Environmental Education

Energy Corps

California Conservation Corps


The CCC has always been involved in energy conservation efforts, since its earliest days. Now, the CCC has launched the Energy Corps, its first major effort funded through the “Clean Energy Job Creation Fund,” Proposition 39, passed in November 2012. Proposition 39 has provided funding to the CCC to assist California schools with energy surveys, and projects.

Trained corpsmembers visit schools to collect information necessary to identify energy-efficiency projects. Corpsmembers do “whole building” surveys that include lighting and control systems, internal plug loads, HVAC, and the condition of the building envelope. The data from the surveys is analyzed by the UC Davis Energy-Efficiency Center or other partners who develop recommendations for energy-efficiency projects. The data collection process meets industry standards and the state guidelines.

Crews of corpsmembers — young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 — work under the direction of a staff supervisor. Military veterans are part of the crews.

CCC crews also install basic energy-efficiency measures, such as lighting replacement, lighting occupancy detectors, and “smart” power strips and make presentations to students.

Finally, while corpsmembers are at schools, they make short presentations to students about the importance of energy and water conservation.

The Energy Corps initiative fulfills the CCC’s dual mission, to assist schools in saving both energy and money, and provide corpsmembers with technical instruction that can lead to apprenticeships, advanced training and future employment opportunities. The CCC work with various training partners including community colleges, UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center and industry partners.


Glacier Youth Corps Partnership

Montana Conservation Corps

Glacier National Park, MT

Montana Conservation Corps, Glacier National Park, the Glacier National Park Conservancy, and the National Park Foundation. The program connects local teens and young adults to Glacier National Park through diverse work and educational opportunities, including citizen science, habitat enhancement, historic preservation, and trail stewardship. At the end of their term of service, crews will present to the public about their experiences working alongside Glacier staff and completing vital park projects.


Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP)

Student Conservation Association

25 FWS Refuges

Founded in 2008, the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP) was created in partnership between the Student Conservation Association and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to help prepare the next generation of wildlife professionals and managers by introducing culturally and ethnically diverse college freshman and sophomores to conservation careers in the USFWS; giving field staff the experience of working with culturally and ethnically diverse employees; and increasing the diversity of the applicant pool for conservation based jobs. These internships provide a diverse group of youth with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field. Conservation interns are paid a living wage and, in some cases, are also provided with room and board for the duration of their service.

CDIP students are assigned to a national wildlife refuge for a summer of hard work and experiential education. Before beginning their assignment, interns attend a week-long training and orientation period. During this time, students engage in simulations and challenges designed and facilitated by Service staff, including their proctor, a Service employee designated as their mentor for the summer. Refuge scenarios are usually management issues common to daily life on a refuge, with topics considering public relations, invasive species, and resource conservation. At the end of the week, students present mock management plans to an audience composed of their peers and Service employees.

CDIP was recognized in 2012 by The Wildlife Society, which honored the program with its Diversity Award.


SCA-NPS Academy

Student Conservation Association

United States

As the National Park Service approaches its second century, developing a more diverse workforce is among its highest priorities. To recruit, engage and train the diverse young people who will lead our parks in the years ahead, NPS turned to its leading youth partner of over five decades, the Student Conservation Association.

Since the Park Service and SCA launched NPS Academy at Grand Teton National Park in 2011, student participation has increased every year. Spring orientation sessions were added at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2012, Kenai Fjords National Park in 2013 and this spring at the National Parks of New York Harbor. Total membership in this year’s orientations surpassed 100, and students will return to SCA this summer to intern at more than 30 national parks across the US.

Already, some 200 college students from ethnically, racially and economically diverse backgrounds have served in life-changing, hands-on internships in 46 different national parks while gaining exposure to an array of career opportunities as well as the parks’ vast natural and cultural legacies. Following their park experiences, these same young people served as NPS ambassadors on their campuses and in their communities.

Most importantly, Academy alumni are now moving into professional positions NPS. At last summer’s Academy graduation at Grand Teton National Park, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told students she was inspired by their passionate devotion to protecting our national parks.

NPS and SCA share the vision of connecting a diverse generation of conservation leaders to America’s unrivaled natural and cultural assets. We seek to ensure that all people – particularly our youth – are afforded full and equal opportunity to share in the legacy of our national parks and play a key role in their future. Through SCA-NPS Academy, we are changing both the face and fate of our national parks for years to come.


SCA NH Corps

Student Conservation Association

United States

Field trips are often the highlight of any student’s day, but many schools can no longer afford them. So, SCA takes the field trip back to the classroom.

In Manchester, NH, intern Scott Baumwald enters a fourth grade class with a small sandbox, a watering can, and a large stone covered in mud. He instructs one student to roll the rock while another showers it with water. The stone leaves a mix of soil and pebbles in its path, “just like the glaciers, thousands of years ago,” Scott explains. As other pupils blow on the sand to illustrate erosion, he asks what the puddle in the corner of the sandbox might represent. One boy’s eyes widen as his right hand shoots high the air. “A lake!” he shouts.

This is the sort of imaginative, interactive lesson that SCA interns have provided to every Manchester fourth grader since 1994 – and entire generation of school children, more than 12,000 students in all.

“There is no doubt that my kids learn from the lessons,” says Carolyn Tartsa, a teacher at Webster Elementary, “but more importantly, the SCA members are role models in the truest sense – young persons the children can respect, admire, and aspire to be.”

SCA interns also host an after-class service-learning program for high school students. Those who do well go on to assist their instructors when the SCA NH Corps turns to repairing trails and campgrounds in state parks over the summer. The more these teen learn, the more they do: serving in SCA internships, majoring in environmental studies, and entering in green careers.

“What you’re seeing here is a microcosm of the SCA program continuum,” says intern Tyler Laue. “We’re putting these students on a path to lifelong stewardship.”


SCA Houston Community Program

Student Conservation Association

Houston, TX

The Student Conservation Association’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

This summer will mark SCA Houston’s tenth year of this highly successful Community Program.

SCA Houston Crew members are recruited from 18 high schools in the City of Houston and members serve in the community in which they live. Members engage in hands-on, direct, conservation service, as well as conservation education and workforce readiness curriculum while benefiting from team-building and group dynamics opportunities.

Members of SCA Houston Summer Community Crews:

•Develop collaboration and leadership skills while working with 6 to 12 other high school students

•Complete trail maintenance and site restoration projects in national, regional, state, or local parks

•Learn about their local environment through field trips led by your Crew Leader

•Explore green jobs and career opportunities that exist in their region

•Plan and go on a recreational trip where they will learn outdoor skills and participate in activities such as hiking, canoeing, biking, and camping


Breadloaf Wilderness Kiosk and Visitor Education

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps

Hancock, VT

This summer the VYCC will hire two interns that will be working directly with USFS staff in the GMNF. Additionally, two crews of 10 individuals each are planned for seven week projects on the Forest. VYCC interns to construct a wilderness area kiosk for installation at the Breadloaf Wilderness Area near an entrance corridor for the Long Trail. The VYCC crews working nearby will help with the site preparation. Additionally, a public ceremony will be held at the completion of the installation of the kiosk as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Part of this celebration will include a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop presented by a Leave No Trace Master Educator. As part of the Awareness Workshop, care will be taken to make important connections between the Wilderness Act and the Leave No Trace principles. Additional information will be included about the Wilderness Acts 50th year celebration giving historic context to the concept of Wilderness and bridging connections to how young stewards are critical in preserving this valuable resource through their everyday lives. The VYCC Interns and both VYCC crews working nearby will attend this public ceremony and receive LNT awareness training.


Youth Ambassador Civic Leadership

Environmental Stewards

Pensacola Beach, Florida Ocean Springs, Mississippi

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is recruiting 4 “Service Interns” as part of their Youth Ambassador Civic Leadership program. Service Interns will work with park staff to develop three half-day citizen science/ stewardship programs for local high school students to engage in park research/monitoring, discover new recreational activities, and participate in a wilderness overnight camp-out. The Interns, as a group will use their experience working front line interpretive operations and programming to plan and develop a new citizen science project, stewardship program, and one discover recreational activity project by the end of the program. At least once per year, the Florida based interns will travel to Mississippi and spend one week working in MS, while the Mississippi based students will spend one week working in Florida. This swap will allow the students to expand their horizons by working in another district of the park. The project also includes two employability skills workshops (resume writing with a focus on the usajob.gov format and interview skills). Each intern will be responsible for developing a short interpretive program focused on natural or cultural resources and why it is important for others to preserve, conserve, and protect these resources.

The Interns will develop and present a talk summarizing their experience as youth ambassadors at a professional conference, symposia, or park based venue.




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