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The torsos and legs of two people in matching blue shirts and khaki pants. One holds a rake
Service corps crew at Musconetcong Wild & Scenic River
NPF Photo / Brianna Mancini
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NPF Invests $5 Million in Service Corps Programs

By Sammy Dolin

The National Park Foundation (NPF) has committed $5 million in grants to support service corps crews nationwide. Following a selective grant process, NPF has funded over 30 projects in national parks across the country through the Service Corps program with the goal of supporting a diverse group of young leaders and veterans to protect national parks and receive in-demand job skills training.

Service corps are locally based organizations that work towards goals such as improving conservation, disaster response, and addressing recreation and community needs. Projects funded this year include invasive species removal, field data collection, historical preservation, facilities maintenance, and more. Participants emerge from their projects with confidence, practical field training, and a potential future career in public lands.

$1 million of this investment will fund the Indian Youth Service Corps (IYSC), a new tribal youth program announced in 2022 by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The IYSC will provide opportunities for Native Americans and Alaska Natives to support the conservation and protection of natural and cultural resources through the construction, restoration, or rehabilitation of natural, cultural, historic, archeological, recreational or scenic resources.

A group of service corps crew members pose for a "silly" photograph, bending into different stances and postures. They all wear matching blue shirts.
Student Conservation Association service corps crew in Mojave National Preserve (Rafeed Hussain / The Student Conservation Association, Inc)
Two people kneel down to work on something. One holds a log. Both wear hats and safety gloves
Service corps crew working in New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in August 2022 (NPF Photo / Anthony Greene)

2023 - 2024 Service Corps Grantees

Since 2018, NPF has granted more than $20 million to over 220 service corps crews and individual placements. Each of these service corps projects will take place throughout 2023 and into 2024:

Four Corners School of Outdoor Education is engaging indigenous youth from the Navajo Nation in cultural and natural resource management at Capitol Reef National Park.

Rainbow service corps crew cleaning up marine debris
Rainbow service corps crew, focused on cleaning up marine debris (Northwest Youth Corps)

Mount Rainier National Park is welcoming two service corps, including an American Sign Language (ASL) teen crew, and a young adult LGBTQ+ (Rainbow) crew to protect and restore disturbed wildflower meadows and prevent habitat degradation.

SEEDS will partner with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to engage youth from underserved communities and promote the health of our ecosystem by providing educational and skill-building activities.

National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center is working with Native American youth through the Traditional Trades Advancement Program to teach specialized infrastructure building skills to the next generation.

Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park will connect Native Pacific Islanders and additional marginalized groups with college level peers to rehabilitate trails following the devastating 2018 volcanic eruption and improve visitor native forest bird watching areas.

A group of people stand along a dirt path
The Leaders of Color service corps crew stops for a break at Mesa Verde National Park (NPF Photo / Jeremy Wade Shockley)
A group of people are surrounded by felled trees and logs
Service corps crew working on fire restoration and mitigation in Rocky Mountain National Park (Rocky Mountain Conservancy)

Student Conservation Association will partner with Indiana Dunes National Park to restore wetland biology at the Great Marsh and restore natural resources in the West Beach and Portage Lakefront areas, including increasing native plant diversity, and improving habitat for wildlife.

Southwest Conservation Corps will engage BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) leaders ages 18-30 in natural resource management through work at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Mesa Verde National Park.

Native Conservation Corps at Grand Canyon National Park
Native Conservation Corps at Grand Canyon National Park (Jak Kearsley)

Rocky Mountain Conservancy is working with Rocky Mountain National Park Facilities and Vegetation teams to plant native grasses, replace and modify historic campgrounds, and increase capacity of park staff to improve stability and visitor experience.

Wabanaki Youth in Science will be doubling their existing crew to assist in conducting trail work, mitigating invasive species, and completing natural resource work in Acadia National Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, along with additional trails on trust land in eastern Maine.

Environment for the Americas equips and empowers diverse young professionals with leadership skills and career opportunities through addressing climate change restoring habitats, removing invasive species, and improving visitor access at Saguaro National Park.

Student Conservation Association will work to conserve and restore lands with partners such as the Bristol Bay Native Corporation in a number of parks including Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Seashore, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Indiana Dunes National Park, City of Rocks National Reserve, Springfield Armory National Historical Site, Minute Man National Historical Park, Prince William Forest Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Navajo National Monument.

A group of people stand around for a meeting. They all wear hard hats and some hold chainsaws
Service corps crew focused on natural and cultural resource conservation at the Buffalo National River (Watershed Committee of the Ozarks)
A person holds a stake and looks up to another person who stands with a hammer
SCA service corps crew members at Musconetcong Wild and Scenic River (NPF Photo / Brianna Mancini)

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps will support Bandelier National Monument by deploying crews to clear, maintain, and improve backcountry trails in the park, removing invasive species on park trails, and addressing seasonal impacts caused by natural events such as erosion, fire, downed trees, and human induced impact.

Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, Inc. is providing vulnerable young adults ages 15-35 with hands-on experience in environmental justice, conservation, climate intervention and resilience, and community engagement in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Isle Royale National Park while they earn living stipends, scholarships, certifications, and 21st century job skills.

Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps member at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps member at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps)

Musconetcong Watershed Association is working to extend the Musconetcong Educational trail into a 3.9-mile loop system, which includes partnership with the Ramapough Cultural and Land foundation, who will help provide input on bilingual wayfinding signage.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve will perform trail maintenance on approximately 65 miles of the 100+ trail system spread throughout New River Gorge National Park & Preserve and Bluestone National Scenic River.

American Conservation Experience is engaging women in conservation leadership at Cuyahoga National Park through partnership with biologists, park volunteers, and staff from The Nature Conservancy to plant trees, collect seeds, grow native plants, and conduct trail repair.

Greening Youth Foundation will engage five young adults of color through internships at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, including information technology, cultural resources, marketing, and facilities and interpretation.

Conservation Legacy will engage primarily Indigenous and Hispanic youth along with additional local youth in trail and facilities maintenance and historic resources training to instill conflict resolution, motivation, communication, and teaching and facilitation skills at several parks including Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and additional sites in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Conservation Legacy is also expanding inclusivity for people with disabilities by providing a group of young adults with disabilities known as the Youth Empowerment Stewards (YES), the opportunity to protect ecosystems and combat climate change throughout park sites in Colorado.

A group of people, wearing matching brown shirts, post for a photograph
Service corps crew at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (Dawn Kish)
Two people work in a field; in the distance a tall building
YouthWork Conservation Corps crew at Keweenaw National Historical Park (Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, YouthWork)

Groundwork USA will engage diverse youth leaders from Yonkers, NY, and Elizabeth, NJ, to learn crucial conservation and construction skills in Gateway National Recreation Area – Sandy Hook Unit. Groundwork USA is also deploying a team to Yellowstone National Park to tackle the maintenance backlog and help keep the park open, accessible, and beautiful.

Petroglyph National Monument is hiring a Tribal Ambassador to engage with Tribal and Pueblo community members, schools, and organizations, to promote a wide variety of opportunities to visit and connect with the cultural and natural resources located within Petroglyph National Monument.

Service corps crew works on the preservation of the Hubbell Home at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Service corps crew works on the preservation of the Hubbell Home at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (HistoriCorps)

Southeast Conservation Corps is deploying a Women’s+ cohort in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to complete trail restoration work to the Ramsey Cascades trail, Cosby Nature Trail and the Little River trail.

American YouthWorks is partnering with the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, The Louisiana Conservation Corps, and Houston Texas Conservation Corps to complete projects that enhance the visitor experience along the Bayou Lafourche and help participants secure environmental-related jobs with potential for advancement. American Youthworks is also providing members from the Deaf community and the AAPI community (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) with work experience across NPS sites in Texas, creating networks for future career opportunities, and providing mentorship opportunities.

Friends of Saguaro National Park, Inc. is providing paid internships for diverse young adults from underrepresented communities in southern Arizona to train, skill build, and develop leadership to increase capacity throughout Saguaro National Park’s divisions.

Service corps crew working along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Service corps crew working along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Appalachian Trail Conservancy)

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area will provide employment experience and mentorship for diverse college students by promoting an ethic for conservation and stewardship, inspiring students towards careers in public service, and providing job experience that produces competitive job skills.

Northeast Regional Office (Interior Region 1) is conducting archeological co-training with Tribal Historic Preservation Officers and National Park Service’s Northeast Archeological Resource Program to enable youth tribal members to participate in archeological monitoring occurring on their homelands on NPS sites.

Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa is providing Deaf and hard of hearing youth the opportunity to work collaboratively with Isle Royale National Park staff and their community volunteers to improve and maintain 4.5 miles of the Feldtman Lake trail and campground infrastructure.

City of Rocks National Reserve welcomes two service corps interns to address deferred maintenance, climate change, and resource protection projects in the City of Rocks National Preserve.

A group of people stand in a circle for a meeting in front of a two-story historic home
Service corps crew working on the stabilization of the Mary Ellen Dogan House at Manassas National Battlefield Park (HistoriCorps)
(Groundwork Jacksonville)

Yosemite National Park is affiliated with the first tribal conservation crew made up of young tribal adults, known as Yosemite Ancestral Stewards (YAS). These stewards will live and work in Yosemite, assisting with conservation projects, surveying archeological sites, ecologically restoring meadows, and reducing hazardous fuels in oak woodlands.

Prince William Forest Park welcomes two interns to assist the park biologist with managing invasive plant species, conducting water quality field assessments, and examining the health of the watershed.

Service corps crew working helping control invasive vegetation at Devils Tower National Monument
Service corps crew working helping control invasive vegetation at Devils Tower National Monument (Wyoming Conservation Corps)

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park will place three cultural landscape apprentices within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to complete grounds maintenance, irrigation system management, landscape bed rehabilitation, and associated tasks within the park’s multiple historic cultural landscapes.

Rock Creek Conservancy is partnering with the Rock Creek Conservation Corps to assist in litter cleanups, invasive plant removal, and natural resources monitoring and maintenance, allowing students the opportunity to make an impact on the national park in their backyard.

Northwest Youth Corps is working with over 60 individuals in their NYC-NPS inclusion Stewardship Crews at Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Park to assist NPS with maintaining trails and restoring the landscape. These Crews consist of those members who use American Sign Language (“ASL Crew”); those identify as LGBTQ+ (“Rainbow Crew”); and a very diverse group of high school students who live in the Tacoma and/or Olympia urban area (“Sound to Summit”).

Intermountain Regional Office, Interior Regions 6, 7, & 8 will work to correct the archeological site location and mapping at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center ALCC will provide Indigenous youth with the opportunity to learn traditional trades.

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