IIC Contributes to President Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps

Published: February 22, 2021 | Author: Kevin Koontz | Read Time: 2 minutes

IIC Contributes to President Biden’s Civilian Climate CorpsWith the signing of an executive order on January 27, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden took the first step in establishing a Civilian Climate Corps. Southern Utah University’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) is ready to assist the Biden-Harris Administration by providing work opportunities, engaging Americans in addressing climate change, and building community resilience.

The executive order directs the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to develop a strategy to mobilize the next generation of conservation workers to restore public lands and waters, increase access to outdoor recreation, improve community resilience, and more broadly address climate change.

Similar to President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s, Civilian Conservation Corps, like SUU’s IIC program, provide many young people with the opportunity to develop skills and earn a paycheck through responding to environmental crises. Today’s corps seeks to be a more progressive version of Roosevelt’s CCC by being community-based, modeled on public-private partnerships, and offering equal opportunities to women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented populations.

Working with other like-minded local organizations such as the Utah Conservation Corp and the Canyon Country Conservation Corp, SUU’s IIC is excited to continue contributing to this new initiative that will not only address climate change, but also address racial inequity by providing opportunities for young people of color in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and decades of environmental injustice.

Even with the obstacles presented by COVID-19 the IIC was able to contribute 95,589 hours over the course of last year. By creating a COVID Community Conservation Crew the IIC was able to address projects that were delayed due to COVID protocols, as well as those that became more urgent because of the unusual circumstances. Duties of the COVID Community Conservation Crew included tending to community gardens, painting fire zone curbs, and removing litter around Cedar City. Additionally, this group spent much of their time restoring and patrolling the heavily impacted local trails which have seen a significant increase in usage from a population pursuing socially distant outdoor recreational opportunities.

Beginning in 2007 as an outgrowth of the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism degree at SUU, the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative engages youth in building meaningful leadership and educational skills. These experiences provide opportunities to develop a working knowledge about natural and cultural resources and a variety of careers in public lands management while shaping the next generation of public land leaders and advocates.

Tags: Outdoors Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative

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