Chickamauga and Chattanooga Conservation Crew
Each summer since 2015, National Park Partners provides funding for a five-person crew, plus a team leader, from the Southeast Conservation Corps. Known as the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Conservation Crew, or C4, these young folks work side by side with National Park Service Rangers on projects ranging from monument restoration to trail maintenance and fence building. Check out our recent blog post about the 2018 crew, and the photos below that show the hard work and dedication of this year's C4 team.
History of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Conservation Crew:
In the summer of 2015, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park partnered with the Friends of Moccasin Bend and the Southeast Conservation Corps to establish the National Park Service Urban Archeology Corps. The UAC was made up of local youth (age from 15-26) who worked with archeologists, park staff, and SECC staff to improve visitors’ experiences at Moccasin Bend National Archeological District while maintaining the archeological integrity of its sensitive sites.
The 2015 UAC was a diverse crew whose main project was to improve the Blue Blazes Trail. They eliminated invasive species such as privet and honeysuckle, pruned the trail corridor and built bridges over low spots on the Trail. Woven into their work were lessons about all aspects of working for the National Park Service, from history and interpretation to maintenance and management. In addition, the UAC took field trips each week for “educational days” during which they snorkeled a river in a nearby national forest, learned CPR, participated in the Park’s living history weaponry program, explored astronomy, and more.
As paid employees, the UAC youths gained professional skills that will serve them well in future schooling or jobs. Participants acknowledged that the UAC was truly a transformative experience. Some said they would now be considering careers in the National Park Service or in other conservation fields. UAC members also developed a new appreciation for the special role the National Park Service plays in their community. Ultimately, the 2015 pilot program was successful in carrying out the Centennial Goal of the NPS: connecting with and creating the next generation of park visitors, stewards, and advocates.
The 2016 and 2017 Urban Archeology Corps teams continued their service through a variety of projects, including replacing an old footbridge that had become a safety concern along the Yellow Trail at Chickamauga Battlefield. Beginning in 2018, the name of the program changed to Chickamauga & Chattanooga Conservation Crew, but the dedication of the team remains the same. We are proud to continue funding this beneficial program that provides hard-working interns to the Park Service and creates the next generation of National Park ambassadors!
Very special thanks to the Lyndhurst Foundation for their grant in support of the 2018 C4 program!