“Go Green, Young Man (or Woman)…!”

When Horace Greely (well, actually John B. L. Soule) said “Go West, young man, and grow up with the country!” he was speaking from the perspective of limitless possibilities. The Lewis and Clark Expedition had helped map out the west and many young men, and later women, answered the call.

With wilderness in peril, that same entrepreneurial spirit has opened up a new world of empowerment and possibilities for later generations. The California Conservation Corps and Southwest Conservation Corps have teamed with the non-profit Veterans Green Jobs in a win-win program to support both the country’s military veterans and the country’s national parks.

The men and women involved have the opportunity to use their skills and extensive strengths in teamwork to clear and maintain trails in deep, backcountry areas where heavy machinery would defeat the purpose of their work.  The program began in Colorado and has spread across the Rockies and further west, not unlike the Lewis and Clark Expedition itself.

Felicity Barringer writes that the veterans involved in the program have embraced the challenges of the work and the location.

They found the backcountry skill of mending trails is as difficult in its way as a more visible front-country discipline like ballet. Those who make trails, like those who make dance, leave little sign of the incredible effort involved.

Veterans Green Jobs has additional programs such as the Go Green Warehouse.  Similar to Habit for Humanity Re-store facilities across the country, the Denver area warehouse focuses on the sale of donated and surplus building materials to benefit veterans.  The organization also coordinates the employment of veterans in state sponsored home weatherization programs, both of which go a long way in carbon footprint reduction.

The organization’s mission statement reflects a deep commitment to Community, Collaboration and Conservation… and even two people with that degree of dedication plus a “rock bar” can move mountains.

4 thoughts on ““Go Green, Young Man (or Woman)…!”

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