Over many years, the Watershed Management Division has been pleased to engage in a partnership with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), to clean up sediment and nutrient pollution while educating the next generation of young environmental leaders. Every year, VYCC work crews, under the leadership of experienced and VYCC-trained crew leaders, work with the Division’s watershed coordinators in areas identified as high priorities. For several years prior to 2010, VYCC relied on the watershed coordinators to do the majority of the planning and design for this work. The VYCC crews would then come in at appointed times to execute the project.
However, beginning in 2010, the Division took a fresh look at our partnership with VYCC, with an eye towards having VYCC’s crews not simply execute projects in the field, but also design them independently. Under the direction of VYCC Operations Director Keegan Tierney, and with funding from the Division’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, VYCC’s crew leaders now obtain technical assistance from Division coordinators and other technical staff to design and execute priority projects that are identified in the Division’s Tactical Basin Plans. VYCC is training our next generation of environmental stewards by putting them to work to address water pollution sources all over Vermont. The Division’s revised approach to working with VYCC provides an efficient and cost-effective service-learning opportunity for Vermont’s youth. This is a win-win situation.