Landscape Stewardship Certificates of Appreciation - 2014

Dave Mari, Public Lands Foundation; Jono McKinney, Montana Conservation Corps CEO/President; and Kate Kitchell, BLM Associate State Director, Montana

The Public Lands Foundation presents the Montana Conservation Corps with a 2014 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation.  The Foundation grants this recognition to honor private citizens and organizations that work to advance and sustain community-based stewardship on landscapes that include, in whole or in part, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The Montana Conservation Corps is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth and young adults through hands-on conservation service and education.  Through a partnership with BLM, it has focused on BLM lands in the Northern Rockies and prairie ecosystems of Montana, North and South Dakota.

Each season the Montana Conservation Corps hires over 200 young adults from across the country, age 18 and up, through is AmeriCorps program, and more than 100 local Montana teens, ages 15 to 17, in its Youth Service Expedition program.  Through their hard work, crews form a pillar to build the next generation of conservation stewards who understand recreational opportunities on Public Lands.  In nature’s classroom, crewmembers gain leadership and team-building skills, and acquire an ethic of service and civic responsibility, while working to improve public lands.

The Montana Conservation Corps have become a significant player in landscape restoration throughout Montana/Dakotas BLM and surrounding landscapes due to its visionary leadership and willingness to adapt to agency specific needs.

Selected highlights from the partnership over the last three years include:

  • Nearly 500 youth served approximately 15,000 hours on BLM lands.
  • Approximately 4,000 acres of sensitive habitat and wetlands were enhanced.
  • Approximately 16,000 trees/shrubs planted to restore prairie sagebrush/grasslands, riparian environments, and other sensitive habitats.
  • Over 5,000 acres of noxious weeds were treated.
  • Over 40 miles of roads were closed or decommissioned to improve habitat security and restore scenic and recreational resources.
  • Other projects included trail construction/maintenance, fence removal/construction, stream restoration, sign installation, cultural resource inventory and stabilization, etc.

Over the years, the partnership between the Montana Conservation Corps and the BLM has blossomed into a fully functioning collaborative with numerous partners that is used to leverage federal/state appropriations, as well as other outside funding sources.

The Public Lands Foundation is pleased to present the Montana Conservation Corps with its 2014 Landscape Stewardship Certificate of Appreciation and this Citation for invaluable contributions to the stewardship of America’s public landscapes.

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Edward W. Shepard, President
September 9, 2014