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/.