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Conservation Legacy


Celebrating 20 Years of Conservation and Service: Jeff Hankens, Coconino Rural Environment Corps Alumni Staff Highlight

May 24, 2018 | “I spent five glorious years at the Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC), now Arizona Conservation Corps, in Flagstaff, AZ, from March 2002 until June of 2008, with a brief hiatus during 2004 to study sustainable building. I had spent a summer as a Crew Leader for the Student Conservation Association and wanted to continue working in the eternally fascinating, stimulating, challenging field of conservation. I started as a crew member, then Crew Supervisor, Trail Project Coordinator, and finally, Training and Outreach Coordinator.”


What is your best memory of working with the corps?

“Of all the faded, glamorized mental snapshots I have of waking hundreds of mornings in some of the southwest's most beautiful places, surrounded by an extraordinary cohort of very unique individuals, accomplishing very difficult work in extreme environments, my best memories were made in cubicles and very small meeting rooms, celebrating the small victories that meant our little conservation program was going to continue for another week, or month, or year.”

What is your life like now, after serving with CREC?

“After leaving the corps world I initially helped grow a small, online bicycle retail business then left work entirely for eight years, to become a full-time parent to my two children. Recently I returned to employment as the computer instructor at my son and daughter's elementary school.”


What advice would you give to others currently working for the Corps?

“Never be afraid to step in whenever you see an opportunity to help. Corps programs, all small and struggling, are build entirely by the skills, dedication, and pride of their members. Even seemingly unrelated skills can be key to keeping a program going. Give willingly of yourself and you will be rewarded with a sense of achievement, accomplishment, and investment that is unrivaled.”

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jeff!