Winner of the Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership
The C.R.E.W. Ojai, California
What Makes The C.R.E.W. Unique and Strong?
- The C.R.E.W. program is replicable, particularly in rural wilderness/urban interfaces.
- The C.R.E.W. is one of the very few employers who provides actual paid employment for 14 to 17 year old youth.
- The C.R.E.W.’s environmental program addresses groups frequently overlooked in this area e.g. poor and working class communities and their children.
- The C.R.E.W. pioneers innovative approaches to environmental issues e.g. chaparral bio mass reutilization, and “green” fire protection services.
- The C.R.E.W. is run like a business. It has diversified its service lines and revenue streams, established credit lines to address government contract cash flow issues, generated steady, sustainable growth and consistently increased fee for service income as a percentage of business. Over 80% of C.R.E.W. revenues go directly to program services.Over 50% of C.R.E.W. revenues come from getting paid to do work.
- The C.R.E.W. produces “on the ground” results that are readily measurable.
- The C.R.E.W. consistently creates local, multi agency and group collaborations and empowers local projects & organizations.
- The C.R.E.W builds cooperation between environmental adversaries.
The C.R.E.W. infuses over $120,000 each year into local communities in the form of youth and adult supervisor salaries. However, the results of other activities such as the savings accruing to the habitat restoration and fire prevention services performed by our youth for the Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, the cities and towns of Fillmore, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Montecito and Ojai, and the U.S. Forest Service, are only measurable within the context of a catastrophe.
Despite this powerful impact on communities, the C.R.E.W. has only two full-time staff. Since our inception, we have employed and trained more than 1,500 male and female youths from the Ojai Valley and Ventura, the Santa Clara Valley, Santa Barbara County, and Carpinteria. Approximately 40% of C.R.E.W. participants are disadvantaged. The C.R.E.W. is co-ed with girls composing 12% of our field crews. Participants are 45% Hispanic. In 2011 we provided over 11,000 hours of paid part-time employment to youth and their adult supervisors.
C.R.E.W. youth have refurbished over 600 miles of Forest Service & private trails restored several campgrounds, planted hundreds of trees, re-vegetated several hundred thousand square feet of wild land & removed substantial invasive plant acreage. We also provide fire prevention services to a variety of Fire Safe Councils, Montecito District Fire, Carpinteria Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, The Ojai Land Conservancy and many ranches and households. The C.R.E.W. has also provided free household fire clearing to 600 low income seniors living in 4 seniors mobile home parks.
- Average 125 youth and 20 adults, employed each year for 10,000 hours of employment.
- 3 youth promoted to supervisor each year.
- 5 to 8 youths and adults placed in fire fighting positions or EMT classes each year.
- 25 adults participate in college programs each year.
- C.R.E.W. participants are 40% disadvantaged or at risk.
- C.R.E.W. participants are 45% Hispanic, 55% Anglo, 88% male, 12% female.
- Refurbished 550 miles of U.S. Forest Service and private trails.
- Completed 19.5 miles of habitat restoration on the Sespe.
- Completed 9.5 miles of steelhead habitat restoration on Piedra Blanca Creek.
- Constructed 60 miles of fuel break ranging from 300′ to 900′ wide at 12 sites.
- Provided free household fire services to over 600 low income seniors and disabled persons.
- Distributed reusable chipped biomass each year from fire break construction.
- Performed flood relief work for several communities in the Ojai Valley.
- Established crews in the Ojai Valley, the Santa Clara Valley, and north Santa Barbara County.
- Developed referral relations with 26 high schools, middle schools, and colleges.