New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
USDAgov

Many employers say it is difficult to find experienced local help, particularly in natural resource management. In response, the Forest Guild sponsors a youth corps program in New Mexico each summer to train local youth in forestry work. The Forest Guild Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) works in partnership with all five of New Mexico’s national forests.

The mission of this youth program is to provide career training in natural resources for 16-25 year olds from areas of the state that have few employment opportunities. Through training from the Guild and working on the ground, crew members learn about forest management, fire ecology, watershed health, and wildlife ecology. Some crew members have gone on to pursue college degrees in natural resource management.

An important focus of the program is on field-based training that has real world applications. For example, crews have been involved in gathering monitoring data about fuels reduction treatments, assisting with feasibility studies of trout reintroduction, and rehabilitating forests after fire. Since its inception in 1998, the Forest Guild YCC program has employed over 500 youth, achieved 30,000 hours of conservation education, awarded 200 hours of college credit, and invested over $3 million in rural New Mexico communities. Corps members have gone on to build successful careers in natural resource management and become strong leaders in their communities. Click the above link for more information or to download the environmental education curriculum focused on forest ecology and climate change developed with input from a Forest Guild YCC crew.