Projects ranging from sage grouse habitat improvement near Gillette to conservation work at Devils Tower and constructing wildlife-friendly fences at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge will be conducted this summer by members of the Wyoming Conservation Corps (WCC).
University of Wyoming students will gain valuable experience while developing leadership and outdoor skills on 18 projects, that include work at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, where workers will build a trail along the Bighorn River — a blue ribbon trout river — and do historic preservation on the Mason-Lovell Cabin.
Administered by Residence Life and Dining Services in UW’s Division of Student Affairs, WCC is a grant-supported program that engages students in conservation-based projects throughout the state, says Assistant Director Patrick Harrington.
WCC has been supported by the Corporation for National and Community Services’ AmeriCorps program, Wyoming State Legislature and cooperating partners including the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites (traditionally the cooperating agency that supports the most WCC work projects each year), Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI), National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and some industry, corporate and nonprofit organizations including Devon Energy, Tronox Alkali Corp. and the Casper Rotary Club.
Founded in 2006, the WCC continues the civil service tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and Youth Conservation Corps of the 1970s. Nearly 320 students have completed more than 215 projects relating to energy, wildlife, recreation, grazing, timber management, property restoration and maintenance, and water and air quality.
Projects being completed this summer are:
June 1-10 — Fence removal at Fort Phil Kearney; trail development at Glendo State Park; and mountain pine beetle mitigation at Sinks Canyon State Park.
June 15-24 — Mason-Lovell historic cabin restoration at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area; campground restoration at Sinks Canyon State Park; and trail development at Hot Springs State Park.
June 29-July 8 — General conservation work at Devils Tower National Monument; trail development at Guernsey State Park; and fencing work at the Medicine Lodge Historic Site.
July 13-22 — Archaeological site restoration on BLM land near Newcastle; trail development for the Casper Rotary Club; and trail development at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.
July 27-August 5 — Head cut stabilization and fencing with Devon Energy and the OSLI at Coyote Gulch; fencing work with Tronox Alkali Corp. near Green River; and prairie dog dusting for the U.S. Forest Service at Thunder Basin National Grassland.
August 10-19 — Historic restoration work at both South Pass City and Fort Bridger historic sites; sage grouse habitat restoration with Devon Energy and the BLM in the Powder River Basin; and general conservation work at Devils Tower National Monument.
Students working on the WCC crews, listed by hometown, are:
Alexandria, Va. — Andrea Smith.
Big Horn — Madison Williams.
Broadview, N.M. — Jason Armstrong.
Broomfield, Colo. — Cheyenne Koch.
Casper — Jordan Giese and Shane Nielsen.
Cody — Elise D’Alessandro.
Kirkwood, Mo. — Christian Bopp.
Lakewood, Colo. — Amelia Sheesley.
Laramie — Alek Angele.
Moody, Ala. — Amanda Harper.
New Paltz, N.Y. — Eli Reisman.
Parker, Colo. — Jason Carroll and Heidi Dowling.
Park Ridge, Ill. — Matt Cronin.
Rock Springs — Kayla Joy Carr.
Scottsville, Ky. — Ryan Oberhelman.
Sheridan — Phil Klebba.
South Lyon, Mich. — Becky Wildt.
Steamboat Springs, Colo. — Taylor Miller.
Temple Terrace, Fla. — Christian Marr.
Torrington — Kayla Matlock.
Wilson — Austin Deane.