UCC Receives Funding to Support Safe Continued Engagement for Young Adults in Utah Conservation Work

The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC), based out of the Utah State University Center for Community Engagement, is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant in the amount of $5,000 from the COVID-19 Corps Relief Fund, an emergency fund established by The Corps Network, with generous support from The JPB Foundation, to assist Service and Conservation Corps in safely continuing programming during the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Corps Relief Funds are intended to be used for immediate, unforeseen needs, such as additional transportation expenses incurred by encouraging social distancing, additional expenses for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment needed for remote learning and other expenses related to safely supporting Corps participants, staff and communities.

Over the last few months UCC has developed a COVID-19 Task Force to establish operations and protocols that will allow UCC’s 19-year tradition of creating conservation leaders by active engagement on parks and public lands.

“For this year, we know our work will look a little different from previous years,” explains UCC Director Sean Damitz. “We will have fewer AmeriCorps crew members, and those members will be largely confined to their own work crews for the entire season.”

Nicole Kreiser has been with UCC for eight years, and was part of the UCC leadership team that established the operational directives for crews under coronavirus restrictions.

“Our AmeriCorps crews work remotely, but still have to travel on occasion to get food and supplies, or to relocate to a new work site,” Kreiser explained. “So, in addition to managing for our own safety, we have to find ways to work safely within every community we serve.”

Just the increase in costs for personal protective equipment alone outpaces the amount of the grant, explained Damitz.

“But in such a tight budget year, we are very thankful for the support,” Damitz said. “For us, of course, the biggest commitment comes from these young people who are willing to undergo such great social restriction in order to conserve Utah’s beautiful natural resources.”

Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, has been inspired by the way Utah Conservation Corps and others across the country have adapted during this pandemic.

UCC AmeriCorps members will begin two weeks of quarantine and training this week before deploying to their worksites. Young people who are interested in fall opportunities to serve can visit the UCC web site at UCC.usu.edu.

About the Utah Conservation Corps

The UCC was formed in 2001 with a mission to develop the conservation leaders of tomorrow. It is based out of Utah State University’s Center for Community Engagement, and has offices and locations throughout Utah. Since 2001, more than 1,400 UCC AmeriCorps members have served over one million hours creating or maintaining 3,442 miles of trail and 425 miles of fence, restoring 41,653 acres of public land and reaching 332,250 students with environmental education. Learn more about UCC at ucc.usu.edu.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps, provides leadership and support to over 130 Corps across the United States. Through advocacy, and providing Corps access to funding opportunities and expert guidance, The Corps Network annually enables more than 22,000 Corpsmembers to strengthen communities, improve the environment and transform their lives through service. Learn more about The Corps Network at www.corpsnetwork.org.

About The JPB Foundation

The JPB Foundation is a private foundation based in New York City. The JPB Foundation’s mission is to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research. In addition to the COVID-19 Corps Relief Fund, The JPB Foundation supports technical assistance and new Corps development efforts at The Corps Network. Learn more about The JPB Foundation at www.jpbfoundation.org