Put unemployed youth to work serving/saving Nature?

Here’s an interesting idea, a possible win-win for both Nature and “underserved youth.” Depends on how it’s done, and what is required for the youth to fit themselves into whatever slot is created. Could this kind of exchange happen on a local or regional level, and not involve the federal government? On the other hand, I still marvel whenever I walk across one of the beautifully designed and constructed stone bridges in national parks created by Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps.

Wikipedia on the CCC:

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide employment for young men in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during theGreat Depression while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 2.5 million young men participated.

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs.[1] Principal benefits of an individual’s enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. Of their pay of $30 a month, $25 went to their parents.[2] Implicitly, the CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation’s natural resources; and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.[3]

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.[4]

New Federal Board To Help “Underserve


December 14, 2011 |

In the Obama Administration’s never-ending expansion of government, yet another new federal advisory committee has been empaneled to help “underserved” low-income populations succeed.

The new agency was actually created under the more popular theme of conservation, specifically of the nation’s best-known natural resources such as landmark forests, beaches and mountains. The administration made a case for the new initiative as a necessary tool to protect those precious natural resources and reconnect Americans to the great outdoors.

To lay the groundwork, a special report was issued earlier this year outlining how Americans have become increasingly disconnected from our great outdoors and thus the “natural and cultural inheritance that has shaped our lives and history.” The nation’s natural resources remain central to our economic vitality yet they are under intense pressure from development and fragmentation, unsustainable use, pollution and impacts from a changing climate, the report says.

The solution to ensuring that our natural heritage is passed on to future generations is to engage young Americans in public lands and water restoration, according to recommendations included in the document. This means improving career pathways and reviewing “barriers” to jobs in natural resource conservation and historic and cultural preservation. It also requires establishing a new 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to engage those young Americans.

Step one was to create a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Federal Advisory Committee, which happened just a few days ago. This new panel will cost U.S. taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, according to its charter. The investment will be well worth it because the committee will brainstorm about ways to help “low-income, underserved and diverse youth” gain valuable training and work experience.

In fact, when the administration announced this month that the committee is up and running, it stressed the new panel’s key mission; to empower young people—including low-income, underserved and diverse youth—with valuable training and work experience. Of course, all this will happen while also accomplishing important conservation and restoration work for America’s great outdoors, waterways and cultural heritage sites, the announcement says.

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