GulfCorps, employing young adults from Gulf of Mexico coastal communities to develop skills in habitat restoration, was recently selected as a 2019 Project of the Year by The Corps Network, the national association of Service and Conservation Corps. The Network is also recognizing a GulfCorps participant, Jasmine Poole, as a Corpsmember of the Year.
The Project of the Year award is focused on innovative efforts that work with partners to give Corps participants positive experiences while providing communities with meaningful improvements. Just in its second year, GulfCorps has almost 100 members who have gone, or are going through the program.
In its first year, crew members plucked thousands of invasive apple snails from rivers, cut brush and bramble on state, federal, local and nonprofit land, replaced aging boardwalks through marshlands, and revegetated a Mississippi coastal island with 46,000 plants. In total more than 300 acres of habitat was restored. The second year is on its way to success as well.
Through the Corpsmember of the Year award, The Corps Network recognizes young men and women who exhibit outstanding leadership skills and are committed to service and civic engagement. Jasmine Poole, working through our partners at Limitless Vistas, Inc. in Louisiana, is in her second year serving as a GulfCorps crew member, and is one of six 2019 Corpsmembers of the Year. Over her tenure, she has mapped invasive species, ensured red-headed woodpecker habitat was safe during prescribed burns, and repaired aging boardwalks in New Orleans area wildlife refuges. She also has participated in many community events, showing her passion for contributions to both fieldwork and local communities.
Ms. Poole says that the Corps experience has made her a better leader and more responsible, knowledgeable and aware of her surroundings. Her colleagues must agree, because Corpsmember of the Year awards start with nomination from the Corps they work with. The executive director of Limitless Vistas, Inc. stated that, “Ms. Poole has become a great example to young minority women,” and “her boundless upbeat, can-do attitude is appreciated by her fellow Corpsmembers.”
GulfCorps is among other NOAA conservation Corps programs supporting youth and veterans with employment and training in the habitat restoration fields. We’re proud of this program and Ms. Poole for their recognition by The Corps Network and look forward to continued positive impacts to coastal habitat and communities in the Gulf of Mexico.
GulfCorps is administered by NOAA with funding from the RESTORE Council, and is established as a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, The Corps Network, and the Student Conservation Association.