(above photo of Arizona Conservation Corps taken by Bryan Struble, National Park Service)
Service and Conservation Corps play an important role in maintaining and improving America’s public lands
Table of Contents
- Corps and the National Park Service
- What is a Corps?
- History of Corps
- About The Corps Network
- About the 21CSC
- How to get involved
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – Colorado
The National Park Service (NPS) manages a lot of property and simply doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with all the maintenance and improvement needs. This is where Service and Conservation Corps come in.
Helping NPS complete 2x the amount of work for the same price
NPS works with outside contractors to complete necessary maintenance and improvement projects. Many NPS sites throughout the country enlist the help of non-profit and state-run Service and Conservation Corps.
- A cost analysis conducted by NPS found that they could save 50% or more on project costs by working with Corps as opposed to completing the work internally or using other outside contractors
- A survey of Corps project partners showed that 99.6% of project partners from federal agencies (like NPS) would work with Corps again. Over 90% rated the work Corps completed as “good or outstanding.”
Creating the next – more diverse – generation of public lands stewards
Thousands of federal employees, including many that work for the National Park Service and other land/water management agencies, are nearing retirement. Corps train young people with the skills and knowledge to one day be our park leaders and stewards.
Utah Conservation Corps
Corps are programs that give teens and young adults the opportunity to learn and gain work experience by participating in service projects in communities and on public lands.
Service and Conservation Corps are youth development programs that enroll people ages 16 – 25 (or up to age 35 for recent veterans). Corps engage their participants – known as “Corpsmembers” – in intensive service projects that improve communities and the environment. Sometimes these projects involve the maintenance and improvement of National Park Service sites.
Examples of projects Corps complete at parks
|building/maintaining trails||invasive species removal|
|shelter/campground construction & maintenance||historic building preservation|
|fence construction||erosion control/retaining walls|
|prescribed burns||wildlands firefighting|
|habitat restoration||fish restocking|
|building staircases and bridges||species monitoring|
Through their service, the participants – or “Corpsmembers” – gain workplace experience and, by serving on a crew alongside other Corpsmembers, develop important skills in leadership, communication and teamwork. Corpsmembers also receive a living allowance and often earn an education award (scholarship) at the completion of their service.
A comprehensive program
Corps offer Corpsmembers many wraparound services, like access to counseling, childcare or transportation assistance. Some Corps also operate charter schools or educational programs that allow Corpsmembers to work on their GED or high school diploma while enrolled in the program. All Corps also offer their participants the opportunity to gain professional certifications and credentials.
Examples of certifications Corpsmembers can earn
|chainsaw/sawyer certification||wilderness first aid|
|commercial driver’s license||wilderness first responder|
|pesticide/herbicide application||Red Card (wilderness firefighter)|
|OSHA training||lead/asbestos abatement|
|urban forestry certification||HAZMAT certification|
Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Today’s Service and Conservation Corps are based off the model of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Created by President FDR during the Great Depression, the CCC was a federal work program that employed over 3 million young men during its operation between 1933 and 1942. The ‘CCC boys’ were each paid a precious $30 a month to participate in projects that drastically improved America’s public lands infrastructure; they planted over 3 billion trees, built over 800 parks and constructed nearly 100,000 miles of rural roads.
The CCC was disbanded at the onset of WWII, but the idea of putting young people to work on America’s public lands lived on. Local non-profit and state-run Corps now operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, engaging youth in service to communities and public lands.
About The Corps Network
The Corps Network is the National Association of Service & Conservation Corps
Find a Corps near you
Visit our Corps by State page to find a Corps near you.
Become a Corpsmember or work at a Corps
Visit our Jobs at Corps page to find open positons at Corps
Learn more about the 21CSC
Please visit 21CSC.org
Give to The Corps Network
Support Service and Conservation Corps today by giving to The Corps Network
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