September 22, 2018. CVA member Rachele Funk met Secretary Zinke for a National Public Lands Day (NPLD) event on September 22, 2018. Rachele spoke with Secretary Zinke directly about one of their volunteer groups. The volunteer group Rachele was in charge of leading for NPLD was Coconino Community College or CCC (a local community college in Flagstaff). That group is unique because it is a class that Rachele developed and is now partly teaching to introduce college students to careers in public lands through volunteer service. The class comes up to Grand Canyon National Park one long weekend (Fri-Sun) each month of their semester; 4 weekends in total. The weekend of September 22 focused on both deferred maintenance in the park as well as education on micro litter. The October weekend is focused on wildland fire, November is focused on vegetation, and December is a career exploration where divisions that they didn't get to work with will come in and share what they do. This is in hopes that once summer internships come out for summer, these students would have already experienced work in a field that they may be interested, met the hiring manager of that division and will have a better chance of starting their careers. The other participants at the event were a vet fire crew (5) and an Arizona Conservation Corps crew (7).
Rachele represented the CVA program well and was interviewed by Arizona PBS. During the interview Rachele stated that “…we need volunteers to come out and do things like this and to help lower our backlog maintenance. And it’s things like painting a building or fixing a fence, just little things like that, that anyone can come out and do.” The work that was done on September 22 included backlog maintenance (painting) to historic cabins that volunteers stay in (including CCC). The last time the cabins were painted was 18 years ago, so they definitely needed a new coat!