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Awards / Honors

Recent graduate named Corpsmember of the Year

April 15, 2013
by Sarah Holkum

Grant Wahl, a recent natural resources recreation and tourism graduate and Colorado native, fights wildfires with his burning passion for nature, conservation and community, winning him the 2012 Corpsmember of the Year award from the Colorado Youth Corps Association.

Grant Wahl“I have been fueled by changes in our atmosphere and believe there is a need for a collective carbon footprint reduction. I would like people to know that what they do will have an impact on our planet,” Wahl said.

Illustrating his passion

His exemplary work within the Larimer County Conservation Corps and the youth corps' Water and Energy program illustrates his passion.

“Some of my favorite projects have been clearing roads and trails of windblown trees at Brainard Lake, camping, hiking and clearing ATV trails at Red Feather Lakes, reducing energy and water consumption at Rams Park Apartments, and helping low income families in Loveland save money on their utilities bill,” Wahl said.

Corpsmember of the Year

Projects such as these, and many others, helped Wahl to become recognized as one of ten 2012 Corpsmembers of the Year award winners this past February. He was presented with his award at a ceremony at the Colorado State Capitol, where Will Shafroth, counselor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, was honored as the 2012 Champion for Youth, and State Senator Jeanne Nicholson and State Representative Millie Hamner were honored as Legislators of the Year.

CYCA is a statewide coalition of 10 accredited youth conservation corps that engage and train 1,600 youth, young adults, and military veterans on land, water and energy conservation projects. Youth corps is a proven strategy for engaging young people in service to their communities and stewardship of their environment while cultivating valuable skills to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

'Bettering our communities'

“Winning the Corpsmember of the Year award was an amazing experience for me. It meant my hard work was noticed, and made a lasting impact on my life. Most importantly, it meant recognition of all Colorado corpsmembers’ commitment to bettering our communities,” Wahl said.

Wahl emphasizes that his youth corps experience has helped him find his path in life.

Wahl said, “The corps has led me to a good starting point of land stewardship; it has helped me develop into a more responsible person and stronger leader.”

Leading by example

Wahl leads by example, with volunteer experience ranging from coaching youth soccer, to sorting food at the Larimer County Food Bank to helping his church build an elderly assisted living facility with his brother and dad.

He believes now more than ever people can get out into their communities to help those in need and the environment.

'Make a difference'

“I hope to lead people to go out in their community and make a difference by planting seeds, clearing trails, and refurbishing our great state of Colorado,” Wahl said.

He continued to say, “There is a need for volunteers and with natural disasters and water scarcity there is no better time than now to get out there and help.”

Wahl’s plans for the future demonstrate that his work for the outdoors and his community is not done yet.

“I will be working with Jefferson County Open Space as a trail technician starting this month. I am also still pursuing wildland firefighting and considering a career in forestry or as a Park Ranger. The conservation corps has made me passionate about natural resources for our future,” Wahl said.