Editor’s Note: This post was authored by Clayton Lenz, a program coordinator for the Idaho Conservation Corps and member of ICL’s 2022 cohort of Emerging Leaders for Idaho’s Environment (ELIE). ELIE is a leadership program focused on connecting the next generation of conservationists with opportunities to make a difference with Idaho’s environmental movement. To get involved with ELIE, click here.
Since 1991, Idaho Conservation Corps (ICC) has been empowering youth and young adults through completing resource management work across the state. Some of our crew members aspire to work in the conservation field, while others just want a fun way to spend their summer! Through hands-on, challenging work, these young people build and maintain the outdoor spaces that Idahoans love.
In 2022, Idaho Conservation Corps served 53 teens, 39 young adults, 19 crew leaders, and 35 interns throughout the state. This season (May to October), ICC crew members:
- Restored or improved 10 acres of habitat
- Treated 13,047 acres for invasive species removal or prevention
- Installed 155,655 plants
- Created 99 trail features
- Maintained 132 miles of trail
- Bucked out 725 logs from trails
- Deconstructed 1.2 miles of obsolete trail
- Built 5.42 miles of fence
- Removed 6 miles of obsolete fence
- Built 500 feet of retaining wall
- Spread 28,000 native seed over 10.8 acres
- Thinned 14.22 acres of forest land to reduce fire danger
- Interns worked at U.S. Forest Service stations and National Parks throughout the state performing work in community engagement, interpretation, and forestry
On any given day, ICC crews will build and maintain wilderness trails, remove invasive species, fall snag trees, build beaver dam analogs, or install wildlife fencing. Not to mention, they live out of their tents for the entire duration of their season!
While some crew members walk away saying “that was the best summer of my life,” and some say, “I’m thankful I don’t have to do that again,” all finish the season humbled by Idaho’s wild and beautiful landscapes, empowered by giving back to their communities, and developed into better stewards of our natural resources. Some things are best said by our crew members, so here is a quote from a young adult graduate from 2022:
“I was able to explore parts of my home state I didn’t know existed. I hope that my time here with ICC will propel me into a career in forestry and resource management. I learned that I am capable of much more than I believed myself to be.”
Idaho Conservation Corps has more than 32 different partners who help make our work happen. If you have any questions about these programs, please contact Lisa O’Flaherty, ICC’s Program Manager.