The Wilderness Society is partnering with KEEN and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to connect more youth with America’s public lands through “Project Build,” which will support the hard work of America's conservation corps and build upon the legacy of dedication to protecting our treasured landscapes through citizen stewardship.
Project Build will take place in cities across the U.S. including Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, and New York with projects that range from urban farm construction in former housing projects to building miles of trail in our country’s wilderness. KEEN Utility will help fund these projects, and outfit 300 corps members with KEEN Utility work boots.
“The Wilderness Society is honored and thrilled to be part of the Project Build partnership with KEEN Utility and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps,” said Michael Carroll, Senior National Partnership Director with The Wilderness Society. “Building the next generation of stewards for the outdoors is critical to the future of our wild public lands. KEEN is a forward-thinking company that understands the importance of putting boots on the ground and investing in young stewards who are restoring the land and protecting America’s wild places.”
Project Build will help support 18 service corps in vital conservation areas across the country:
- LA Conservation Corps – Los Angeles, Calif.
- Northwest Youth Corps – Portland/Eugene, Ore. (operate throughout the Northwest)
- Southwest Conservation Corps Ancestral Lands – Albuquerque/Gallup, N.M.
- Green City Force (NYC) – New York, N.Y.
- HistoriCorps - Wisconsin (Veterans) – Eau Clair, Wis.
- Texas Conservation Corps – Austin, Texas (operate throughout Texas)
- Greening Youth Foundation – Atlanta, Ga. (throughout Ga.)
- Conservation Corps MN and IA – St. Paul /Minneapolis, Minn.
- SEEDS - Michigan Youth Corps – Traverse City, Mich.
- Larimer County Conservation Corps – Denver, Colo.
- Utah Conservation Corps – Logan/Salt Lake City (throughout Utah)
- Fresno Local Corps – Fresno, Calif.
- EarthCorps, Seattle – Seattle, Wash.
- CCC West Virginia – Washington, DC (throughout W.Va.)
- Heart of Oregon Corps – Bend, Ore.
- Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) – Western N.C.
- Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – Albuquerque/Taos, N.M.
- Canyon Country Youth Corps – Monticello, Utah
Through this partnership, KEEN expects to help protect up to 500,000 acres of land, 100 miles of rivers, and dedicate roughly 1,000 hours of volunteer time from KEEN employees.
“KEEN Utility was born by taking the trailhead to the workplace therefore the parallels between KEEN Utility and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps are incredible,” said Kirsten Blackburn, KEEN Marketing Specialist. “Having The Wilderness Society as a guiding voice in the mix, we’re able to support important conservation initiatives while putting Americans to work on public lands. Through the work of both groups, KEEN Utility is excited to help build the next generation of planet stewards.”
This partnership will also help fulfill the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps’ goal to get 100,000 youth out on public lands every year.
“KEEN's goal of ‘inspiring responsible outdoor participation, and land and water conservation’ is perfectly in line with the goals of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and syncs seamlessly with the outcomes of every conservation corps experience,” said Eugenie Bostrom, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Conservation Legacy. “Since the inception of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's, the corps experience has been fundamental to the active preservation of the American outdoors, but especially to instilling a sense of stewardship in those involved. The Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is emboldened by KEEN's leadership and support in this area and we are so excited to work with the Wilderness Society again to make Project Build come to life."
Project Build expands on a partnership between The Wilderness Society and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps to engage corps in 50 conservation service projects in 50 wild places across the U.S. to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Fifty for the 50th Campaign employs youth and veterans to conserve and improve access to our public lands and waterways.
Together, The Wilderness Society, KEEN, and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps will continue to build a lifelong connection to the outdoors for the next generation of public lands conservancy, and ultimately inspire more young Americans to actively work on and care for our public lands.
To learn more about the Fifty for the 50th Campaign, visit www.wilderness.org/50-50th
The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.