Youth Forest Monitoring Program (YFMP)

YFMP GroupYouth in 

hard hat using sighted levelYouth measuring stream levelsBird sitting on the shoulder of a backpackerLine of backpackers headed on a trail into the wilderness


Youth Forest Monitoring Program (YFMP) is an innovative summer citizen science program for students entering grades 9-12. Participants learn about forest ecology, explore their local National Forest System and other nearby lands, engage in forest health monitoring, and network with natural resource professionals. Areas that students monitor include lands impacted by wildfire, historic mining claims, important watersheds, grazing allotments, and recreation areas.

YFMP begins with a one-week training, after which students are divided into three teams and spend the next six weeks monitoring soil, water and weeds. Students collect, analyze, and interpret data by working in the field, in classrooms, and in the laboratory. Field instructors supervise students, and each monitoring project is guided by a designated Forest Service scientist. Students complete the program by presenting their data and conclusions to parents, the public, and Forest Service personnel in a report presentation. Student data is then integrated with other monitoring data and used to evaluate the Forest Plan.

Students receive a lump sum stipend at the end of the program once they have successfully completed their internship. Several past participants have even earned seasonal employment with the Forest Service in subsequent years.

The program is open to students entering grades 9-12, who are in good academic standing and/or have demonstrated ability and interest in natural sciences.


More Information

2021 Program Brochure

To find out more about the Youth Forest Monitoring Program, click on the brochure link above or contact Liz Burke at 406-495-3713 or


How to Apply

To apply for the 2021 Youth Forest Monitoring Program, send the following documents to the address listed below by April 7, 2021:

  • Contact information - Email, address, and phone number
  • School transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from a teacher
  • Cover letter describing 1) what you hope to gain by this experience, and 2) special contributions you can make to this program


Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest
ATTN: Liz Burke
2880 Skyway Dr.
Helena, MT 59602


One YFMP Field Instructor Position Available

In partnership with the Montana Discovery Foundation we are looking for one field instructor for the 2021 Youth Forest Monitoring Program:

Click here for the position description and how to apply

Contact Liz Burke ( for more information.


The Youth Forest Monitoring Program is available through a partnership between the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lewis & Clark County, Montana Discovery Foundation, and UM Helena College. 2021 support comes from the Tri-County RAC, Forest Service Washington Office, and Citi-Sci Fund.