Study Finds that Service in Conservation Corps Programs has Numerous Benefits for Participants, Increases Conservation Stewardship

Photo Credit: Southwest Conservation Corps

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to a study commissioned by member organizations of the Public Lands Service Coalition (PLSC) and conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University and Brigham Young University, participation in Youth Service and Conservation Corps has a significant impact on how Corpsmembers (ranging in age from 14 – 26) think about the environment, their communities, and outdoor recreation. It also has a positive impact on their personal and professional development. At the end of their service, young people who served in Corps reported feeling an increased appreciation for public lands, a greater commitment to community engagement, and an increased sense of environmental responsibility. In addition, Corpsmembers reported having better communication and leadership skills, and felt more confident working in teams.

The purpose of the study was to examine how participating in a Conservation Corps program may impact a young person’s intentions to pursue natural resource management education, careers, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The study also looked at how Corps participation impacts teamwork skills, leadership abilities, and other targeted program outcomes (such as self-responsibility, communication skills, and environmental activism). A survey was administered to over 1,000 Corps participants from 12 PLSC Corps and to a control group comprised of over 600 non-Corps-participants. The control group failed to exhibit any significant changes in their attitudes about the environment, outdoor recreation, or work habits.

Some of the key findings of the study include:

  • PLSC participants’ reported growth in community engagement was 812.5% more than members of the comparison group
  • PLSC participants’ reported growth in environmental activism was 720% higher than members of the comparison group
  • PLSC participants’ reported growth in “teamwork” abilities was 714% higher than members of the comparison group
  • The difference between PLSC participants’ intention to pursue outdoor industry education and natural resource management careers and the same intention of the comparison group at the end of program was, respectively, 77% and 80% higher than it was at the beginning of the program
  • PLSC participants reported that they intended to spend 123% more on outdoor recreational gear than members of the comparison group
  • PLSC participants intended to engage in 2.5 times more outdoor recreational activities than members of the comparison group

The study findings conclude that participation in a PLSC Youth Service and Conservation Corps program has a number of benefits. These benefits include increases in targeted outcomes (leadership, communication skills, etc.) and increases in commitment to pursuing careers in natural resource management – careers that ultimately benefit Americans and the nation’s shared public lands.

A full PDF of the 2012 PLSC Study can be downloaded by clicking here.

About The Corps Network

The Corps Network is the voice of the nation’s 127 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in every state and the District of Columbia, Corps annually enroll more than 27,000 young men and women in service every year. Each year Corps mobilize an additional 289,000 community volunteers who work alongside Corpsmembers to generate 638,684 additional hours of service every year, at an estimated value of $14,140,463. For more information, visit or contact Levi Novey at [email protected] or 202.737.6272.

Media Contact:

Levi Novey
The Corps Network
1100 G Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.737.6272
Fax: 202.737.6277
Email: [email protected]