A packed house attended today’s Waders in the Water aquatic restoration workshop at The Corps Network’s annual conference in Washington. The standing room only crowd got an update from Trout Headwaters, Inc (THI) President Mike Sprague on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the nationwide youth conservation corps green jobs program.
Sprague told the crowd that the program has now reached into 20 states across 16 Corps and continues to grow. He credited the rapid expansion to the newly climate-friendly, cost-effective live webinar delivery of the training and said more corps are taking the opportunity to train multiple crews as well as crew leaders. Corps Network Vice President Marie Walker added “we are happy to report that interest in the Waders in the Water training program from both member corps and funders alike continues to grow.”
American Conservation Experience President Chris Baker and New Jersey Youth Corps Phillipsburg Director Mike Muckle joined the presentation, sharing their excitement over their recent teaming agreement to join forces on a series of aquatic restoration projects in New Jersey. After both corps had participated in the Waders in the Water Level I training, they partnered to fill an urgent workforce need in the restoration industry and entered into a public-private partnership with Mid-Atlantic restoration industry pioneer GreenVest to work on at least three projects. Sprague explained that fieldwork will serve as the proving grounds for the next level in the program, the Waders in the Water Level II training and certification.
GreenVest CEO Doug Lashley expressed his excitement today, attending the conference for meetings to kick off the restoration projects. “Educating youth at an early age on stewardship and an appreciation for the environment will equip them for future jobs in the outdoors, enhance local economies, and most importantly, encourage an understanding that water quality impacts all forms of life. Corporate America can help support this opportunity through Public-Private Partnerships as a method of complying with their growing internal sustainability initiatives. It is an investment with no limit on the returns.”
Sprague recalled that when The Corps Network and Trout Headwaters (THI) rolled out Waders in the Water last year, some wondered if the training would be too expensive, if individual corps could unite to work together, or if industry would embrace this newly trained workforce. “We’re clearly putting all those questions to rest,” he said.
Corps Network members may participate in any of the upcoming 2-day, Level I online trainings by registering here:
Read the Full News Release Here> Waders in the Water News Release