Submitted by Forest Preserve District of Kane County
A Forest Preserve District of Kane County-based project will employ and train local veterans to work in restoration ecology, thanks to a $56,000 Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant, announced Nov. 8.
The Veterans Conservation Corps of Chicagoland, in conjunction with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, will hire four U.S. military veterans to participate in a five-month transitional job-training program. Selected applicants will learn the science and art of ecological restoration while they work to restore degraded oak woodlands, prairies and wetlands at the Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia.
To apply, interested veterans should visit www.kaneforest.com under "employment" and "current openings." Applications must be submitted online no later than midnight Sunday, Nov. 17.
Trainees will work under the guidance of fellow veteran-turned-conservationist Ben Haberthur.
Haberthur is a Marine Corps veteran and restoration ecologist for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. Haberthur created the Veterans Conservation Corps in 2012.
"The VCC was created to make a positive difference both in the lives of Chicagoland veterans, and in the landscapes in which they live. We do this by hands-on engagement in the restoration of our degraded natural lands. Our work is rooted in a deep sense of patriotism, and the belief that a country worth risking our lives for is worth preserving for future generations," Haberthur said.
"This program will enable veterans to reap the positive outcomes in health and well-being by direct contact with nature. The training will also provide real-world skills that will help them secure employment in the field of ecological restoration," he said.
Toyota TogetherGreen, a national conservation program of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, invests in conservation initiatives that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in addressing pressing environmental problems. Since 2008, Audubon and Toyota have awarded more than $5.5 million in Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants to more than 240 conservation projects nationwide. This year's grant projects will receive nearly $1 million in funding to support habitat, water and energy conservation.
"Organizations that won Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants this year have ingenuity and creativity on full display. And that's what it takes to tackle the environmental challenges we face today," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. "I'm proud to partner with these innovators in creative approaches to achieve healthier communities and big conservation results," Yarnold said.
For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.