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Forest Conservation Corps

Applications for the 2024 Forest Conservation Corps program are closed.

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Each summer RYO invites young people aged 14-16 to get outside on the Rensselaer Plateau. 


Inspired by the work of the Youth Conservation Corps this FREE program offers young people a chance to start and finish a project on one of our partner’s sites, practice skills that you can use in the woods, explore and play, and learn from professionals who work in the field of environmental conservation. 


A typical day might look like this:

  • 8:30AM: Arrive on site

  • 9-12PM: Get your hands dirty working on one of our many site projects. Examples include: maintaining trails or building new ones, building benches, bridges, or other carpentry projects, removing invasive species, building a nature play area, planting trees, setting up deer monitoring plots, or cleaning up a nature area used by the community. 

  • 12-1PM: Fuel up with lunch (you bring your own)

  • 1-3PM: Learn a skill, explore careers in the outdoors, hike a trail, play games, nature journal, or practice mindfulness. Examples include; learn how to make a fire without matches or a lighter, navigate using a compass, identify aquatic species in the nearby stream, hear from a local ecologist or forest ranger, or forage for wild edibles with a professional. 

  • 3-3:30PM: pack up, clean up and get ready to head home. 


With the help of a grant from the US Forest Service's Urban Connections Program, we are able to offer each teen that completes one of these weeks a financial stipend of $200. That’s right, we want to pay you for your time, energy and participation. Youth are the present and future of this planet, we need you! 

Are you in need of transportation or gear to make you comfortable and prepared in the outdoors? Please reach out, we will work to meet your needs. We welcome youth of all experience and skill levels, and our staff and program leaders seek to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to young people regardless of gender expression, race, religion, or socioeconomic background. We will work hard to ensure that all youth can thrive during their FCC experience. 

Regardless of whether your teen is an outdoor enthusiast or just starting to spend meaningful time outdoors, our hope is that FCC program alumni learn how to get to know a place, to love a place, and take care of a place.

Have questions about the program? Contact RYO Director Michala Hendrick with the subject line "Forest Conservation Corps Program"

Visit our Facebook and Instagram using the links below to see photos and adventures from past FCC crews!

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