AmeriCorps and Arkansas State Parks Partner for Conservation Efforts on Public Lands

WASHINGTON, DC, March 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leaders for AmeriCorps, Engage ArkansasArkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Parks & Recreation Foundation gathered at Pinnacle Mountain State Park on Monday, March 11, for the official signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding designed to create a framework for increased conservation programs and environmental activities in Arkansas. 

The signing event took place during AmeriCorps Week, March 10-16. The annual celebration recognizes the more than 1.3 million Americans who have chosen to serve their country through AmeriCorps programs as well as the thousands of AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers. 

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The State Parks of Arkansas date back to 1907, when Fort Smith Lumber Company officials toured Petit Jean Mountain in the Arkansas River Valley. Impressed by the mountain’s beauty, they sought to protect it, ultimately leading to the passage of Act 276 of 1923, creating Arkansas State Parks. Now, more than 100 years later, this continuing partnership will advance the shared conservation priorities of key partners from AmeriCorps and Arkansas. 

The state of Arkansas, with knowledge of its needs, priorities and existing efforts in conservation, will leverage AmeriCorps NCCC’s ability to deploy teams quickly, frequently and effectively. Since 2018, twelve AmeriCorps NCCC teams have served with Arkansas State Parks. This agreement demonstrates a commitment to prioritize and increase projects in the parks, with the potential for up to 10 AmeriCorps NCCC teams over the next 12 months, with the potential to renew and extend the MOU in the future. AmeriCorps members in the NCCC program will create and restore hiking trails, plant trees and construct and renovate public buildings to support Arkansas’ promotion of its incredibly beautiful parks, scenic rivers and hunting grounds to boost tourism, outdoor recreation and public health. 

“AmeriCorps is committed to helping build resilient communities that conserve public lands and waters,” said Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps. “Uniting community and national service with conservation efforts delivers a win all around. It improves the environment, strengthens local economies and provides pathways to clean jobs. I couldn’t be more encouraged to begin this important work with our partners in Arkansas, protecting public lands and creating greater access for all.”

“The AmeriCorps current has been flowing through Arkansas for 30 years, and thanks to this programming, our state has been able to meet and serve many community needs,” said Amanda R. Nipper, Co-Chair, Governor’s Commission on National Service and Volunteerism- Engage Arkansas. “Arkansas State Parks are a treasure in this state, and Engage Arkansas is proud to collaborate with the state parks office and our AmeriCorps NCCC partners to accomplish even more.”

“In Arkansas, we are always looking to enhance the conservation of our natural heritage for future generations,” Secretary of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Shea Lewis said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with AmeriCorps as they continue to aid us in the important task of building a skilled workforce and growing conservation efforts.”

Outdoor recreation and tourism revenue are vital to the Arkansas economy. The shared goals of this partnership, signed just one month ahead of Earth Day, will leverage conservation-based programs and activities, effectively protecting and increasing access to environmental and outdoor resources in Arkansas. 

Since 2000, AmeriCorps NCCC teams have assisted 20.6 million people in disaster areas, recruited or coordinated nearly 940,000 volunteers, assisted more than 33,000 veterans, served 6.1 million meals, protected more than 1.6 million acres of land through firefighting and fire management and more. 

This AmeriCorps Week, AmeriCorps celebrates its 30th Anniversary and the millions of Americans ages 18 to 55+, who have served with AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors programs. In nearly 40,000 locations right now, more than 200,000 people serve as members or volunteers across all 50 states and territories. To join the celebration, follow AmeriCorps on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and join the conversation by sharing pictures and stories on Twitter, using #AmeriCorpsWeek. 

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency places more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.

AmeriCorps offers opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds to be a part of the national service community, grow personally and professionally, and receive benefits for their service. Learn how to get involved at AmeriCorps.gov/Serve.

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  • AmeriCorps and Arkansas State Parks Partner for Conservation Efforts on Public Lands

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