Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA) and Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) introduced the "International Conservation Corps Act of 2013," H.R 1195, which establishes a program offering retired land managers, geologists, biologists, and park rangers the opportunity to volunteer their services to underdeveloped foreign countries.
"I am proud to join Congressman Crenshaw in proposing this innovative and much needed program. Just as Peace Corps volunteers strengthen the civil society of developing nations, International Conservation Corps volunteers would help foreign countries build their capacity to become better stewards of their natural resources, ensuring more sustainable growth in these nations," said Rep. Moran. "The United States has a wealth of conservationists, scientists, and park rangers who have retired from their careers but still have the enthusiasm and ability to help developing countries. ICCA would utilize this pool of expertise to stretch our limited foreign aid dollars in a way that will help advance our national security interests, avoid conflicts, encourage sustainable development, and alleviate poverty."
Modeled after the Peace Corps, ICCA volunteers would live within a developing country, assisting the government with the establishment of programs that promote sustainable natural resource management. Unlike the Peace Corps, which takes volunteers early on in their careers, the Conservation Corps would attract its volunteers from Americans who have reached retirement and are looking to new, exciting challenges.
"After retirement, the wealth of knowledge of those who have stewarded our own nation's resources remains strong, holding high value for developing countries around the globe," said Rep. Crenshaw. "The sought-after expertise and dedication of American scientists, engineers, conservationists, and land managers can be put to good use to boost our foreign aid initiatives and advance the development of other countries. That's why I so strongly support the International Conservation Corps as a "win-win' for the United States and growing nations."
The bipartisan legislation mirrors a similar bill introduced in the 112th Congress.