Wyoming Conservation Corps Projects Under Way Across Wyoming
Packing shovels, chainsaws and assorted other tools and equipment, University of Wyoming students are gaining valuable leadership and outdoor skills this summer working on 36 Wyoming Conservation Corps projects.
The work ranges from building fences in Natrona County to beetle spraying in Guernsey State Park and trail construction near Evanston.
Founded in 2006, the WCC continues the civil service tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and Youth Conservation Corps of the 1970s. By the end of this summer, WCC will have served 289 students and completed 210 projects, resulting in more than 197,000 hours of service to Wyoming's public lands. The projects all relate to energy, wildlife, recreation, grazing, timber management, property restoration and maintenance, water and air quality.
“Our continuing goal is to teach our members a commitment to Wyoming's public lands and the people and communities inextricably tied to those lands,” says Kendall Peacock, WCC assistant director within UW Student Affairs.
The WCC offers 450- to 900-hour service contracts that start in the classroom and continue into the field. Crew members receive both living stipends and AmeriCorps Education Awards for their services. The budget for the year is about $572,600.
However, it's not the money that attracts applicants from across the country, Peacock says, but the opportunity to gain real-life experience in the environment and natural resources fields. Participants earn free upper-division college credit and receive extensive training in leadership, conservation ethics, equipment safety and wilderness first aid.
With partners such as UW's School of Energy Resources along with industry, corporate and nonprofit organizations, WCC works with state and federal land management agencies on projects that require students to demonstrate leadership skills.
Projects include maintaining habitat for wildlife and mitigating bark beetle impacts on the forests to creating recreational trail systems and restoring historic sites.
Projects that will be completed this summer are:
May 27-June 5 -- Sign installation and fencing work in Natrona County and Mills; an FMC and Bureau of Land Management fencing project near Rock Springs; beetle spraying and log peeling at Curt Gowdy State Park; beetle spraying at Guernsey State Park; bark beetle management at Sinks Canyon State Park; and restoring corrals and fence lines at the historic M-L Ranch in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
June 10-19 -- Felling and bucking cottonwoods at Fort Bridger; beetle spraying at Curt Gowdy State Park; trail work at South Pass City; historic preservation and fuels removal at the Murie Center; trail building and maintenance for the Forest Service near Douglas; and prairie dog dusting (for fleas that could infect black-footed ferrets) at Thunder Basin National Grassland.
June 24-July 3 -- Prairie dog dusting at Thunder Basin National Grassland; trail refurbishment at Adams Park Greenway and Tate Area for Platte River Trails Trust and Casper; trail construction at Natrona County Bridle Trail; trail building at Glendo State Park; and work in Mormon Canyon, Duncan Ranch and Bear Gulch for Wyoming State Lands and Devon Energy.
July 8-17 -- Trail projects for the Evanston District of the Uinta-Cache National Forest; fisheries exclosure maintenance near LaBarge for the Pinedale Bureau of Land Management; trail building at Hot Springs State Park; watershed maintenance for the Medicine Bow National Forest; Pole Canyon fence conversion for the Rawlins BLM; and trail clearing at Phil Kearny Historic Site.
July 22-31 -- Trail building and maintenance at Curt Gowdy State Park; trail repair and fuel reduction at Devils Tower National Monument; preparing for the first Cody Wild West River Fest for the Nature Conservancy; fire rehabilitation for the Newcastle BLM; North LaBarge Pine Grove Fisheries exclosure maintenance for the Pinedale BLM; and Grouse Mountain whitebark pine restoration for the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Aug. 5-14 -- Grave Springs and Buffalo Creek fence replacement for the Casper BLM; trail work at Guernsey State Park; West Fork South Tongue River riparian exclosure fence for the Bighorn National Forest; park wildland urban interface thinning for the Buffalo BLM and Devon Energy; applying log jam to the exterior of the Hillsboro post office for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
UW students participating in the WCC field projects are:
Arvada, Colo. -- Julianna Tietge.
Aurora, Colo. -- David Reid.
Casper -- Jordan Bishop.
Cheyenne -- Dylan Smith.
Cooperstown, N.Y. -- Anna Kramer.
Cortez, Colo. -- Maxim Lowry.
Decatur, Ga. -- Lee Rogers.
Delta, Colo. -- Travis Keune.
Duluth, Minn. -- Sarah Johnson.
Fort Collins, Colo. -- Katherine Brose.
Highland, Ind. -- Melissa Rosa.
Holland, Mich. -- Sean Doyle.
Kemmerer -- Brian Welsh.
Kirkwood, Mo. -- Christian Bopp and James Fried.
Laramie -- Clayton Anderson, Erin Brewer, Hannah Clark, Jocelyn Collins, Jessica Curtis, Elise D’Alessandro, Kimberly Dotts, Alyssa Engdahl, Bernadette Esposito, Tim Hentgen, Melanie Matthews, Andrew Mittlestadt, Bryce Mittlestadt, Caleb Owen, Phineas Peake, Natalie Perkins, Julian Poush, Shane Sims and Rebecca Wyckoff.
Merrimack, N.H. -- Hannah Dunn.
Montclair, N.J. -- Shannon Toomey.
Monticello, Utah -- Kendra Fortin.
Parker, Colo. -- Jason Carroll.
Rice Lake, Wis. -- Cameron Bauer.
Rochester, Minn. -- William Sherman.
Scottsbluff, Neb. -- Benjamin Wiebe.
Sidney, Neb. -- James Ian Johnson.
South Berwick, Maine -- Lorne Currier.
Sterling, Colo. -- Amanda Bonesteel.
St. Louis, Mo. -- Zachary Held.
Stroudsburg, Pa. -- Danielle Wyckoff.
Thayne -- Mandy Roberson.
Thermopolis -- Michael Vassar.
Two Harbors, Minn. -- Marta Tietge.
Van Buren, Ariz. -- Zachary Willhite.
Sam Nissim, left, and WCC assistant director Kendall Peacock help build a fence to save a riparian area northeast of Jeffrey City in 2011. This summer, WCC crew members are working on 36 projects that include maintaining habitats for wildlife and mitigating bark beetle impacts on the forests to creating recreational trail systems and restoring historic sites. (UW Photo)