Impact and Programs
In 2018, the Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa engaged 580 youth and young adults employed in full-time and seasonal service-learning experiences. These young people completed more than 422,000 service hours and training; served more than 350 federal, state, and local agency and non-profit partners and project hosts; protected, improved, and restored more than 46,000 acres of public lands, parks, wetlands, and waterways, stretching as far as six states including Federal natural disaster responses in two states.
Working with more than 125 partners in 2018, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa achieved the following impact results:
Improved 1,500 miles of trails and boardwalks, in places like Gooseberry Falls, where our work touched the park’s 750,000 visitors.
Removed more than 20,000 acres of invasive plants, which yields approximately $207 per acre in economic benefit, according to the University of Minnesota, or more than $4.4 million in economic value for our work.
Planted more than 105,000 trees, helping to mitigate our changing landscapes and climate.
Mapped more than 2.7 million acres, surveying 11,000 hours, to help state agencies collect data on exotic and invasive plants.
Built work-readiness skills and practical know-how through 56,000 hours of training and workshops.
Organizationally, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa’s goals are to help youth and young adults from diverse backgrounds become more connected to the environment, engaged in conservation, involved in the community, and prepared for future employment.
In 2019, we seek to create environmental service-learning opportunities for 350 AmeriCorps members and 250 youth that improve the environment in the Midwest and supports member growth and development. Our goal is to improve 43,000 acres of habitat and nearly 1,000 miles of trails and waterways in Minnesota and Iowa. Full-term AmeriCorps members each will receive more than 300 hours of training and certifications that support environmental conservation workforce development and builds the next generation of environmental leaders.
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa hired a new executive director late in 2018. To help facilitate and better align leadership team and management priorities, the following organizational priorities were established for 2019:
1) Operations: Improve fiscal performance and administrative processes.
2) People: Strengthen member recruitment to better meet the demand for our services.
3) Culture: Improve employee engagement and professional development.
4) Programs: Assess and rebalance the programs portfolio to better fit capacity and capabilities.
5) Stakeholders: Cultivate and secure (new) partners and donors that lead to new opportunities and resources.
6) Strategy: Conduct strategic planning, align mission and vision, and develop a 3-year strategic plan for 2020-2023.
Community or Constituency Served
Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa serves youth and young adults, ages 15 to 25, from diverse urban and rural, economic, and social backgrounds, primarily from across Minnesota and Iowa, to become more connected to the environment, engaged in conservation, involved in the community and prepared for future employment.
Geographic Area Served
Conservation Corps manages 12 offices based in communities throughout Minnesota and Iowa. These offices support projects occurring on over 46,000 acres of public lands, parks, wetlands, and waterways located through the Midwest region. When Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa supports natural disaster response efforts, AmeriCorps members are often deployed to areas beyond the Midwest region.