to fill eight bellies and send the crew to bed happy.
Here are some ideas, from our Whisper-Light to yours, to prepare tasty cuisine that will satisfy those trail bellies and have your crew licking their bowls and begging for more.
Leave 2 or 3 cups of lentils soaking at camp for the day. Drain and add new water. Boil for one hour or until lentils are soft. As they are boiling, chop any fresh veggies you have left. Best vegetables include onions, garlic, carrots, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and any greens you have left, but others can be delicious additions as well. Sautee garlic and onions and add to boiling lentils. Add basil, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and 2 chicken bouillon cubes. Add chopped carrots, potatoes, and any vegetables that take longer to cook. When lentils are beginning to soften, add any softer vegetables and greens. Add 1 to 2 spoons of salt (to taste). When your lentils are nearly soft enough to eat, add noodles (macaroni is best) to the soup and let cook until ready. If you prefer, leave out the noodles and serve over rice or quinoa.
Boil water. Once the water is boiling, stir in dehydrated potatoes and two spoons of dried basil until you have creamy mashed potatoes. In a separate skillet, heat olive oil or butter and sauté sliced or crushed garlic. Add to potatoes, along with a pinch of salt. Mix and serve.
Stir 1 cup of hummus powder with ½ spoon of cumin, a pinch of garlic powder, basil, oregano, and salt. Add a dash of cayenne and some red pepper flakes if your crew likes it hot! Add one spoon of olive oil and mix hummus with approximately 1 cup of water, adding slowly and stirring until desired texture is reached. Eat with fresh veggies or crackers, on sandwiches, or with falafel made from natureburger.
Ways to use your Pancake mix:
Mix 3 cups of pancake mix with ½ cup of brown sugar, two spoons of cinnamon, and ½ cup of milk powder. (a couple spoons of baking soda would be a plus if you have it, for a lighter fluffier donut) Add 2 cups of water, mix and add additional water as necessary as you kneed into a thick bread-dough texture. Form into small spheres and drop into hot oil. Fry until crispy brown on the outsides. To dress these up, add a dollop of jam to the middle of each donut.
Mix 4 cups of pancake mix with 2 cups of dried mashed potatoes and ½ cup of dried milk. Add ½ bag of parmesan cheese, a spoon of dried basil, ½ spoon of garlic powder, 1 crushed chicken bouillon cube (optional), and salt to taste (about ½ spoon). Mix and slowly add water, blending until the batter is a doughy- biscuit texture, thicker than pancake batter but thinner than bread dough. Pan-fry in your skillet adding a little oil for each one and flipping when each side begins to brown.
Mix together 3 cups of pancake mix, 1 cup of powdered milk, ½ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of peanut butter, ½ cup of raisins, 2 heaping spoons of cinnamon, and as much gorp (or just the chocolate and peanut butter chips from the gorp.) Add water (at least 2 cups) and mix batter until you have a thick liquid texture. Spoon onto a greased frying pan and flip when ready.
Happy eating to you and your crew! And if you drop the serving spoon in the dirt, just remember, it’s a little extra trail spice for the dish! Bon appetite!
Four Corners Crew Leader Development Crew Summer 2013
Haiku from Crew 182: Barbara Five-Strand
Five strand barbed wire. Barbed wire, five strand. Barbara Streisand. Get it? That’s how the Sonoran Desert Crew 182 found their name. They’ve been working in Las Cienegas Preserve, about an hour south of Tucson, AZ improving Pronghorn habitat with new fencing and monitoring a community of Prairie Dogs in the summer heat. When they aren’t hard at work, they spend their time getting poetic. Read on!
Monsoon Afternoon (Delight)
The wind starts to blow
The clouds fill the sky quickly
Sounds of thunder roll
The stars are so bright
Away from the cities light
We camp in the dark night
Barbara Five-Strand camps
We watch the prairie dogs
Pronghorn run under
A keystone species
The p-dog eats, sleeps and digs
Molding the landscape
African bees swarm
Red fire ants bite- start to swell
Camel spiders crawl
Surrounded by life
Observing change through these eyes
Makes me feel alive
Beetles shine with emerald eyes
On green grass the prairie dogs chew
While the pronghorn woo
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