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Youth Conservation Corps

Employee in hard hat crouches in field using binoculars to look into the distant forest and lake under a cloudy sky.
Work, Learn, Play, and Grow!


We need you! Get paid to accomplish needed conservation work on public lands.

The Youth Conservation Corps program provides you with a paid summer experience working as part of a team on fun and meaningful conservation projects on national forests and public lands. You will gain environmental stewardship experience while learning about a variety of green careers and connecting with other young people


You must meet the following requirements:

  • At least age 15 at the start of the enrollment and be age 18 or younger on the final day of the program.

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories.

  • Have a valid Social Security Number.

  • Able to obtain a state work permit.


  • Earn Federal minimum wage or the state minimum wage, if higher.

  • Learn about environmental stewardship and civic responsibility through team-based work projects.

  • Gain exposure to college and industry apprenticeships, job opportunities in natural and cultural resource management, urban forestry, and other green careers.

  • Network with conservation professionals.

Project Types

  • Constructing and repairing trails

  • Preserving and repairing historic buildings

  • Removing invasive species

  • Assisting with wildlife and land research

  • Leading environmental education programs

Program Length

  • 1-3 months in the summer.

How to Apply

  • YCC Location Map coming soon – come back to this site in February to see what Youth Conservation Corps opportunities are available in summer 2024. 

  • Once you find an opportunity, fill out and submit the Youth Conservation Corps application.

  • Plan to submit your application for the upcoming summer by March 1st for positions offered directly by National Forests or as late as April 15th for positions offered through our partner organizations.

Contact Information

Use the map or Forest Service regions to find the contact information in the list below.

Forest Service Regions graphic with list below.

Northern Region (R1)

Twelve National Forests spread across North Idaho, Montana, and a sliver of northeastern Washington. The 4 National Grasslands of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands are in North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota. 

Rocky Mountain Region (R2)

Region 2 encompasses national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and most of South Dakota and Wyoming.

Southwest Region (R3)

Includes six national forests in Arizona, five national forests and a national grassland in New Mexico, and one national grassland each in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle. 

Intermountain Region (R4)

Includes twelve National Forests which are located in Utah, Nevada, western Wyoming, southern and central Idaho, as well as one National Grassland in Idaho and the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Colorado. 

Pacific Southwest Region (R5)

Includes lands in California, Hawaii, and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. 

Pacific Northwest Region 6 (R6)

Contains 17 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments, all within the States of Oregon and Washington. 

Southern Region (R8)

Includes forests in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Eastern Region (R9)

Includes 20 states in the northeast and Great Lakes areas.

Alaska Region (R10)

All of Alaska.

Program Completion: Next Steps

  • Consider joining the Youth Conservation Corps again next summer as a crew member or a youth leader. Youth leaders act as role models and leaders within the crew and are paid an additional 15%.  You can participate in the experience as many times as you want so long as you remain under the age of 19. 

  •  If you are over 18, you are eligible to become a Youth Conservation Corps crew leader. For more information about position availability, email your regional program contact above.

  • If you want to complete your High School education while gaining career training, consider the Job Corps program.

  • If you’ve finished high school and are going into the workforce, you can apply to entry-level jobs with the Forest Service, either seasonal, intermittent, or permanent.

  • If you’ve finished high school and are a college student, you can apply to the following paid opportunities:

    • Resource Assistants Program: Paid internships for college students and graduates 17 and up interested in conservation, natural resources, and more. Work 6 to 12 months and earn a direct hiring authority. 

    • Public Lands Corps: Paid experience working on conservation and stewardship projects. Work 640 hours to earn a non-competitive hiring authority.

    • Student Pathways Internships: Paid full or part-time internships. Program lengths and specifics for converting to permanent positions vary.

  • Other Internship and Career Opportunities Include:

    • Presidential Management Fellows: Advanced degree holders compete in the Federal Government's flagship leadership program to a two-year paid fellowship. Upon completion, potential conversion to a permanent position.

    • Indian Youth Service Corps: Paid experience working on exciting conservation projects on Indian lands. Work 640 hours to earn a non-competitive hiring authority. Preference given to Indian youth.

Employee surveys a lake in the forest.
Youth Conservation Corps member performs Loon survey on Van Lake, Flathead National Forest, Montana. USDA Forest Service photo by Kira Frye.


The USDA is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer