Additional information about this event is available throughout this webpage.
On Wednesday, April 20 at 1:00pm EDT during National Park Week, join the National Park Service Youth Programs Division in partnership with The Corps Network and the National Park Foundation for the virtual event, "Our Park Career Path: Corpsmembers on Their Growth as Park Stewards." Be part of the discussion about the future of the conservation movement and learn about some of the different jobs in conservation and park management. Current and former Corpsmembers and interns will share how their Conservation Corps experiences impacted their personal development, their national parks, and local communities. These young adults engage in a range of projects at national parks, from supporting the Dragonfly Mercury Project, to doing trail maintenance, performing music, educating park visitors, advancing relevancy, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, preserving Indigenous cultures, and so much more. The event will open with introductions, followed by a panel discussion, a Q&A, and closing remarks from each speaker.
Scroll down to watch the event recording on the NPS YouTube channel, or follow the NPS Youth Programs Facebook page to watch it there.
Introduction and Moderator
- Keena Graham, Superintendent, Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument, National Park Service
- Dr. Tracey Ritchie, Vice President of Education and Engagement, National Park Foundation
- Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO, The Corps Network
- Floyd Myers, Acting Chief, Youth Programs and the Experienced Services Program Division, National Park Service
- Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships, AmeriCorps
- Katherine Ko, Biologist, Air Resources Division, National Park Service (former Mosaics in Science and Geoscientists in the Parks Intern)
- Hunter Miles Davis, Park Guide, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, National Park Service (former Greening Youth Foundation Intern)
- Jamie Gonzales, Wellness Coordinator, Yosemite National Park, National Park Service (former Community Volunteer Ambassador)
- Kalen Anderson, Corpsmember, Appalachian Conservation Corps (2022 Corpsmember of the Year)
- Eduardo Chaidez, Education Technician, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, National Park Service (former Latino Heritage Internship Program Intern)
- Olivia Czajka, Corpsmember, YouthWork
Q&A Session (all speakers + speaker below)
Lisa McClure, Senior Manager, Grants and Programs, National Park Foundation
Watch the Event Recording
Have any questions? Please email us!
- 1-minute promo video of The Corps Network: We Are the Doers - Strengthening America Through Service & Conservation
- 2-minute video from The Corps Network: Corpsmember Perspectives
- Learn about the Dragonfly Mercury Project
- Learn about Werowocomoco
- Learn about NPF’s Communities and Workforce
- Check out the video about “The Grit & Passion of National Park Service Trail Crews”
Learn More About Our Participating Partners
National Park Service Youth Programs: nps.gov/subjects/youthprograms
The Corps Network: corpsnetwork.org
National Park Foundation: nationalparks.org
Appalachian Conservation Corps: https://appalachiancc.org/
Conservation Legacy: conservationlegacy.org
Environment for the Americas: https://environmentamericas.org
Greening Youth Foundation: https://gyfoundation.org
Meet the Speakers
Upon moving to Washington D.C., she kicked off her career with the National Park Service by volunteering at Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial. There was no turning back after that experience. She worked as a park ranger at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, the Corp of Discovery II: the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Jean LaFitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Russell Cave National Monument, and details at Natchez National Historical Park, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site, and Kennesaw Mountain National National Battlefield Park. She spent years with the US Fish & Wildlife Service at a National Wildlife Refuge located outside of Atlantic City, NJ.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Kat was studying ecology (and theatre) in Nashville when a service trip took her out west to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Her NPS journey began there, as a volunteer in 2017. She then completed three internships with Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship Program, Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (now part of the Scientists in Parks Program), and Appalachian Mountain Club. In 2020, Kat accepted her current position, where she helps manage the very same program that she contributed to as an intern. Through her own NPS journey, Kat hopes to inspire and pave the way for the next generation of diverse young professionals.
The road to the National Park Service was not a short one, but it was worth it. Hunter worked on many programs, hosted many ranger talks, preparing him for his entry to the National Parks over the course of two internships. He believes the internship prepared him for what he loves to do. Daily, Hunter interacts with visitors and has a chance to display his love of music and Jazz with the public in the best city for a musician. In addition to music, Hunter enjoys producing and editing film, photography, and suit tailoring as he is inspired by multiple avenues of the arts.
Jamie Gonzales is a former AmeriCorps member in Conservation Legacy’s Stewards Individual Placement program, Jamie spent more than two years with Community Volunteer Ambassadors (CVA), a program that places recent high school and college graduates at national parks across the country to build relationships between parks and people. By listening to volunteers and staff at Yosemite National Park, Jamie led presentations to park leadership and partners, advocating to strengthen employee resource groups and gain approval to manage a parkwide relevancy, diversity and inclusion council. Among other outcomes, Jamie’s efforts supported the first Yosemite Pride event in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
During her service, Jamie has led numerous critical meetings among park stakeholders, focused on building relationships, promoting employee wellbeing, and advancing equity goals. Her hard work did not go unnoticed: Jamie is now employed at Yosemite National Park with the Safety Office in the Superintendent’s Division. This position was created for her to allow her to continue her work in employee engagement and increasing advocacy for the park’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Kalen Anderson is a current AmeriCorps member with the Werowocomoco Ancestral Lands program through Conservation Legacy's Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC), which works at Colonial National Historical Park. He has always been eager to learn and is helpful, punctual, and a hard worker. This new program teaches Native youth resource management skills while engaging them in sharing their cultural knowledge and assisting with preservation and interpretation activities surrounding Werowocomoco: a recently rediscovered site with deep historic significance for Tribes in what is today Virginia. Kalen took every opportunity offered, completing trainings in water quality assessment, invasive species identification, the Archeology Repatriation Act, and many other fields. As a member of the Nansemond, he used his training to contribute to his tribe’s oyster bed recovery work on the Nansemond River.
After Kalen's time with ACC, a partner worked with him to serve in a different internship position to help him deepen his knowledge of archaeology. After completing this position, Kalen will return to ACC this upcoming season to serve in a lead role for the Werowocomoco Ancestral Lands Corps individual placements. As a supervisor said of Kalen, “You can tell how deeply he cares about his heritage and the land in which he wants to take care of.”
She began her first term with YouthWork in June of 2020 where her crew pulled invasive species, built trails in the Hiawatha National Forest, and built boardwalks on the North Country Trail in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The following summer, she came back for a second term with YouthWork where she was a part of a crew that restored historic buildings of Camp Nesbit in the Ottawa National Forest. YouthWork provides hands-on experience that gives her the opportunity to contribute to her community, as well as to the national parks and forests in a meaningful way. She looks forward to completing more projects and encouraging people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds to get involved in their communities and with our public lands.
Although his passion for social justice, community outreach, and conservation has led him to a career with the National Park Service, he is also an artist exploring race and representation in portrait painting and has had his art featured in the Dia de Los Muertos Festival in Oakland. He can also be found exploring the outdoors on his bicycle. Eduardo currently serves on the Board of Directors for Civicorps in Oakland , of which he is also an alum. He hopes that by serving on the Board, he can continue to cultivate an environment of inspiration for current and future Corpsmembers.
He has also held Executive Management positions at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, the Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail and the Booker T. Washington National Memorial. Most recently, he served as the Acting Deputy Superintendent for the Martin Luther King National Historical Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last updated: April 24, 2022