The Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program is working with local partners to clean up damage from this summer’s storms

Oneida County’s Summer Youth Program is an important part of Oneida County’s commitment to helping local agencies through community service. Multiple severe storms during June and early July left culverts and drainage areas on the Utica Zoo’s property plugged with debris, creating the potential for flooding and erosion. The Oneida County Summer Youth Employment Program teamed with the Zoo in an important project to clean out the drainage areas to protect the landscape and the neighborhoods downhill from Utica’s landmark Zoo. Here, Kenny Rodriguez tosses away mud and debris from a drainage area in the deep woods of Utica’s historic Roscoe Conkling Park. “It’s hard work, but they need us to do it,” said Rodriguez, who will be using his summer earnings to pay for school clothes and supplies. “It’s for the Zoo. It’s for the city. We’re doing our part.”

Photo and Text by Timothy E. Davis