Forest Service News: Prescott National Forest Pioneers New Program With Student Conservation Association Providing Job Training for Veterans

Forest Service News: Prescott National Forest Pioneers New Program With Student Conservation Association Providing Job Training for Veterans
View the original article by clicking here.

PRESCOTT, AZ (October 28, 2011) — The Student Conservation Association (SCA), in partnership with Prescott National Forest, is pioneering a new program, the Veteran’s Fire Corps (VFC), to complete fire & fuels management projects. The SCA’s Mission is: “To build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands on service to land.” The SCA’s 4,000 interns and volunteers provide more than two million hours of conservation service per year. The SCA was founded before the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, the EPA, Earth Day and the novel ‘Silent Spring’. The SCA’s mission is two-fold: to provide educational opportunities, professional trainings, career exploration, and networking opportunities to young people while providing a much needed service to our Parks and Forests.

The VFC Team, consisting of four Corps Members and one Project Leader, has already undergone rigorous trainings including: Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Fire Ecology, Chain Saw, and Wildland Fighter Red Card Training. These trainings focus on enhancing conservation skills, environmental education. U.S. Forest Service history, and experience for veterans interested in pursuing future employment opportunities in natural resource management. Most of the VFC Team are college graduates and come from a wide array of educational disciplines including: anthropology, biology, environmental science, and recreation management. These highly ambitious individuals joined this project looking to gain much needed career experience and to learn more about land management issues. Corps Members also receive: a subsistence living allowance, medical coverage, housing, expense paid travel, and may choose to enroll in the AmeriCorps Education Award Program to receive an award for college tuition or existing student loans.

The VFC is working with Prescott National Forest to improve ecosystem health, rangeland conditions, wildlife habitat, and reduce the threat and adverse effects of wildland fire while also providing recent-era veterans with the training, credentials and experience they need to competitively pursue wildland fire and/or forestry careers. The VFC enables former members of the armed services to transition into civilian life by providing job training, personal development and conservation service opportunities in natural resource and fuels management projects. This program provides veterans with an opportunity to work in a team environment while performing natural resource projects within National Forest Systems lands. The VFC Team is currently working with Prescott National Forest on a variety of projects that include thinning and reducing hazardous fuels within designated Wildland Urban Interface management areas.

Learn more about the SCA, including ways you can become involved, by visiting our website at: www.thesca.org

Please send inquiries to: RWoelz@thesca.org