For Joseph Otero and George Zavakos, crew leaders for Mile High Youth Corps, a fire-mitigation project in Green Mountain Falls is life-changing.

Otero recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in animal biology, but is thinking about adding trail building to his career. “Working on the project is amazing,” he said.

For Zavakos, who recently graduated with a degree in mathematics from the University of Ohio, the project may lead to a career that incorporates nature. “I’ve developed a passion for getting outdoors,” he said. “I’d like to get into wildland firefighting.”

The crews had just finished mitigating seven acres of land, cutting 2,000 trees, on the Thomas Trail above the town. After 10 weeks of work, the young people were guests of the Green Mountain Falls/Chipita Park Fire Department Aug. 11 for a barbecue.

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