Business & Society

Utah Conservation Corps to Receive National Award from The Corps Network for the Bia Ogwa Project

Utah Conservation Corps to Receive One of Three Awards Granted Nationwide

Logan — Utah Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program based in Utah State University’s Center for Community Engagement, will receive a 2024 Project of the Year Award from The Corps Network in recognition of the Bia Ogwa project that is being completed with leadership from the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation.

The Corps Network, the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, presents this prestigious award to select organizations from their membership of more than 140 corps across the country. Awardees are chosen through a competitive nomination and review process.

Project of the Year Awards are presented on an annual basis to corps that have undertaken especially influential or innovative initiatives. Projects of the Year are noteworthy for providing both a positive experience for corps members and meaningful improvements to the community.

The Bia Ogwa project is a long-term habitat restoration project taking place in Franklin County, Idaho, where the Bear River Massacre occurred on Jan. 29, 1863. It is widely regarded as the worst slaughter of Indigenous people in U.S. history.

Members of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation are the direct decedents of the survivors. They have been assisted by UCC crews since the fall of 2021. This partnership aims to restore the natural habitat to the state as when inhabited by the tribe, prior to the pioneer farming practices that led to a loss of precious wildlife and native habitat resources. In the past two years 35 UCC AmeriCorps crew members have treated a total of nearly 21 acres along more than 1½ river miles that included more than 2,057 invasive Russian olive trees cut and treated.

Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation Vice Chairman Brad Parry commented: “Removal of these Russian olive trees will be an amazing first step to restoring this land. We are grateful that the UCC has agreed to work with us on this very special project. This is the first step in creating the spiritual feeling we want to create at the site.”

Projects of the Year like Bia Ogwa demonstrate the power of national service programs to change communities and change lives, according to Mary Ellen Sprenkel, president and CEO of The Corps Network.

“The Bia Ogwa project that the UCC is completing with leadership from the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation shows the amazing outcomes possible when local organizations give young people a chance to serve and lead,” Sprenkel said.

The three winners of the Project of the Year Award will be honored at The Corps Network’s 38th annual national conference, taking place March 19-21, 2024. For more information about the conference, please visit For more information about Utah Conservation Corps, please visit

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