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Women at Work: All-female crew rebuilds campsites on Daniel Boone National Forest

Through partnership with the Southeast Conservation Corps, the Daniel Boone National Forest was privileged to host a 14 member all-female trail crew earlier this fall.

The crew spent eight weeks rebuilding campsites, constructing a quarter mile of trail and completing other necessary maintenance work on the Forest’s popular Bee Rock Campground on the London Ranger District. Their work was instrumental in restoring the severely flood-damaged campground.

“While we are always excited to have service crews join us here on the Forest, this crew was special,” said Jason Nedlo, London District Ranger. “Land management has historically been a challenging field for women to break into, but opportunities like this all-female crew show that the field is steadily opening up to more diverse voices.”

Since 2013, the Southeast Conservation Corps has engaged almost 400 program participants in more than 75,000 hours of conservation service work across the southeastern United States. Their work to connect young people to the natural environment through conservation-based service learning, personal development, and recreation has also served to include groups that may otherwise be marginalized in outdoor spaces. In addition to women-only programs, they also offer programs for youth, veterans, and speakers of American Sign Language.

Through these opportunities, they are contributing to the education of a new generation of land management professionals who feel empowered to bring change to the field.

“Traditionally when you think of any sort of manual labor field, it’s usually dominated by men,” said Jackie Ellis, Assistant Crew Lead on the all-female crew. “When you’re learning things with a group of women, I feel like everyone is supporting each other … and it’s not as intimidating I think.”

To be learn more about the Southeast Conservation Corps, please see the Southeast Conservation Corps website.

For more information on the Daniel Boone National Forest, visit their website at www.fs.usda.gov/dbnf, Facebook page at www.facebook.com/danielboonenf, or Twitter at www.twitter.com/DanielBooneNF

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