The Youth Conservation Crew provides summer employment opportunities for a diverse population of Portland-area youth, ages 14-18. Crews protect, restore, and manage Portland's parks and natural areas while developing essential job skills. In 2011, YCC employed 56 teens to:
- save 398 trees
- maintain 575 newly planted trees
- mulch and water 1,706 plants
- improve 8.8 miles of trails
- teach 2,008 kids and adults about urban ecology and conservation
Who are the teens?
The teens involved with YCC come to the program in a variety of ways. Many teens have volunteered with other PP&R programs including the No Ivy League and Greenspaces Restoration & Urban Naturalist Team (GRUNT). Programs target recruitment from 75% Free & Reduced Lunch schools in Portland, but is not exclusive. Other teens enter the program through past and current partnerships with the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, Catholic Charities, SE Works, NAYA, and referrals from school counselors. There is also an open recruitment so that anyone age 14-18 can apply.
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 into native trees, effectively saving the tree from premature death. In July and August of 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 Stewardship 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 ages 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!
For more information, contact YCC Coordinator Greg Hawley at 503-823-6523.
Bureau of Environmental Services, Office of Youth Violence Prevention, SE Works, Catholic Charities, NAYA