On Feb. 27, staff from Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps received the 2016 Public Lands Partner Award from the Public Lands Alliance in recognition of their exemplary partnership and innovative new program to serve the deaf community.
In 2016, the VYCC and Forest Service expanded their partnership to offer programming to youth who are deaf and/or hard of hearing through a collaboration with Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens, New York. The Deaf Inclusion crew combined youth and leaders who speak American Sign Language and English. Over the four-week experience, crew members worked on projects such as trail maintenance, bridge construction, wildlife opening enhancement, and developed recreation maintenance. Hearing members were quick to pick up sign language, and members who are deaf learned how to succeed in a work environment with a different language and culture.
The Deaf Inclusion Crew will be available in 2017.