National Parks Service

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Summer 2020

Project Description: Glade Restoration

Partners: National Park Service

The purpose of our agreement with the National Parks Service is to engage a five (5) member youth crew in projects to restore and enhance the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield landscape. The work may include sawing and chipping woody vegetation, invasive species management, and trail maintenance, etc. as needed. The youth will gain “real world” hands-on experience outside the classroom on natural, cultural, and historical resource projects. This project will advance recommendations in the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield (WICR) Cultural Landscape Report and Environmental Assessment resulting in greater visitor enjoyment and appreciation, and natural resource conservation. The crew will assist the NPS to control invasive plants, clear vegetation, and other activities to restore the battlefield landscape.

Project Update: Watershed Conservation Corps completes three month project at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield to restore and protect the park’s natural and cultural resources. The glade restoration project at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield this summer has been, hands down, the most difficult work we have ever done. Despite this, our WCC crew (Hannah Stinnett, Trey Thompson, Dillan Simmons, Jeremy Graham, Adam Barton, Jeremiah Cline, Chyanne Bowen) worked with precision, tenacity, and fortitude—accomplishing more than the park and we thought possible.

Not only has the WCC restored over 40 acres of glade habitat this summer, areas that will be managed in perpetuity becoming a permanent feature of the park, the crew has added an amazing project to their experiences while gaining industry connections along the way.

Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Summer 2019

Project Description: Glade Restoration

Partners: National Park Service

The Watershed Conservation Corps is doing some exciting work this summer at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. Restoration efforts by the WCC have resulted in the endangered Missouri Bladderpod returning to Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and Valley Water Mill Park. The conservation-oriented work will look good on a future resume. Many of the WCC crew members will use their experience to help land jobs in the outdoors world. “I want to be a park ranger,” said Wetzel, the MSU senior, during a break at Wilson’s Creek battlefield. “This is a great stepping stone to help get you into that field.”

It’s the first and only nationally recognized conservation corps in Missouri, its crews being certified through the Corps Network, a national organization that encourages young people to work in public service. “That is the spirit of what we are doing,” said Caleb Sanders, manager of the WCC. “Our mission is to employ and engage people in watershed improvements that help the environment.”

National Park Service: 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Program National Youth Cooperative Agreements, Summer 2019

Buffalo National River Watershed Improvement 

Partners: 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, National Park Service, Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network 

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) is a collaborative effort between Federal government agencies and nonprofit service organizations to put America’s youth and veterans to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors. Through the 21CSC, young people will accomplish meaningful work, and gain important personal and professional skills while building a lifelong connection to the outdoors. The 21CSC strives to put Americans to work, preserve, protect and promote America’s greatest gifts, and to build America’s future. 

Through a four year agreement with 21 CSC and National Park Service, the Watershed Conservation Corps will have the opportunity to improve the riparian corridor and watershed of the Buffalo National River. WCC members will be tasked with monitoring and treating Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) along America’s first National River. The Buffalo National River, which saw over 1.5 million visitors in 2016, is an excellent recreation destination filled with opportunities to hike, paddle, camp and climb. This valuable project will provide WCC members meaningful and challenging opportunities to preserve one of the last undammed rivers of the lower-48 states. For more information about 21 CSC, visit their website.