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21CSC Champion of the Year 2019: Craig Young, National Park Service

Craig Young
Terrestrial Program Leader

Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network
National Park Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2019 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2019 National Conference.


Read a Q&A with Craig Young – Click here

Craig Young received his B.S. in Biology from Centre College in Danville, KY and an M.S. in Environmental Forest Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He then worked with Virginia’s Natural Heritage Program as a natural areas manager, and with The Nature Conservancy of Georgia as an ecologist. Young currently serves with the National Park Service as a Biologist and Invasive Plant Program Leader for the Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network. In this role he oversees the Heartland Exotic Plant Management Team, which is dedicated to managing invasive plants across all network parks. The network stretches from Ohio west to Kansas, and from Minnesota south to Arkansas. The size of network parks ranges from 160 acres, to almost 100,000 acres.

Young is a strong advocate and voice for Conservation Corps and national service in the Midwest. He is a valuable project partner, host, and mentor for many young people interested in entering the natural resource field. Over the years, Young has helped provided direct service opportunities and mentorship to nearly 200 AmeriCorps members. His dedication to conservation and to training young people has led to a long-term partnership that has greatly enhanced Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa’s work throughout the Midwest.

Young has specifically chosen to use his limited program funds to partner with Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa (CCMI) and has persuaded the individual parks within the Heartland Network to partner with 21CSC programs as well. He and his staff take part in CCMI’s training and orientation to provide expert teaching to over 36 AmeriCorps members each year in topics ranging from GIS/GPS data collection, to chemical application, to best practices in invasive species management. Young and his staff also help Corpsmembers pursue employment with federal resource agencies, offering career advice and guidance in résumé writing and USAJobs applications.

“[Craig] has a passion for and recognizes the importance of providing training, education, and experience for the next generation of conservationists and natural resource managers,” said Mark Wilson, Iowa Program Manager for Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa.