Youth Corps

Eastman Youth Conservation Corps: Installing a Sign for Ice Cascades

Eastman Youth Conservation Corps: Building on a Program Foundation

2011 Project Report

The Youth Conservation Corps was first initiated in Eastman by the NH Lakes Association in 2010, supported through a generous grant from the Eastman Charitable Foundation. Consistent with the Foundation's mission, the program introduces Eastman youth to the principles of lake ecology. An effective partnership was established with Eastman Recreation and the Lakes and Streams Committee to identify interested youth and carry to out the Youth Corps project. Thanks to the continued generosity of the Foundation, it was possible to implement additional, targeted, lake protection measures at and near South Cove during the period June - July, 2011, this time with the Lakes and Streams Committee taking the lead. Again, the projects were completed in partnership with NH Lakes Association and Eastman Recreation. A total volunteer match of $4,771 was achieved. The actual project budget is attached. See separate PDF attachment for illustrative project photos.

Benefits of the Youth Conservation Corps Program. The goal of the YCC is to foster enduring partnerships with Eastman residents and youth, committees and groups interested in conservation within and outside Eastman. Significant positive outcomes are associated with an overall enhanced awareness and understanding of watershed protection issues by the youth, volunteers, and community members who participate in the projects or visit the sites.

The Projects. The projects started with an orientation and watershed protection training provided by NH Lakes Association. Lakes & Streams leaders conducted a pre-project knowledge assessment exercise related to erosion and storm water management. Each of the three projects focused on preventing erosion and reducing polluted storm water from going into the lake. Two projects were completed in the back of South Cove, while one project involved the lake trail near East Lake Beach. First, a new rain garden was built on the side of the Pavilion near the Fitness Center. Rain gardens collect water in bowl-shaped vegetated areas, and allow it to slowly sink into the ground. This reduces the potential for erosion and minimizes the amount of pollutants flowing into the lake. A rain barrel was purchased and installed to collect runoff from the roof. The water will be used to water the garden. Second, post holes were dug and a split-rail fence was put up along the pathway at the bottom of the embankment near Peppermint Patty's, to discourage people from walking up through a rain garden constructed in 2010. Improvements included installing a drainage pipe across a section of the pathway and strengthening the berm by the garden. Third, a wet section of the Lake Trail by East Lake Beach was improved. Wood from an old fence was reused to fashion a walkway between the canoe racks. The wood frame was filled with washed pebbles provided by ECA. The Corps also cleaned up the canoe landing area. The latter project was completed in partnership with the Woodlands & Wildlife Committee.

The Youth Corps Crew and Volunteers. Seven Eastman teen residents took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about lake protection measures. They were: Rachel Berg, Keri Hutchinson, Nate Lang, Brendan and Kaitlin McCarthy, Jonathan Morris, and Jane Tangen. All but two were experienced crew members from 2010. This shows that the program appeals to teens and that a core group of Eastman youth is committed to conservation. They were supervised or assisted by volunteers from the Lakes & Streams and Woodlands & Wildlife Committees: Rolf Hammer, Craig McArt, Ebba McArt, Sharon Parker, Garth Rand, Bill Underhill, Jackie Underhill, Maynard Wheeler. Recreation staff Kevin Jondro and Mike Denver provided valuable project support.

Visibility and Publicity. The rain garden was completed in time for viewing and tours at Eastman's LEED Gold Certification Celebration event on July 1st.. Informal tours of the two South Cove rain gardens were conducted by Youth Corps members. All the projects were completed in time for the Annual Lakes & Streams Lake Appreciation Week July 30th - August 4th. During this event, residents had opportunities to learn about our watershed through displays and handouts, visit the rain gardens, and expand their knowledge about effective storm water runoff and erosion control. An interactive demonstration model provided by NH LAKES showcased storm water runoff problems. Publicity and updates about the Youth Corps grant project has been disseminated through ECA Council reports, Eastman Living magazine, Lakes & Streams Committee bulletin boards, and NH LAKES publications. The completed restoration projects will continue to be referenced and showcased by the Lakes & Streams Committee.

Future plans. A permanent Youth Conservation Corps, offered in collaboration with the summer youth Recreation program, is envisioned. Training a cadre of Eastman youth for the future is a positive and concrete long-term investment. The program has also demonstrated that a significant number of residents can get involved, directly or indirectly, raising awareness of stewardship of the lake. Going forward, we anticipate that the Youth Corps will broaden its commitment to the watershed environment and partner with other Eastman groups interested in conservation. This year's involvement of the Woodlands & Wildlife Committee signifies the start of an expanded focus. Moreover, a valuable partnership has been established with the NH Lakes Association for technical and educational support.

Project Evaluation and Outcomes. Volunteers working with Youth Corps members reported that they enjoyed their experience. Several residents living near the East Lake trail improvement site have expressed appreciation for the work done. Pre- and post project assessment showed that Youth Corps members gained new knowledge and understanding of lake protection measures. Specifically, the project has: 1) further reduced the amount of polluted water going into the lake; 2) enhanced the visual appeal of South Cove; 3) firmly established a youth conservation mission for Recreation and the community.

Work sheet forms tracked tasks that Corps members liked: "shoveling; learning what a berm is; pick axing; learning to plant well; installing pipe; putting in the fence; I felt like a construction worker; weeding was relaxing but hard work." Crew members also responded to the post-project questions below.

What did you like most about the projects you worked on?
"It gave me a sense of accomplishment. When I go to Peppermint Patty's I show it off."
"They made me feel productive during my summer. I always learned something new."
"I learned about rain gardens, if water doesn't get caught up it pollutes the lake."

If you could do these projects again, what would you change or do differently? "Do it right the first time." (Last year's rain garden needed repair)

What Youth Corps projects would you like to see in the future?
"Fix the big ditch by the beach in West Cove A. Put a plank across the ditch."
"Improve the trail around the lake."
"Make it easier for kids to go fishing on the lake, build a dock or a place to fish from."

Submitted by
Ebba W. McArt
Lakes & Streams Committee

2010 Project Report

In 2010, the Youth Corps at Eastman (six volunteers from the Eastman Community Association's (ECA) Lakes & Streams Committee and eight teenagers from the community) installed five stormwater management techniques at the community's South Cove Activity Center. We thank NH LAKES and the Eastman Charitable Foundation for their support. Read the full report here.

Rain Garden Project

Embankment Project

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