Smart Green & Growing

More Than 200 Young People Graduate From Civic Justice Corps Summer Jobs Program

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown Addresses Graduates at North Point State Park

Edgemere – Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Delegates Tawanna Gaines and John Olszewski, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John Griffin recognized 205 at-risk young people at today’s graduation of the Civic Justice Corps (CJC) at North Point State Park in Baltimore County. During the six-week summer jobs program, Corps members worked in State Parks across Maryland, completing natural resource and park restoration projects, learning job and team building skills, and connecting with their natural world.

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown gave the keynote address to the graduates and their families, who gathered to celebrate this special achievement.

“Governor O’Malley and I share a commitment to expanding opportunity to all Marylanders. The Maryland Civic Justice Corps Program provides young Marylanders with opportunities to enrich their own lives while enriching the quality of life across the state,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “I salute the graduates of the CJC for their dedication and hard work. This program will help them develop important life skills and job skills to compete in our 21st Century green economy.”

Last year, as part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, 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 and initiative for at-risk and court-involved Baltimore City youth. Now in its second year, the initiative has received a tremendous response: 118 young people graduated from the program last year and 205 graduated today.

“This is an incredibly rewarding program for the Maryland Park Service, we are all transformed-- staff and youth-- by the end of the summer,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina.

This year, Maryland Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members, Maryland Park Service staff and Civic Justice Corps crew chiefs led projects and provided mentoring for the five-member CJC crews at Gunpowder, Patapsco Valley, North Point, Assateague and Susquehanna State Parks, as well as Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. Their projects included resource conservation, trail maintenance, forest buffer planting, creation of rain gardens, river, stream and beach clean-ups, identifying species of trees, and much more. In addition, CJC crew members learned about the environment and had an opportunity to make a personal connection with nature through participation in additional outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping and artwork.

“I feel motivated, like I can create anything I want. They should bring this program back next year because it helps youth get off the streets and stay out of trouble for the summer. I don’t want to leave… I’d rather work here all year,” said Gunpowder Crew #1 Member Calvin Coles. “I like that it teaches fundamentals like jobs skills that you might need later on in life.”

Throughout all their activities, crew leaders emphasized the importance of working as a team, job skills, and sustainability, which was apparent by the program’s end.

“I feel that this was a great work experience. I learned a lot and now I don’t want to leave… I wish this program could be year long,” said Eric Bailey, a member of Gunpowder Crew #2.

Building on the federal Civilian Conservation Corps established 75 years ago and the modern AmeriCorps, the Maryland Conservation Corps is an organization that engages young adults in extensive natural resource management and park conservation projects. Managed by the Maryland Park Service since 1984, the MCC provides members with opportunities for skill development and personal growth through a supportive, team-based environment, emphasizing the satisfaction of completing projects that benefit Maryland's natural resources.


   July 31, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

To ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature in 2008. Under the initiative, which is now being used as a national model, the Governor created the Maryland Civic Justice Corps, a summer job and environmental education program that employs at-risk youth in Maryland State Parks, and recently issued the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. A plan to implement the Partnership’s Report and Recommendations – presented to Governor O’Malley in April -- is under development. During the 2009 legislative session, the O’Malley-Brown Administration secured record funding for Maryland’s number 1 ranked public schools for the third consecutive year, with an investment of more than $5.5 billion.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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