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Chesapeake Conservation Corps - November 28, 2010

Bill Mahoney believes “it is important to put some sweat into one’s work as it keeps both mind and body healthy and feeling well used.” Well, soon Bill’s sweat will run-off into the coastal bays – and it will help to improve water quality. Bill is one of only sixteen people selected from across the state to participate in the new Chesapeake Conservation Corps program. Although Bill will be doing some work in the Chesapeake region, his primary focus will be in the coastal bays watershed.

The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is honored to have been chosen as one of only sixteen host organizations across Maryland. Along with the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program is one of only two host sites on the Eastern Shore.

At the program’s kick-off ceremony in mid-November, Senator Ben Cardin stated that he is confident the Chesapeake Conservation Corps will “be a model for the nation.” Maryland State Delegate Doyle Niemann added, “this is an investment in the future. It is one of the most important investments we can make as a state. The environment is at the heart of our economic life.”

The Chesapeake Bay Trust will administer the program, which was established earlier this year by the Maryland legislature and Governor O’Malley. The young adults involved in the program will provide environmental outreach and stewardship assistance while receiving leadership and technical training over the course of the year. Corps volunteers committed a year of service to the program, and in return will receive a small stipend to help cover basic living expenses and health insurance. They will receive valuable training in green jobs and, hopefully, will make contacts that could result in future employment.

Eastern Shore schools will benefit from an additional Corps volunteer, too. Maurie Kathan will be working with the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education to increase the number of Maryland Green Schools, including schools on the Eastern Shore.

“These Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteers are future leaders. However, rather than the future being, well, in the future, for these young, bright, committed, emerging leaders – the future is now, “ stated Bronwyn Mitchell, MAEOE Executive Director.

Lisa Baird is the Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer who will be working with the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. “We are thrilled to welcome Lisa to the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. She represents a very exciting period of growth for our organization.  Lisa will serve as a Programs Assistant and will be ‘getting her feet wet’ in all of our projects, including performing water monitoring, restoration and clean-ups, community outreach, and grant writing.  She’ll be playing a very important role in all our work to protect the Nanticoke River,” said Nanticoke Watershed Alliance Programs Manager Megan Ward.

So, what will Bill Mahoney be doing in and around the coastal bays? A whole lot. Bill will be in Worcester County schools, assisting with teacher professional development and conducting coastal bays-related education programs for local students. He will serve as a local resource for schools pursuing MD Green School certification, assisting them through the process.

Bill will be out in the field and in the coastal bays, too – assisting with monitoring efforts in the coastal bays watershed – banding birds, and censusing reptiles and amphibians, counting horseshoe crabs, and more. Bill will be working with communities in Berlin, helping to educate folks about stormwater issues and helping to construct rain barrels and raingardens, to reduce run-off.

Bill will also have the opportunity to work with Upward Bound students from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the Maryland Civic Justice Corps, and the award-winning Coastal Stewards – helping to raise awareness about future career options and pipeline young people into green jobs.

The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is honored to be a partner with the Chesapeake Bay Trust and to host a member of the inaugural class of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. Only good things can come from this partnership – good things that benefit the Chesapeake, our coastal bays, and our communities.

 

Check out the article in The Daily Times

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