Mile High Youth Corps awarded $342K GOCO Grant to Pilot Conservation Corps Work in Eastern Colorado


DENVER – Today the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) board awarded a $342,445 grant to Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) to conduct a two-year pilot program to assess the viability and sustainability of an Eastern Colorado-based conservation service corps.

The grant is part of GOCO’s Planning and Capacity program, which invests in projects that address opportunities, explore issues, engage communities, and examine trends in the outdoors.

MHYC’s feasibility study will explore what organizational structure would be necessary to successfully launch a conservation corps and implement corps work throughout Eastern Colorado. The study will take place in three phases. In the first phase, MHYC will create a new position for a local, full-time program manager to oversee the study, conduct community outreach and public meetings, and educate and inform local partners about conservation corps work.

In the second phase, staff will implement an 11-week pilot stewardship program, employing 8-10 young adults to work on demonstration projects in Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, and Prowers Counties. The third phase will expand the study to additional Eastern Colorado counties to determine how programming could be implemented throughout the region. Local partners will review a final feasibility report with findings and recommendations.

“For over 30 years, Mile High Youth Corps has been a proven leader in positive youth development, workforce development and community-based service,” said Amber Palmeri, associate director of programs and initiatives. “MHYC is excited to partner with GOCO and communities in Eastern Colorado to explore the possibility of a locally-based Conservation Corps, which would provide education, training, service, and employment opportunities for young adults in the region, as well as projects that will continue to preserve and enhance Eastern Colorado’s communities, parks, and open spaces.”

Conservation corps act as critical partners in enhancing and maintaining Colorado’s natural beauty and in conserving resources. Land managers hire corps for stewardship work including trail construction and maintenance, fence construction and removal, fire fuels mitigation, invasive species eradication, energy and water conservation, and historic preservation. Mile High Youth Corps is one of eight conservation corps accredited by Colorado Youth Corps Association today.

To date, GOCO has invested more than $4.2 million in projects in Prowers County and partnered to conserve 1,440 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported the Lamar Loop Trail and the Lamar Sports Complex, among other projects.

Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEducationEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationYouth


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