At the end of June, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition welcomed its first Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew. YCC is a pilot initiative stemming off the Coalition’s successful creation of a model riparian buffer and safe access at Cedarland Park in Southbury. In efforts to improve more areas of riparian habitat and minimize the amount of polluted runoff reaching local rivers and streams, the Coalition launched a program that employs young people to implement conservation measures. Formation of the Youth Conservation Corps was made possible through a generous environmental program grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation.
The projects completed by the Youth Conservation Corps will underscore our roles as stewards of our environment and promote good habits to keep our watershed and rivers healthy. Carol Haskins, PRWC Outreach Director, said, “Our goal is to develop a program for area young people that fosters a sense of responsibility for natural resources, civic engagement and a life-long connection to the environment.”
Josh Carey, Director of Grants Management at CCF, noted, “the Youth Conservation Corps leverages the talent and energy of our young residents to create real environmental impacts in our communities. This program will also help the next generation to develop critical leadership skills as they educate the broader public about effective ways to protect our natural resources. The Foundation is happy to support PRWC in offering these innovative opportunities for civic engagement and environmental stewardship.”
During their employment with PRWC, students will gain hands-on conservation experience and knowledge while working on local conservation projects. Projects include continued invasive plant removal at Cedarland Park in Southbury, river buffer maintenance along the Pomperaug River at Hollow Park in Woodbury, rain garden maintenance at Manville Kettle in Woodbury, invasive plant removal at Swendsen Farm in Bethlehem in preparation for future installation of a boardwalk trail, stormdrain marking throughout the watershed, and more.
The program is funded by a generous grant from the Connecticut Community Foundation.
The crew (pictured L to R) consists of Dana Dessereaux of Woodbury as Crew Leader, Carol Haskins PRWC Outreach Director, Tim Tscheppe and Mathes Payne of Watertown, Kayla Kim of Southbury, Molly Galusha of Middlebury, and Josephine Purdy of Bridgewater as Assistant Crew Leader/PRWC Intern. Crew members are high school students who will be working together over the course of six weeks to implement conservation projects that will help ensure the long-term health of vital water resources in the Pomperaug Watershed. To learn more, visit www.pomperaug.org or call 203-263-0076.