The Youth Conservation Crew provides summer employment opportunities for a diverse population of Portland-area youth, age 14-18. Crews protect, restore, and manage Portland's parks and natural areas while developing essential job skills. In 2013, YCC employed 36 teens to:
save 198 trees
maintain 550 newly planted trees
improve over 3 miles of trails
teach 850 kids and adults about urban ecology and conservation
Who are the teens? A recruitment for high school age YCC members occurs in the spring. Previous participation in other environmental programs offered through PP&R such as GRUNT, No Ivy League (NIL) or similar programs can increase the chances for hire, but do not guarantee employment. Previous experience is not a requirement for employment. An interest in the environment, a willingness to learn, and an openness to professional growth are important characteristics of the successful YCC candidate.
How do I apply? The application process begins in the spring, typically at the beginning of May. A pool of applicants is selected for interviews. Teens who worked in previous years must reapply for the program.
What do we do? Teens are hired to be a part of one of the following crews:
The No Ivy League (NIL) restores the native habitat of Portland's natural areas with efforts in removing invasive plants. The NIL removes ground ivy as well as ivy growing up native trees, effectively saving the tree from premature death. In July and August 2011, the No Ivy League removed just over 50,000 square feet of English ivy in Forest Park and other west side natural areas.
The Tree Crew works alongside City of Portland arborists and high climbers learning proper pruning techniques, maintaining the health of Portland's urban canopy, and increasing the safety of park patrons. The YCC Tree Establishment Crew works in Portland parks and on Portland Public School properties as part of PP&R's Neighborhood Tree Steward Program.
The Trail Crew builds and maintains trails in Portland's natural areas. Using industry accepted techniques for sustainable trail maintenance, the crew focuses on reducing erosion entering Portland's rivers, streams, and water bodies by improving grading and drainage, improving stream crossings, and closing unofficial trails.
The Teen Naturalist Team (TNT) is the education arm of the YCC. Bolstered by a love of nature and a passion for educating people about the environment, TNT educators teach environmental science and lead activities for children age 6-12 in SUN School and community summer day camps in the Portland area. They also don't shy away from teaching teens and adults!