Holyoke, MA – Seven Holyoke youth are finding that going to work this summer not only involves hard work, but fresh air, an opportunity to learn new skills, and a view of the woods. The Trustees of Reservations have started a Youth Conservation Corps, which is a team of Holyoke youth who are interested in working in the outdoors and making a difference for the environment. Throughout the summer, the Youth Conservation Corps will work at conservation areas across Holyoke and the Pioneer Valley to address management needs at local natural areas.
The Youth Corps will be working on a variety of projects including trail clearing at The Trustees’ Little Tom Mountain
Reservation, pulling nuisance weeds at the Ashley Reservoir, and helping Nuestras Raîces with some maintenance of their farm property. In just a few weeks, the Corps has made a noticeable difference at their work sites, making significant contributions to the health and beauty of their local green spaces and providing welcome support to the organizations who care for them.
“It was great to have help from such a hard-working group,” said Stephanie Moore, Executive Director of Holyoke Rows, for whom the Youth Corps worked on dock repairs. “The work they did will benefit everyone who uses the docks at Jones Ferry to access the river this summer.”
According to The Trustees Superintendent, Jim Caffrey, the Youth Conservation Corps provides a unique experience for the youth in that “it gives them exposure to a career in conservation that they otherwise may never have known about. Plus, they’ll learn valuable new skills considering the range of projects they’re working on.” Youth Corps member Josh Estrada agrees: “I’ve already learned how to use a bunch of different tools and feel lucky to be able to work outside in the fresh air for my summer job.”
At The Trustees’ Dinosaur Footprints Reservation in Holyoke, the Youth Corps have undertaken a large project to expand and improve the trail system and rid the property of nuisance plants, which has required help from two local partners: Holyoke YouthBuild and Holyoke Gas and Electric.
The Youth Corps is the result of a partnership between The Trustees of Reservations and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke (HBGC), both of whom were part of the 2002 Mt. Tom Ski Area acquisition. Since 2004, The Trustees have provided environmental education programming for the HBGC youth, and for the first time this year have created summer jobs for youth who would like to continue their experiences working in the environmental field but who are too old for HBGC programming. About The Trustees’ Mission & Strategic Plan
Since its founding in 1891 by Charles Eliot, an open space visionary and protégé of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, The Trustees’ mission has been to preserve, protect, and care for properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. While The Trustees’ mission remains the same, the way the organization plans to accomplish it has changed as the world has changed.
As land is being developed and open space fragmented at a rapid pace around the state, The Trustees are working to mobilize and inspire a critical mass of people and partners who care about quality of life in their communities and will work to protect them. The Trustees are undertaking an ambitious education and outreach effort to help more people understand how everyone can be “a Trustee” of the planet and make a lasting impact.
“By 2017, we hope to double our members and volunteers to help make this vision a reality,” says Andrew Kendall, President of The Trustees. “Imagine what a difference it would make if every town was able to protect a special park, farm, or plot of land from being developed or save a historic homestead or building. Through our work and outreach, we hope to open even more people’s eyes to what they can do, starting in their own communities.” About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees are more than 100,000 people like you, from every corner of Massachusetts, who share a deep set of similar values: a love of the land, of the outdoors, and of the distinctive charms of New England, as well as a shared vision of celebrating and protecting them for everyone, forever.
With 96 reservations, comprising nearly 25,000 acres – all of which are open to the public – The Trustees of Reservations’ properties are tremendously diverse and include: mountains and hilltops; forests and woodlands; river valleys and waterfalls; islands, 70 miles of coastline, barrier beaches; marshes, bogs, swamps; open fields and meadows; farms, historic homesteads, and, through our recent permanent affiliation with Boston Natural Areas Network, community gardens and Urban Wilds throughout the city of Boston.
The Trustees employ 180 full-time and 350–400 seasonal staff with expertise in many areas, including ecology, education, historic resources, land protection, conservation, land management, and planning. To find out how you can interview Trustees’ experts on important topics and issues, volunteer or become a member, please call The Trustees of Reservations at 781.784.0567, visit at www.thetrustees.org
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