NY Gov. Cuomo Announces First Graduating Class of Excelsior Conservation Corps

NY Governor's Office
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the graduation of the inaugural class of New York’s Excelsior Conservation Corps and the beginning of enrollment for a second class. Forty-one people completed the AmeriCorps environmental stewardship and education program after finishing 10 months of service. 
 
“The Excelsior Conservation Corps is a unique opportunity for young adults to gain valuable skills and training while addressing many of the state’s environmental challenges,” Governor Cuomo said. “I applaud these young men and women for their stewardship and dedication to making New York a better place, and encourage those interested in preserving and protecting our environment for future generations of New Yorkers to apply for the Class of 2017.”
 
The program is administered by the Student Conservation Association, a leading national organization in youth and young adult conservation service and environmental education. 
 
“From Letchworth State Park to Long Island, the young leaders of the Excelsior Conservation Corps skillfully addressed some of New York’s most pressing environmental issues while gaining important career experience and protecting key segments of the state’s economic engine,” said Student Conservation Association President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Berman Matyas. “The ECC’s first year was a remarkable success and SCA looks forward to building on these accomplishments in the future.”
 
ECC members completed more than 80 projects and provided services to 19 different Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation sites and 44 DEC properties. The members:
  • Improved 100 miles of trail: Constructed 147 steps to rehabilitate a gorge trail in Robert H. Tremen State Park outside of Ithaca, and constructed an ADA compliant pathway on top of Prospect Mountain outside of Lake George.
  • Improved 378 acres of land: Members assessed acres of land, mapped 800 culverts and water crossings in Harriman and Bear Mountain State parks for aquatic connectivity, and helped reforestation efforts at Connetquot River State Park on Long Island, which has been damaged by the southern pine beetle.
  • Educated 2,500 people: Helped educate people through interpretive trail building and design; outreach at fairs, festivals and clinics; and by conducting interpretive education programing.
  • Led volunteer service projects: Members oversaw service projects that brought more than 800 volunteers to natural resource management, trail repair and maintenance, habitat restoration, and general conservation stewardship efforts.
 
The Excelsior Conservation Corps will begin its second class January 30. Enrollment is now open for young adults ages 18 to 25 who live or attend school in New York, and veterans from any state up to the age of 28.