The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) honored 35 members of the 2021-2022 Maryland Conservation Corps during their graduation program on August 3. The ceremony commemorated the members’ completion of 10 months of job training, conservation work, and stewardship with the Maryland Park Service.
Members from across the country, all between the ages of 17 and 25, completed at least 1,700 hours of service. This year’s crews planted more than 10,046 native trees, bay grasses and plants; treated almost 7,000 trees against harmful insects and diseases; and taught environmental education programs to more than 21,565 students, youth, and park visitors.
Ranger Bethany Watts, Deputy Director of Conservation Corps, said one of the MCC members came to the program from Hagerstown, and 27 of the graduates were from Maryland.
“We had a crew consisting of 4 members stationed out of South Mountain Recreation Area (SMRA) in Washington County. The crew did quite a bit of work in Washington County and Allegany County throughout the year, including conservation projects and programs at Greenbrier, Washington Monument, Fort Frederick, and Rocky Gap State Parks,” said Watts.
From aquatic systems to public lands management, the program offers hands-on, real-world experience in a team-based environment. Many alumni of the program have gone on to conservation careers with organizations, including Maryland DNR, the National Aquarium, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and many others.
The Maryland Conservation Corps, an award-winning AmeriCorps program, has been managed by the Maryland Park Service since 1984.