Conservation Corps members honored for environmental work

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Conservation Corps honored the work of some of its corps members during a luncheon ceremony held at Los Angeles State Historic Park May 9.

“Today’s celebration not only honors our exceptional partners and corps members, but also reinforces our mission to nurture the potential of our young adults,” said Wendy Butts, chief executive officer of the L.A. Conservation Corps. “The achievements we celebrate today are a testament to the power of collaboration and community support. Southern California Gas Company and Barbara Romero with LA Sanitation & Environment that have been pivotal in helping us empower these young leaders who are dedicated to bettering their communities and the environment. Their futures are brighter because of their hard work and the continuous support from our champions.”

The organization recognized Barbara Romero, director and general manager of LA Sanitation & Environment, as the 2024 corps champion, alongside Southern California Gas Company as the 2024 corporate honoree. 

“SoCalGas is honored and grateful to receive the 2024 Corporate Champion Award from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps,” said Andy Carrasco, vice president of communications, local government and community affairs at SoCalGas. “Our longstanding partnership reflects our shared commitment to empowering and championing the communities we serve.”

Cameron Clark grew up in Watts and currently works at the corps’ Compton site. He discovered the program through a friend after working in the construction industry.

“I have earned at least five certifications through the corps,” Clark said.

Also honored was Teresa Rogel, who works at the corps’ East Los Angeles site.

The LA Conservation Corps was founded in 1986 and is an environmentally focused youth development nonprofit organization.

It offers paid work experience on green community projects and innovative after-school, secondary and vocational education programs. The experience is gained by the youth participating in job training where they gain work experience and receive paychecks with a full host of supportive services — all while contributing to community improvement and environmental conservation endeavors.

The luncheon highlighted the organization’s efforts that include enlisting 504 Corps members throughout Los Angeles, recycling 136,000 pounds of beverage containers, removing more than 70,000 illegally dumped items, building and maintaining 33,7000 linear feet of trails and planting 2,600 trees.

“Having the L.A. Conservation Corps on our side helps us to keep our council district clean and green,” said Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian. “The [corps] provides a dual benefit to the community, providing paid work experience and job training to our young people while delivering a valuable service to our neighborhoods. 

“Our residents are continually inspired by seeing these young corps members working to improve the quality of life for all of us.”

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at emiliesaintjohn@gmail.com.