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Conservation Corps of Long Beach receives national award for tree-replacement program

The Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB) received the national Project of the Year award for its Urban Lumber project; removing 1,000 dead trees and planting 2,000 new ones in the city. 

The Long Beach chapter is one of three branches to receive the annual award from The Corps Network out of over 140 chapters nationwide. The award is presented to groups that undertake “especially influential or innovative initiatives” that provide positive experiences and meaningful community improvements. 

“Projects of the Year demonstrate the power of national service programs to change communities and change lives. The Urban Lumber Program of the Conservation Corps of Long Beach shows the amazing outcomes possible when local organizations give young people a chance to serve and lead,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. 

The group received $1 million in grant funds from California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to complete the project, in partnership with Long Beach’s Public Works department and West Coast Arborists. 

Conservation Corps chapters are local, state or national programs that engage young adults in service activities that address conservation and community needs while providing job experiences. Projects can address a range of needs such as urban forestry, habitat restoration, wildfire mitigation, drought tolerant landscaping, tree planting and more. 

Long Beach’s Conservation Corps was established in 1987 and serves residents ages 18 through 26 with workforce development and education. The chapter currently has 130 members and is the fourth largest Conservation Corps in the state. 

“We were able to provide training to dozens of Corpsmembers that is now paving the way for job-specific training leading to gainful employment in the arboriculture field,” said Dan Knapp, CCLB’s Executive Director and CEO, in a public statement.

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A single jacaranda tree blooms among other green trees near the El Dorado Duck Pond in Long Beach on April 26, 2022. (Richard H. Grant | Signal Tribune)

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