On April 5th we celebrated five years of LAYC/MMYC’s Maryland Montgomery County Conservation Corps (MCCC)! Since the program began, our MCCC staff and regional partners have provided youth with opportunities to work toward earning their GED and gain hands-on experience while completing projects designed around conservation principles in local parks, nurseries, and other regional sites.

The joyful celebration honored Councilmember Craig Rice, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s horticulturalist at Pope Farm Nursery, Vanessa Lane, former Montgomery County Collaboration Council Director Walter Wolf, and Montgomery County Collaboration Council’s Elijah Wheeler. Many current Corps members and alumni, as well as LAYC staff, were in attendance.

Program alumni spoke eloquently, in person and in an inspiring video, about the difference MCCC made in their lives, our caring and dedicated staff, and the important work they are doing to ensure that Montgomery County values and cares for its trees, trails, and the environment. Councilmember Rice, an important supporter since the program’s beginning, spoke on behalf of the County Council, recognizing the work of LAYC/MMYC and MCCC. David Sobers, past president of the Friends of Montgomery County Conservation Corps board of directors, accepted an award on behalf of Walter Wolf, who worked to bring the Conservation Corps to Montgomery County, and has since passed away.

Elijah Wheeler has worked with us from the beginning to ensure that MCCC meets its proposed outcomes and offers the best support to county youth. In addition, Pope Farm Nursery collaborates with MCCC each year and has provided youth opportunities to gain experience in tree care and potting techniques as they help grow native trees and shrubs to be planted across Montgomery County.

The program also included remarks from LAYC Montgomery County Managing Director Jacob Newman; MCCC Program Manager Adam Angel; LAYC’s current President & CEO Lori Kaplan; and our future President & CEO, Lupi Quinteros-Grady.

We would like to thank Alan Meltzer, a long-time LAYC friend and donor, for making the celebration possible; and his daughter Jennifer Meltzer, for hosting the event at her Silver Spring restaurant, All-Set Restaurant and Bar.

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