The Maryland Department of Natural Resources honored 28 members of the 2018-2019 Maryland Conservation Corps during their graduation program July 31 at Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area in Queen Anne’s County. The ceremony commemorated the students’ 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 1,700 hours of service. This year’s crews planted thousands of trees, bay grasses and native plants; treated trees against harmful insects and diseases; and taught environmental education programs to more than 40,000 students, youth, and park visitors.
The corps worked to improve more than 2,000 acres of park and public land around the state by removing invasive species, improving outdoor recreational facilities and trails, and restoring wildlife habitat.
“This experience will be valuable to you for the rest of your lives as you move forward in your careers,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio told the graduates. “But it will mean even more to our state, our citizens, and our environment because you are the next generation of environmental stewards – and I know that you will work tirelessly so that future generations can enjoy everything our state has to offer.”
Many alumni of the program have gone on to conservation careers with organizations including the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 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.