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Mission and Initiatives

Conservation Corps provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities to youth and young adults while accomplishing conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work.

Our goals are to help young people from diverse backgrounds become more connected to the environment, engaged in conservation, involved in the community and prepared for future employment. We realize our mission and accomplish our goals through initiatives for youth and young adults:

AmeriCorps opportunities for young adults, ages 18-25, include non-residential Field Crews in northern, central and southern Minnesota and central Iowa, which engage young adults in year-round natural resource and emergency response work. Conservation Apprentices serve in Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout Minnesota where they learn hands-on skills in resource management. Home Energy Squads install energy-saving measures in homes, such as weather-stripping and programmable thermostats. Individual placements serve in nonprofit and government agencies focused on energy, natural resource management and community outreach. Youth Outdoors Leaders and Summer Youth Corps Leaders serve programs that engage teens, ages 15 to 18, in outdoor service-learning: Youth Outdoors and Summer Youth Corps.

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Opportunities for youth, ages 15-18, include a summer residential program and an afterschool program. The residential Summer Youth Corps unplugs teenagers from modern intrusions during two 4-week sessions over the summer, and includes a stipend. Youth are trained at a rural base camp, then spike camp throughout the region as they restore natural resources and learn about the environment.  Youth Outdoors engages Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Ramsey County teens from low-income homes in educational activities and service-learning projects afterschool and Saturdays during fall and spring school semesters and a four-week summer session. Youth earn a wage while revitalizing local neighborhoods, improving the environment and leading volunteers. The Bridges Project provides the next step for teenagers interested in a career in the environmental field, building on previous experience with Conservation Corps or a similar work and training program. Restoring Relations connects American Indian teenagers to their heritage through hands-on environmental projects on lands and waters of cultural and historic significance. 

All Conservation Corps programs devote 20 percent of program time to technical-skills training, career-building skills such as resume writing and interviewing, and educational activities focused on environmental science and technology. Using scientific inquiry and experiential learning, the Conservation Corps helps young people learn more about the world around them and think critically about the impact of their personal choices on the environment.