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Maryland Civic Justice Corps Projects Improve Gunpowder Falls & Patapsco Valley State Parks
BALTIMORE – One hundred forty-five crew members of the Maryland Civic Justice Corps (CJC) have reached the halfway point on their summer conservation and restoration projects at Gunpowder Falls and Patapsco Valley State Parks. The crews comprised of at-risk youth from Baltimore City are completing their assignments and looking forward to graduation on Aug. 8. “These kids have worked very hard this summer to improve our state parks,” said Governor Martin O’Malley, who personally worked with the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources and Juvenile Services to create the CJC. “I applaud each and every one of them, as well as the Maryland Park Service, the Maryland Conservation Corps, and the Department of Juvenile Services staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to get this project off the ground this summer, to stunning results.”
In April, Governor Martin O’Malley expanded the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) – the state’s award winning AmeriCorps program – to include the Civic Justice Corps, a summer job opportunity for urban youth. MCC crew members and Maryland Park Service staff supervise projects and provide mentoring for 18 CJC crews of approximately 8 youth each.
At Gunpowder Falls State Park, CJC crews have been improving "Muskrat Trail," a nature trail which winds through the woods to the edge of the marsh. Crews are building boardwalks, learning how to cut trees and working on an entrance sign. At Patapsco Valley State Park, youth are repurposing the old camp store into a nature center. They are installing a rain garden, laying flooring material and designing an exterior mural on the nature center. A second crew at Patapsco Valley State Park has been painting the interior and exterior of a park restroom.
“Working daily outdoors gave these teenagers an opportunity to connect with nature. For many of them it is the first time in their lives that they are seeing wildlife in natural habitats, exploring woods and streams, and learning that they can make a difference,” said Nita Settina, Superintendent of Maryland’s Park Service. “At the end of the day, they are able to look to a restored trail or a renovated nature center and say, ‘we did this!’”
CJC crew members learn about the environment though participation in additional outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping and art work. To learn more about the Maryland Civic Justice Corps visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/cjc/.
July 24, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov