Press Releases

 

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Helping hands aid in restoration of historic cabin

Fredonia, Ariz., December 1, 2016

A mile and a half southwest as the crow flies from the Jacob Lake Inn sits an old wooden Forest Service Cabin. The structure is significant to the agency as it once served as a ranger station on the Kaibab Plateau providing rangers with remote workspace to manage programs for timber, livestock, tourism, wildlife, and fire protection.

Link to Press Release

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Flagstaff, AZ | August 26, 2016 10:00

Little Bear Trail reopens after being closed for 6 years

The Flagstaff Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Little Bear Trail after many donations and years of volunteer efforts.

The trail was closed in 2010, when the entire area was closed for public safety concerns after the Schultz Fire impacted the area. Following the Schultz Fire, numerous hazards along the trail such as falling trees, rolling rocks and unstable trail conditions kept the trail closed, and monsoon storms continued to severely erode and flood the trail.

“Without the amazing efforts of our Flagstaff trail volunteer community, this re-opening would not have been possible,” said Sean Murphy, Flagstaff Ranger District Trails and Wilderness Technician. “It is a privilege to work for, and with, such a dedicated and involved community!”

The trail’s revitalization was a huge effort from multiple partners with the Forest Service. Individuals and businesses within the community stepped forward, and more than $40,000 was spent to employ American Conservation Experience (ACE) crews in the interest of seeing the trail stabilized and made safe for public enjoyment.

Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO) and the U.S. Forest Service used grants and work days to repair treacherous rocky terrain to once again provide a safe trail for bikers, equestrians and hikers. Not only did Flagstaff Biking Organization have three volunteer events in 2016 to work on Little Bear Trail, but they collected $10,000 in grants and funds garnered from events managed by the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona (MBAA). This allowed for additional ACE crews to help realign one of the most problematic spots on the trail. Additionally, the Flagstaff Ranger District obtained another $30,000 in grant funds to keep ACE working through the fall.

Other organizations assisted in repairs, sponsored trail events and helped provide refreshments to those working on the trail. This included the Coconino Horseman’s Alliance, Coconino Trail Riders, Cosmic Cycles, Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution and Run Flagstaff. Fratelli Pizza, Kickstand Coffee and Biff’s Bagels graciously provided refreshments.

“Some of the things that ACE has completed on the trail are, quite frankly, works of art,” said Deborah Soltesz, volunteer trail worker and Coconino National Forest webmaster. “The work involved not just major rehabilitation labor, or the moving of dirt and rock sloughed over the trail, but fixing some washed out drainages and trail rerouting by building new trail near the old one, where repairing the old eroded trail was unfeasible.”

During the last trail day sponsored by Flagstaff Biking Organization on Oct. 15, more than 45 people participated, representing all types of forest users and community volunteers.
“The trail closure is one of the little wounds left by the Schultz Fire,” said Soltesz, “and the process of reopening it has been part of the community’s healing following the [Schultz] fire’s devastation.”

Little Bear Trail climbs the Dry Lake Hills from Little Elden Trail to meet Sunset Trail in a quiet nook between the Dry Lake Hills and Mount Elden.

The trail climbs through the skeletons left behind by the Schultz Fire and patches of surviving ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. It gradually winds through Douglas-fir, limber pine, and pockets of aspen trees at the top. The trail offers outstanding views of the San Francisco Peaks, Sunset Crater, several prominent volcanic peaks, and in the distant background the Painted Desert acts as a colorful backdrop.

Many wildlife species make their home in this area including mule deer, elk, porcupine and black bear for which the trail is named. In addition, red-tailed hawks, raven and the occasional turkey vulture will dazzle you with their aerial acrobatics.

The Coconino National Forest would like to thank all of those who helped support this effort over the years it took to rehabilitate this trail. “This was a true multi-partner effort!” said Murphy.
For images of the Oct. 15 Trail Day, please visit the Coconino National Forest Flickr site at https://goo.gl/3omDwj. More information and a map showing the location of Little Bear Trail is located on the Coconino National Forest public website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=55124.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Santa Cruz, CA | July 5, 2016 10:00

American Conservation Experience Announces New Director of ACE California

ACE’s management team is proud and excited to start the second half of 2016 by welcoming Sarah Miggins as the new Director of ACE California.

We are fortunate to have attracted Sarah, who has spent virtually her entire professional career, spanning over 20 years, as a conservationist, executive director, and founder of a conservation corps. Sarah’s career path began in a manner that should be both familiar and inspiring to current ACE members and interns. She launched her career as an SCA intern in the Tahoe National Forest in 1994, an experience that prepared her to serve as Lead Naturalist for the San Bernardino National Forest Association for the next 4 years. In 2001 she joined the Los Angeles Conservation Corps as Environmental Service Director, where she spent 5 years helping to develop many innovative programs, including the largest urban shade tree program in the nation, and AmeriCorps Recovery team responding to bark beetle infestations and natural disasters, and a city parks playground installation program throughout South and East LA.

In 2005 Sarah was hired as Executive Director of the Southern California Mountains Foundation, under which she founded the Urban Conservation Corps to work with at risk youth in the San Bernardino and Big Bear Areas. Under Sarah’s leadership her new corps became a member of the CA Local Youth Corps Association, achieved financial viability by securing over 55 million dollars in grant and other project funds, provided development opportunities for hundreds of local urban youth, and mentored her successor to ensure a smooth transition as she departed SCMF in 2005 after a decade of service.

Sarah’s most recent professional success has been with the Audubon Society, where she spent the past year as Director of Debs Park Nature Center in Los Angeles, developing a strategic plan to increase volunteerism, enhance visitation, and stabilize revenue.

Sarah joins ACE as our California branch approaches its 10-year anniversary (May of 2017). We enter our second decade in at an exciting period of expansion and opportunity and will be guided by Sarah’s expertise and vision as we continue to launch innovative new programs. Sarah’s vast network of professional peers and colleague among corps and land management agencies in California, her proven skills as a grant writer, her capacity to mentor and develop professional staff, and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration uniquely prepare her to lead our next phase of development.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2015 16:00

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Flagstaff, AZ, October 8, 2015–

AMERICAN CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE ANNOUNCING ACE PRCC – PUERTO RICO CONSERVATION CORPS

In partnership with the National Park Service, American Conservation Experience is pleased to announce the launch of ACE Puerto Rico Conservation Corps (PRCC), a corps program based in Puerto Rico.

The establishment of a year round PRCC crew will provide job skills development training for Puerto Rican youth, while addressing the island’s maintenance needs by undertaking infrastructure development with a focus on preservation and environmental conservation restoration. ACE will ensure continuity of standards and connection with the overall ACE program culture.

ACE’s goal is to provide professionally supervised crews of youth and young adults with experience in a variety of practical restoration projects on America’s public lands. Crews will participate in restoration and historic preservation projects, vegetation management, fencing, trail work, and masonry work. These projects will require a highly developed skill set, and NPS technicians, ACE Southeast Director Adam Scherm, and ACE Crew Leaders will serve as professional mentors to PRCC’s youth participants. As with all of ACE’s programs, ACE PRCC will provide an enriching service learning environment to Puerto Rican corps members.

As PRCC continues to develop, ACE Southeast Director Adam Scherm will lead the operations in Puerto Rico. Adam brings a wealth of experience to the role from his tenure as a state director and seasoned crew leader. He is also fluent in Spanish, a skill he acquired his time with the Peace Corps. Adam is already working to develop recruitment channels and build relations with the local youth and young adults.

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.

If you would like more information please contact Susie Jardine at 928-226-6960 or email at susie@usaconservation.org.

For some of the first photos from ACE PRCC please visit http://www.usaconservation.org/ace-puerto-rico-photos/

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2015 13:00

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Flagstaff, AZ, August 28, 2015–

Statement from the Family of Chris Baker

Words cannot express how relieved and grateful we are for those who came to the aid of Chris while he was injured on Catalina Island.

Thank You to firefighter/EMT’s, Nathan Norris, Arnold Pane, and Jay Williams. We are so grateful for your rapid first response. Thank You to Paramedics Steve Kirkland and Dustin Stevens, and Conservancy Ranger Phil Lopez. Also thanks to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and helicopter transport crew. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to all of those that were involved for your help in giving Chris immediate aid. You saved his life.

Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.

We would also like to thank the doctors, nurses and hospital staff at UCLA Harbor Medical Center for the professional care you have provided.

We would also like to clarify a few comments that have been made in the press.

Chris was not taking photos of the bison when he was attacked. As it states in ACE’s earlier press release, Chris was walking down a trail and rounded a corner when he came face to face with the bison. He was charged and he did play dead to avoid further injuries from the animal. Once the animal left the area and Chris felt he was no longer in danger he managed to walk down the trail to search for help. Chris was gored by the animal and suffered from a punctured lung and broken ribs.
Chris is expected to make a full recovery.

We want to thank everyone for the well wishes and support shown to our family and Chris during this stressful time. We now request that Chris and our entire family is offered privacy during Chris’ recovery period.

In Gratitude,
The Baker Family

***The family has no further comment at this time and will not be doing any interviews, radio or televised, at this time. We are therefore asking the press to please respect the family and Mr. Baker’s privacy during his recovery.***

Left to right: Jay Williams, Arnold Paner, Nate Norris

Left to right: Jay Williams, Arnold Paner, Nate Norris

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2015

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

Flagstaff, AZ, August 27, 2015–

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 American Conservation Experience, President and CEO Chris Baker was injured by a Bison while on Catalina Island, California.

Please note that Mr. Baker was not taking photos of bison when he was attacked. He was doing field work (GPS/Mapping) for a bid he is producing for Catalina Island Conservancy to create a new trail system for the island.

As Mr. Baker was walking down a trail he turned a corner and a bison was directly in his path. He tried to slowly move away from the animal when it charged him. Fortunately Mr. Baker was able to walk approximately a ¼ mile down the trail in attempt to seek help when three off duty firefighters and paramedics found him and were the first to respond to his injuries. A local lifeguard was also on scene. They immediately called 911. The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s office responded and Mr. Baker was airlifted off the island and taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center.

Mr. Baker sustained moderate injuries and is currently recovering and doing well.

Chris would like to publicly thank Firefighters/EMT’s, Nathan Norris, Arnold Pane and Jay Williams for their rapid response and immediate aid as well as the Catalina lifeguard and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office for assisting.

ACE has been in partnership with the Catalina Island Conservancy since 2008 working with the CIC to provide various conservation and education programs to young adults in a service learning environment. ACE has had a great safety record while working on the island and will continue to work with CIC to foster a love of the natural environment through our continued partnership promoting education and service learning experiences.

The Catalina Island Conservancy wishes to extend best wishes to Mr. Baker:
“We wish Chris a rapid recovery, and know he’s getting the best of medical care. Incidents like this are extremely rare and we would like to remind visitors to Catalina Island’s scenic trails that bison are large, free ranging animals that can move very quickly.”

The Baker family has no comment at this time. We are asking the press to please respect the family and Mr. Baker’s privacy during his recovery.
For more information please contact Susie Jardine at 928-226-5791 or email at susie@usaconservation.org.

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause. www.usaconservation.org

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2015

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

American Conservation Experience Announces New Director of ACE California

Santa Cruz, CA, July 15, 2015– American Conservation Experience is excited and proud to announce that Dan Knapp will be joining our team as the Director of ACE California.

Dan brings 19 years of experience with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a tenure of committed idealism increasingly rare in society at large and invaluable in the corps and nonprofit communities. Dan’s tireless passion for both youth development and resource conservation has earned him a reputation as among the nation’s foremost advocates for inclusion and leading champions of the corps model.

ACE measures success by the quality of participants and staff who invest their passion and energy in fulfilling our mission. The board and leadership of ACE is determined to provide a setting in which to harness Dan’s talents for developing partnerships, building bridges, and implementing strategies to engage and inspire youth throughout the State of California and ultimately throughout the nation.

Dan’s predecessor, Keith Trainor, departs after 6 years, leaving ACE California with a network of positive, mutually supportive partnerships built on the trust and esteem that he worked with unfailing drive and integrity to develop. We cannot adequately convey our gratitude for Keith’s positive leadership throughout his years with ACE.

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.

If you would like more information please contact Susie Jardine at 928-226-6960 or email at susie@usaconservation.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2015

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email: susie@usaconservation.org

American Conservation Experience Forestry Scholarship Recipient Awarded to Samuel Ebright

Flagstaff, AZ, June 8, 2015– ACE is pleased to announce the 2015 American Conservation Experience Forestry Scholarship was awarded to Northern Arizona University student, Samuel Ebright.
Sam Ebright is pursuing his bachelor of science in forestry at Northern Arizona University. Sam is an undergraduate research assistant in the School of Forestry Ecology Lab, and will be working in the field this 2015 summer season. His focus is in international conservation. His hope is to work around the world for community development.

“I have worked hard to finance my education and Northern Arizona University. My education at NAU and the field experience I have gained over the past two years have afforded me many opportunities. As I continue my education and begin my professional career I intend to pay it forward. Thank you graciously and sincerely for this opportunity and support.”

–Samuel Ebright

An award is given to a forestry student demonstrating academic excellence and financial need. This fund was established by American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit organization based out of Flagstaff, Arizona. ACE was founded in 2004 to provide rewarding environmental service opportunities that harness the idealism and energy of a volunteer labor force to help restore America’s public lands.

ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross cultural understanding and operates in the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.

If you would like more information about American Conservation Experience,
Please contact Susie Jardine at 928-226-6960 or email at susie@usaconservation.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2015

Contact: Susie Jardine
Telephone: 928-226-5791
Address: 2900 N. Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Email:susie@usaconservation.org

Flagstaff, AZ: American Conservation Experience President Chris Baker has a special connection to Nepal. His brother in law is Nepalese and co-founded an environmental NGO in Kathmandu called Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA). Many of his friends and extended family are deeply rooted in the philanthropic and environmental movement in Nepal.

ECCA has asked ACE to reach out to the conservation industry and to our individual members and followers to address a very specific need for tents. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese, including untold numbers of children, are homeless. Chris’ family has set up a distribution chain to ensure that the tents rapidly reach the villages in foothills of the Himalayas that have been utterly destroyed and where night time temperatures present a crisis situation. A medical team will be departing San Francisco between May 6th and 10th and has special allowance from the airline to transport 200 tents. Subsequent flights are being arranged, and the need for shelter will persist for many months and through the winter, so there is really no limit to the number of tents that are desperately needed and that can be distributed.

Any tent in good repair is needed, including 2 – 3 person tents for small families, 6 person tents, and larger wall style tents for medical clinics and triage.

On behalf of countless Nepalese without shelter, and on behalf of Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness, ACE is appealing to all conservation organizations to donate as many tents in working condition as possible. This is a direct, tangible, locally-managed way that the conservation community can help in a crisis of unimaginable scale.

If you are able to make a tent donation, please ship tents to:
American Conservation Experience
Attn: Nepal Tent Drive
333 Soquel Ave.,
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

If you are located near an ACE branch and would like to drop off a tent please visit our contact page for a branch near you.

Update: A message from Chris Baker
4/30/2015 – 1:00 PM PST

“There are many media reports and a lot of conflicting information coming out of Nepal. Please understand that this tent drive is a result of a direct, on the ground appeal for help that ACE received from ECCA, a local NGO in Kathmandu. It is true that well intended individuals risk inundating Nepal with random goods that languish undistributed. This targeted appeal to ACE to help gather tents does not fall into that category. ECCA has arranged transport of the tents into Kathmandu and has a local distribution chain set up. Just one suburb of Kathmandu alone needs 200,000 tents, a need that is not being addressed by the international aid community on that scale. Every tent counts and each donated tent will quickly reach a needy family.

Thanks to everyone for pulling together and supporting this relief effort.”

ACE President and CEO, Chris Baker

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