New Partnership Expands Conservation Corps

After successfully managing the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps for six years, Conservation Trust for North Carolina, under a new strategic partnership with Colorado-based Conservation Legacy, will expand the program under a new name: Conservation Corps North Carolina.

Conservation Legacy is a national organization dedicated to supporting locally based conservation service programs across the country.

Under this new partnership, Conservation Corps North Carolina will engage motivated young adults, ages 16-27, to complete challenging and meaningful conservation service projects throughout the state. Projects include trail construction & maintenance, habitat improvement, hazard fuel reduction, and ecological restoration. The program, formerly operated in partnership with Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, will double its corps work for the Summer 2019 season.

“CTNC is committed to growing the successful conservation corps program so it can provide greater opportunities for a diversity of young people to help meet North Carolina’s critical conservation needs,” said CTNC Executive Director Chris Canfield. “With the increase in severity and frequency of storms impacting our parks and the maintenance backlog of conserved lands, Conservation Corps North Carolina is needed now more than ever. The program offers a unique opportunity for North Carolina’s young people to complete conservation service projects in their local community while developing leadership and team-building skills.”

“Conservation Legacy is proud to partner with CTNC to expand corps opportunities in North Carolina,” said Conservation Legacy CEO Susan Cimburek. “We look forward to working together to fulfill our common missions of conserving our land while fostering the next generation of leaders for our nation’s natural resources.”

Canfield added, “Conservation Legacy has demonstrated success building local corps programs to meet community needs with operations in Tennessee and Virginia. We are confident that our goals align and Conservation Corps North Carolina will prosper under Conservation Legacy’s strong leadership.”

The program will continue to offer residential crew positions where individuals camp in remote locations as well as expanded community crews where youth work in their local community while living at home. Crews will work with federal, state, and local partners as well as land trusts and private groups to complete necessary trail building and maintenance, facility improvement, and habitat restoration work, as well as chainsaw work and prescribed burning assistance.

Recruitment for the Conservation Corps North Carolina 2019 Summer Season is open now. Visit our page for more information or to apply to join a crew.

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About Conservation Trust for North Carolina

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina protects the Blue Ridge Parkway’s natural and scenic corridor, assists land conservation, youth development, and community engagement work, and connects North Carolina families with the outdoors. Land trusts preserve land and waterways to safeguard your way of life. They work with landowners to ensure natural lands are protected for safe drinking water and clean air, fresh local foods, recreation, tourism, and healthy wildlife habitat. More information about CTNC is available at www.ctnc.org or @ct4nc.

About Conservation Legacy

Conservation Legacy provides support for local conservation service organizations under the leadership of a national organization, delivering high-quality programming in communities across the country to produce enduring impact through local action. In 2017, Conservation Legacy engaged over 2,000 youth, young adults, and veterans in conservation, restoration, and community development projects and contributed 1.1 million hours of service to public lands. 

Conservation Legacy programs—Arizona Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps New Mexico, Great Appalachian Valley Conservation Corps, Southeast Conservation Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, Stewards Individual Placement Program and Preserve America Youth Summit—engage participants on diverse conservation and community service projects that provide opportunities for personal and professional development and meet the high priority needs of public land managers and community partners. Working in close collaboration with partners across the country, Conservation Legacy advances goals of increasing opportunities in conservation, stewardship, national service, and workforce development. More information about Conservation Legacy is available at conservationlegacy.org.

NCYCC Wraps Up 2018 Summer Season

We are nearing the end of the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) 2018 summer season and all is well on the trails and in the parks. In just a few short weeks, our corps members have accomplished so much.

We have 36 amazing young people contributing thousands of hours of work to improve, restore, and preserve North Carolina’s parks and trails. At the same time, they are receiving a rich education in job and life skills, environmental stewardship, leadership, community service and personal responsibility.

This summer has been a truly life-changing experience.

NC Crew 1 – State Parks AmeriCorps Chain Saw Crew

Hazard trees are dead or dying trees at risk of injuring people because of their proximity to public trails and park facilities. Hazard tree removal is a priority maintenance need of the NC State Park system because of severe storms in recent years.

This year launched a new partnership between CTNC and the NC Division of Parks to employ a chain saw certified crew to address hazardous tree removal within state parks. NC Crew 1 spent their first week doing trail work in heat indexes well over 100°, filling in “the biggest hole known to human existence” caused by flooding at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. They followed up by completing a North Carolina State Park chainsaw certification course at Morrow Mountain State Park. The crew returned to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park to use their new chain saw skills to remove hazard trees along the park’s hiking trails. The crew also spent weeks supporting the Parks staff at Jones Lake State Park and Lake Waccamaw State Park.

In addition to getting paid hourly, the crew members will receive an AmeriCorps education award at the end of their service. This education award can be used to pay higher education or training institution expenses or to repay qualified student loans. The members will also gain valuable job qualifications with the chain saw certification they obtained. One member has plans to apply for a wildland fire fighting position after he completes his NCYCC season.

Not only has the crew visited some of our states most celebrated state parks, but they also used their free-time to eat some local bar-b-cue, visit the North Carolina Aquarium, and attend the Eno River Festival.

The Goldsboro Daily News had this to say about NC Crew 1.

This partnership was made possible thanks to legislation introduced by Representative Jimmy Dixon, with the support of Rep. Chuck McGrady and Senator Harry Brown, during the 2017 Legislative Session.

NC Crew 2 – United States Forest Service Trail Crew

NC Crew 2 built a set of box steps on badly eroded trail section of the Upper Creek Falls Trail in the Pisgah National Forest. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are the most visited national forests in the United States.

This NCYCC youth crew (15-18-years-old) spent the first two weeks of the summer restoring the Upper Creek Falls Trail in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest. They later moved to the Pisgah District of the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard where they are restoring a number of trails around the Pisgah Visitor Center.

The crew is seeing how high traffic and water flow erode trails. They are learning how to build re-routes, trail structures, and strategically place large rocks to restore and preserve the trails. The USFS rangers are giving them a big “thumbs up” for the quantity and quality of their work. Because the members work on some of the Pisgah District’s most highly used trails, they have received plenty of thanks from hikers.

The crew has used their weekends to visit Chimney Rock State Park, Sliding Rock, and the Town of Brevard.

Two members of the crew are returning from last year and one of those has decided to pursue a degree in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University this fall. Another crew member is using his NCYCC experience to fulfill his high school program’s internship requirement.

NC Crews 3.1 and 3.2 – Land Trust and Local Government Crews

NC Crews 3.1 and 3.2 are this year’s two three-week teen crews. Both crews’ work includes two weeks of long-leaf pine restoration, trail building and maintenance, and park and campground improvements for the Coastal Land Trust. Crew 3.1 also worked on removing invasive species and trail maintenance for Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation in Charlotte. Crew 3.2 will do an additional week of work building a boardwalk and removing invasive species for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association in Durham.

Charlotte’s Spectrum News interviewed NC Crew 3.1. Take a look here!

What’s Next …..

The crews will end their NCYCC program August 4 with a Professional Development Event in Raleigh. Duke Energy Foundation funds a full day of workshops to help NCYCC participants prepare for the next step of their education and career journey. The day includes sessions on financial literacy, skills matching, and goal setting, interviewing, project management, and gap year opportunities. It also includes a natural resources career panel of representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, a non-profit, and a for-profit company to give participants information about natural resource jobs in each of these sectors.

The NCYCC program is supported by Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, NC State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Duke Energy Foundation, NC Electric Membership Cooperative, Wells Fargo, Coastal Land Trust, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, Fred and Alice Stanback, the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Foundation, Little Acorn Fund, the Smith Family Foundation, and the generosity of individual donors.

It is because of this generous support that these young people have an opportunity to learn about the natural world, grow in their understanding of the value of public lands, connect with nature on a daily basis, gain work skills and certifications, and discover new things about themselves and other people.

You are helping CTNC cultivate a new generation of conservation leaders for North Carolina.

An Incredible Experience for Rising Conservation Leaders

More than 100 young adults completed the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Emerging Leaders Program this summer. As the NC Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC), Diversity in Conservation Internship Program (DCIP), and CTNC AmeriCorps members concluded their experience, CTNC partnered with the NC State College of Natural Resources to organize a two-day professional development conference that would offer pathways to conservation career opportunities.

By the numbers:

  • 110 Emerging Leaders Program members
  • 64 host site supervisors and parents
  • 18 job fair vendors
  • 16 professional development workshop sessions
  • 4 natural resources career panelists

Attendees gained professional development experience through a variety of college and career-readiness workshops designed for students at all education and career stages: from high school to post-college.

“I feel, as emerging leaders, these workshops are very important for us to understand and exhibit skills that will benefit us in the workplace,” said NCYCC member Fabian Martin-Bryan.

The conference featured a natural resources career panel, a campus tour and job fair, and keynote speakers who touted the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the conservation sector. Additional workshops allowed members to expand on skills ranging from financial literacy to communications, interview etiquette, and best practices for networking. To conclude the conference, more than 20 interns from CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program and the College of Natural Resources Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program presented their summer projects at an expo attended by conference attendees and their guests.

“The name of the conference definitely speaks for itself and the young adults who attended represented well.” Charles McCall, EDSI Solutions and job fair vendor.

The Emerging Leaders Program fosters future leaders in conservation but it gives all members a truly unique experience in professional development.

DCIP participant Diamond McKoy said, “It brought so much gladness to my heart to see under-represented groups on the panel.”

The conference “provided a great networking opportunity for people on a variety of different educational and age backgrounds.” said Taylor Mebane, one of CTNC’s DCIP participants.

CTNC hired nearly 400 young adults over the past 10 years into paid conservation positions. CTNC and our partners are proud to cultivate and provide support to future conservation leaders.

See more photos from the Emerging Leaders Professional Development Conference on Facebook!


About CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Emerging Leaders Program helps connect young people to the outdoors where they can establish a lifelong appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of the critical benefits that land and water conservation provides. Through the Diversity in Conservation Internship ProgramCTNC AmeriCorpsNC Youth Conservation Corps, and Future Leaders of Conservation advisory board, CTNC creates employment pathways by connecting young people to academic studies and careers in conservation.

Watch the video below to learn more about each program.

The Emerging Leaders Professional Development Conference is made possible by a generous grant from the Duke Energy Foundation as part of its focus on environmental education and conservation.

Pepsi Bottling Ventures Renews Support for CTNC Initiatives

On June 6, Pepsi Bottling Ventures (PBV) donated $10,000 to the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) for the fifth consecutive year. The generous grant will support both the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative (Initiative) and the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC).

“Improving access to clean drinking water is an objective which makes sense, both from a business perspective, but also as citizens of this area,” said Paul Finney, President, and CEO of Pepsi Bottling Ventures. “The Conservation Trust for North Carolina serves a key leadership role in this effort and we are pleased to continue our support as they strive to find new preservation techniques while also educating the next generation on the importance of water quality.”

The Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative is a partnership of land conservation organizations working with the City of Raleigh and other local governments to conserve high priority lands along streams in the Upper Neuse River Basin, which provides drinking water to more than 600,000 people. The Upper Neuse basin drains into Falls Lake, the main drinking water source for Raleigh, and eight other reservoirs. Falls Lake supplies water to PBV’s bottling plant near Garner.

“The partners in the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative greatly appreciate Pepsi Bottling Ventures’ generous donation,” said Caitlin Burke, CTNC Associate Director. “As our region experiences unprecedented growth, it’s partnerships with companies like PBV that make it possible for us to preserve more land around streams and waterways to ensure clean drinking water, healthy communities, and our great quality of life.”

Land protection is one of the most effective ways to protect drinking water sources and limit runoff pollution. Since 2005, partners in the Initiative have completed nearly 100 projects protecting more than 8,000 acres along 89 miles of streams. Most recently, the Eno River Association completed a 56-acre purchase along the Eno River upstream of Hillsborough. Conserving critical lands like this property not only prevents pollution from entering our drinking water but it also helps maintain wildlife habitat, preserve open space, and create recreational opportunities so our region continues to be a great place to live and work.

The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) provides paid summer jobs for 16-24 year olds, with the goal of teaching them valuable work and life development skills through hands-on outdoor work on high priority conservation projects that benefit the public. Projects include trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, and invasive species removal. The NCYCC has six crews working on conservation projects across the state this summer, including a crew in the Upper Neuse River Basin at Falls Lake.

“I absolutely loved my contribution to conservation; being outside made conservation tangible,” said Peter Chege, NCYCC crew member. “Working directly on conservation projects and seeing the way it impacted the environment made me more self-aware of my position in my community.”

Pepsi Bottling Ventures’ support for the NCYCC will provide young people opportunities to make meaningful and long-lasting contributions to the Triangle community and sources of clean drinking water while they work outdoors and connect with nature.

Charlotte’s Trail of History Features NC Youth Conservation Corps

Last summer, WTVI’s Trail of History filmed an NC Youth Conservation Corps crew while working to build trails within the Uwharrie National Forest.  This episode of Trail of History explores how the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and other New Deal programs helped people in the Carolina’s during the Great Depression. Click below to watch the entire episode! The NCYCC segment begins at 18:50.

 

On average it costs $1,000 to fund one NC Youth Conservation Corps crew member for one week. Click here to make a gift that will make this unique conservation experience possible for more young adults.

Duke Energy Grant Supports NC Youth Conservation Corps Expansion

Committed to doubling the impact of our work in North Carolina, CTNC is excited to expand the thriving North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) program in 2017!

The Duke Energy Foundation awarded $70,000 to CTNC for its innovative Youth Conservation Corps program. The grant will:

  • increase the number of crews and provide more young people with paid jobs to serve their communities by building and maintaining trails and parks.
  • enable more local land trusts and low-income partner organizations to deploy crews to work on their projects.
  • fund our first Professional Development Day for Emerging Conservation Leaders. Through workshops, a job fair, and panel discussions, the event will help these future leaders launch successful careers and contribute to conservation.

“We are extremely grateful for this show of support by the Duke Energy Foundation,” said Jan Pender. “The work accomplished by these young people to improve, restore, and preserve our natural areas will have a lasting impact on conservation efforts, and we’re excited for this opportunity to grow.”

Benefits of the YCC Experience

The NCYCC furthers CTNC’s commitment to diversity and engaging young people in conservation. The NCYCC provides unique opportunities for 16-24-year-olds to work outdoors with their peers from a range of backgrounds, ethnicity, and geographic regions.

The NCYCC uses the natural world as a platform to teach NCYCC participants leadership, environmental stewardship, and community service. By immersing themselves in the outdoors through work that maintains North Carolina’s parks and natural areas, NCYCC participants gain a connection to nature and a sense of pride in protecting the places they love.

CTNC’s Partnership with Duke Energy Foundation

Annually, the Duke Energy Foundation funds $20 million in charitable grants in North Carolina including more than $1.5 million with 16 North Carolina environmental nonprofit organizations. The grants fund environmental projects, wildlife conservation efforts and environmental educational programs across the state.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture. For more information, visit www.duke-energy.com/foundation.

Check Out Videos From This Summer’s NC Youth Conservation Corps!

Here are some highlights from this summer’s NC Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) crews!

NCYCC is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility.

The NCYCC is a partnership between the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC).   NCYCC participants contribute hundreds of hours of hard work to improve and expand access to protected natural areas so that more North Carolina families can connect with the outdoors.  For many participants, it is a life-transforming experience.

You can learn more about the program here.

Crew 1 – Gales Creek Preserve and the Uwharrie National Forest

Crew 2 – Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, McDowell Nature Preserve, Brumley Forest Nature Preserve, Cape Hatteras, and “The Rocks” Nature Preserve

Crew 3 – Blue Ridge Parkway

Historic Blowing Rock Trail Restored and Dedicated to Much-beloved Kirby Brown

On August 22, 2015, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and U.S. Forest Service held a dedication and ribbon cutting for the historic – and recently restored – Upper Thunderhole/China Creek Trail in Blowing Rock. The trail was dedicated to Kirby Brown, a beloved, longtime Blowing Rock homeowner and passionate conservation advocate.

“Kirby Brown was the first person to invite us into her home to talk with her friends and neighbors about CTNC and our efforts to protect the Blue Ridge Parkway back in 1998,” said Margaret Newbold, CTNC Associate Director. “And since Kirby knows everyone in Blowing Rock our story spread quickly! We owe our success in the area to Kirby Brown.”

More than 60 people came out to celebrate and dedicate this historic U.S Forest Service trail to Brown, a lifelong hiker, birder, and explorer of natural places across the globe. “She loves her Blue Ridge Mountains and wants the wilds, the streams, and the views to be there for all of us and the next generations. She was truly honored today,” said Juliana Henderson, Kirby’s daughter.

Kirby’s love for the mountains and Blowing Rock, as well as her fervent belief that young people should be connected to the outdoors, inspired the Conservation Trust to place an NC Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) crew on the trail this summer to restore it for public use. For seven weeks the NCYCC crew cleared the trail, installed water bars, switchbacks, and rock steps, making the trail more accessible and safer for families to enjoy. The crew also built a kiosk with information about the trail and Kirby Brown. The crew included Brittany Watkins from Lenoir, NC.

According to the Blowing Rock Historical Society, the Upper Thunderhole Trail was built in the 1920s by the (now demolished) Mayview Manor Hotel to enable guests to access pristine China Creek and Thunderhole Creek for hiking, hunting, and fishing. The trail passes through both Pisgah National Forest and National Park Service land, including a 192-acre parcel along China Creek that the Conservation Trust saved from development in 2001 and is now part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The China Creek/Thunderhole area contains some of the last remaining old growth forest in the East, with trees over 300 years old.

John Wilson, a CTNC board member whose family owns The Blowing Rock attraction, said, “This spectacular trail adds a tremendous, new outdoor recreation opportunity for visitors to Blowing Rock and the High Country. There is no better person to dedicate it to than Kirby, who has been such an inspiration to so many who love and work to protect these mountains.”

The Upper Thunderhole trailhead is across Laurel Lane from the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve at 1500 Laurel Lane. From the trailhead, the trail descends over 1,000 vertical feet in just under two miles en route to China Creek. The trail then extends approximately 1.5 miles downstream along China Creek over more even terrain to Forest Service Road 4071. Upper Thunderhole hikers also have the option to hike upstream on China Creek to Moses Cone Memorial Park and the Sandy Flat rest area on U.S. 221.

An unidentified hiker on the refurbished trail was heard to exclaim, “This is the best thing to happen in Blowing Rock in 30 years!”

Financial support for this NCYCC crew came from the U.S. Forest Service and numerous individual donors who contributed in Kirby Brown’s honor.

The NCYCC, a partnership between the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and leadership skills, community service and personal responsibility.  Four crews deployed around the state in the summer of 2015.  Each crew had six to eight crew members between the ages of 16 and 24, and one to two highly trained crew leaders. The crews worked seven hours a day, five days a week, for seven weeks, and were paid minimum wage.  Each day also included a one-hour educational program focused on conservation and social topics.  The crews lived together at campsites near their respective work projects.

NC Youth Conservation Corps Completes Trail & Recreational Projects

The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) just finished up its summer session August 9, completing high priority conservation and community service projects that will enhance North Carolina’s protected lands and create more recreation opportunities for North Carolina families.  The NCYCC deployed four crews of 16 to 24 year-olds from across the state.  Each crew consisted of six to eight youth working with one to two highly trained crew leaders. The crews started work on June 21 and camped the entire seven weeks.

One NCYCC crew restored a U.S. Forest Service trail near Blowing Rock.  A second crew completed a variety of projects for the National Park Service along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Price Lake.  A third crew worked on trail construction and facility improvements for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Falls Lake and Jordan Lake, trail work and invasive plant removal for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association in Durham, and launched a new public park at Shiloh Landing (near Tarboro and Princeville) for Edgecombe County.  The fourth crew built a new boardwalk at Lake Waccamaw State Park, worked in two Wake County parks, and made improvements to a Mecklenburg County nature preserve owned by the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

The crews’ work included the following specifics:  

Thunderhole/China Creek Trail – Watauga and Caldwell Counties

  • 5 miles of trail construction and maintenance and completion of a new kiosk at the trailhead

Blue Ridge Parkway between Mileposts 260 and 305 – Watauga, Caldwell, and Avery Counties

  • Trail maintenance on the Boone Fork Trail, Green Knob Trail, Rough Ridge Trail, and Tanawha Trail
  • Removal and construction of historic fencing at the Julian Price Picnic Area, Moses Cone Manor, and Sims Creek Overlook

Falls Lake Visitor Assistance Center – Wake County

  • Construction of wildlife viewing blind and features for a nature play area

Jordan Lake – Chatham County

  • 2.7 miles of trail construction and maintenance

Shiloh Landing – Edgecombe County

  • Construction of one mile of new trail, five benches, and two picnic tables

Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve – Durham County

  • Trail construction and maintenance that included four new boardwalk sections and invasive plant removal

Lake Waccamaw State Park – Columbus County

  • 150 feet of new boardwalk construction

Seven Oaks Nature Preserve – Mecklenburg County

  • 50 acres of invasive plant removal, trash pick-up, habitat restoration, and trail maintenance

Harris Lake County Park – Wake County

  • Construction of 60 feet of new boardwalk for the park’s disc golf course

Lake Crabtree County Park – Wake County

  • Construction of a new building to house the park’s historic hand dug well for public viewing and invasive plant removal

“The crews did excellent work, often amid challenging conditions, to improve, restore, and preserve our natural areas for greater public enjoyment,” said Jan Pender, NCYCC Director.  “In the process, they gained job and life skills, learned personal responsibility, strengthened their appreciation for the outdoors, and gave back to their communities.”

“The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps assisted the Blue Ridge Parkway in important trail and resource protection work in highly used areas,” said Matt Henderson, National Park Service District Facility Manager. “The youth’s work will also help enhance the visitor experience in the North Carolina high country for both locals and the traveling public who enjoy the Parkway’s trails, picnic areas, and scenic views.”

“After working with the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps, not only did I learn a great deal about the people in my crew, but I learned a lot about myself,” said NCYCC crew member Blake Barnette.  “I also learned what an impact such a small group can make on the environment.  It’s definitely something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life.”

The NCYCC crews were sponsored by: Conservation Trust for North Carolina; Vermont Youth Conservation Corps; Woodson Family Foundation; Fred and Alice Stanback; Bill and Nancy Stanback; U.S. Forest Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Blue Ridgeway Parkway Foundation; Kulynych Family Foundation; BB&T; Cape Fear Resource, Conservation & Development, Inc.; Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Pepsi Bottling Ventures; Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation; North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperatives; Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association; Columbia Sportswear; Great Outdoor Provision Company; 84 Lumber; New Generation Leaders of Edgecombe County; National Park Service; Catawba Lands Conservancy; North Carolina State Parks; and many generous individual donors!  Thank you so much!

NCYCC Launches Third Year of Conservation Service Work

Last Saturday, June 20, the NC Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) launched its third summer of conservation service work. Eight crew leaders and 30 crew members aged 16 to 24 met at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh for NCYCC Orientation before dispersing to work sites across the state. The four crews will spend seven weeks working on projects that will preserve, restore, and improve some of North Carolina’s most treasured natural lands.

The crews are based at county, state, and national recreation areas, camping at each location for the duration of their stay. Their work will include trail creation, maintenance, and repair, invasive plant removal, and facility renovations and repairs.  The crews work eight hours a day, five days a week, and are paid minimum wage.  Each workday includes a one-hour educational program focused on conservation and social topics.

“Like the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, the NCYCC provides young people with a paid job that teaches valuable work skills and personal responsibility as they build and maintain trails, restore habitat, and make places more accessible to a greater diversity of people,” said NCYCC Director Jan Pender.

Two crews will be stationed for seven weeks (June 20 through August 8) in the North Carolina mountains at Blowing Rock and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The third crew will rotate among locations in the eastern half of the state, including Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, Shiloh Landing in Princeville, and Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve in Durham. The fourth crew will spend their first three weeks at Lake Waccamaw and then travel to Historic Latta Plantation and McDowell Nature Preserve in Mecklenburg County, followed by work at Harris Lake County Park and Lake Crabtree County Park in Wake County.

“The NC Youth Conservation Corps crews will make more trails and parks accessible for North Carolina families to experience healthy exercise in nature,” said CTNC Executive Director Reid Wilson. “In the process, crew members will gain new skills, build lasting bonds among themselves, and deepen their appreciation for the outdoors.”

The NCYCC is a partnership between the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC). The NCYCC crews are sponsored by CTNC, VYCC, Woodson Family Foundation, Fred and Alice Stanback, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Cape Fear Resource Conservation & Development District, Little Acorn Fund, Wake County, Mecklenburg County, BB&T, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, North Carolina Electric Membership Cooperatives, Columbia Sportswear, Tarboro New Generations Leaders, 84 Lumber, North Carolina State Parks, Great Outdoor Provision Company, and numerous individual supporters.

To learn more about NCYCC, visit https://www.ctnc.org/nc-youth-conservation-corps-2/.

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