Five military veterans and one current member of the US Army Reserve have been working on both the Pine Ridge Ranger District near Chadron and the Bessey Nursery near Halsey to further conservation and sustainability on the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands, (NNFG).
These dedicated military folks are working on the NNFG through a US Forest Service, (USFS) partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and continue to serve the their country by working on forest protection and restoration projects.
For more than 50 years the USFS and SCA partnership commits to equipping a new generation to know, love and care for our nation’s forests. The members have a positive impact by bringing conservation values and sustainable practices to projects on natural forests across the country.Among their joint initiatives, SCA and the USFS manage the Veterans Fire Corps, which provides recent-era military vets with career training in wildfire mitigation and forestry while easing their transition back to civilian life.
The SCA six-man crew, three US Marine Corps and three US Army veterans, strive to develop skills that may lead to a career as wildland firefighters or others that allow them to work outdoors, rather than “behind a computer all day.” To begin their assignment on the NNFG, they completed required courses to receive firefighting qualifications. During their tour, work completed further developed firefighting-related skills, such as chain saw work, prescribed burn preparation, digging line and thinning.
The Student Conservation Association, a national nonprofit working since 1957 to build new generations of conservation leaders, is currently recruiting for additional Veterans Fire Corps in forests in your region, and around the country. For more information or to apply, contact Program Manager Emily Palmer at [email protected] or 412-325-1851 x 3061.
Photo courtesy/ Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands. SCA Vet Crew: Front row, left to right: Michael Crews, South Carolina, US Marine Corps (USMC); Andre Ray, New York, USMC; Tim Tate, New York, USMC; Back Row: Kyle Servedio, Crew Lead, Florida, US Army; Matthew Jacobs, Ohio, US Army; Karson Mikula, Michigan, US Army and Mike Mattmiller, US Forest Service.