NC Youth Conservation Corps Launches Third Year of Conservation Work on Protected Lands

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) launched its third summer of conservation service work on Saturday, June 20. Thirty-eight young people between the ages of 16 and 24 gathered at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum for NCYCC Orientation before being deployed to work sites across the state. The participants will work for seven weeks (June 21 – August 8) on projects that will preserve, restore, and improve some of North Carolina’s most treasured natural lands.



The NCYCC, a partnership between the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching job and leadership skills, community service, environmental stewardship, and personal responsibility.

The participants were divided into four “crews” of eight members each, with each crew being led by two highly trained older crew leaders.  The crews work eight hours a day, five days a week, and are paid minimum wage.  Each work day includes a one-hour educational program focused on conservation and social topics.

"The NCYCC mobilizes young people to serve communities through high priority conservation projects that create, improve, and protect our state's public lands and outdoor recreation resources," said NCYCC Director Jan Pender. "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."

The four crews will work at county, state, and national recreation areas across the state, 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.

Two crews will be stationed for seven weeks (June 20 through August 8)  in the North Carolina mountains. One crew, sponsored by the US Forest Service, will clear and re-route the China Creek/Upper Thunderhole Trail near Blowing Rock. The other crew, sponsored by the National Park Service, will do trail maintenance, fencing repairs, and facilities work at various locations along the  Blue Ridge Parkway near Julian Price Memorial Park.

The remaining two crews will rotate among various locations in the eastern half of the state. One crew, sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will spend June 20 through July 4  at Falls Lake and the following week at Jordan Lake in the Triangle working on trail maintenance, facility repairs, and habitat restoration. They will then spend July 19 through August 1 at Shiloh Landing in Princeville building a new trail, canoe launch, and access path for a project sponsored by Edgecombe County, followed by one week (August 2 through August 8) building a new trail at Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve in Durham on a project sponsored by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association.

The fourth crew will spend June 20 through July 11 building a boardwalk and other trails at Lake Waccamaw State Park on a project sponsored by Lake Waccamaw State Park and Cape Fear Resource, Conservation & Development, Inc. They will then travel to Charlotte on July 13 to spend two weeks maintaining trails and removing invasive species at Historic Latta Plantation and McDowell Nature Preserve for a project sponsored by Mecklenburg County. They will end their work with one week (July 26 through August 1) at Harris Lake County Park followed by a week (August 2 through August 8) at Lake Crabtree County Park working on trail maintenance and facility improvements, sponsored by Wake County.

"The NCYCC has a history of helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers find innovative ways of bringing the outdoors and people together, and this year will be no different,” said Carol Banaitis, Piedmont Operations Project Manager of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Ever since my own experience working as a YCC crew member, it's been clear to me that the program benefits both the individual members who gain valuable work experience in the outdoors and the agencies that are able to accomplish important conservation projects.”

The NCYCC operated two crews in the summer of 2013 and four in 2014. Two of last year’s crews worked at state parks to build and maintain trails, remove invasive plants, repair facilities, and maintain boundary fences. A third crew worked on projects in Spencer with the LandTrust for Central North Carolina and at Hickory Nut Gorge with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. The fourth crew lived at home and reported to work each day at sites around the Triangle.

“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 crews are sponsored by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, 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, North Carolina State Parks, Great Outdoor Provision Company, and numerous individual supporters.

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina connects people to the outdoors, assists 23 local land trusts so that they can conserve more land, and protects natural and scenic lands along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Land trusts preserve land and waterways to safeguard our way of life. They work with landowners to ensure natural lands are protected for clean air, safe drinking water, fresh local foods, and recreational opportunities for all North Carolina families.

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