The Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), founded as a non-profit agency in 1998, provides young women and men with structured, safe and challenging service and educational opportunities through projects that promote personal growth, the development of social skills, and an ethic of natural resource stewardship. The SCC program model, built upon the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, incorporates guiding principles of experiential learning, respect, openness and willingness, commitment, responsibility, pride, excellence, health and safety, and fun.
SCC offers programs year-round throughout the Southwest from offices in Durango, CO, Salida, CO, Acoma, NM and Tucson, AZ. Most of SCC’s Colorado and New Mexico-based programs operate from March – October while most of the Arizona-based programs operate from September through April. SCC operates a continuum of programs from community-based initiatives for younger teens to residential camping crews for high school and college aged individuals to leadership programs for college graduates.
SCC service projects take place throughout a three state region: Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. On many projects Corpsmembers work, learn and commonly camp in teams with up to six crewmembers and 2 crew leaders. Projects include fuels reduction, erosion control, tree planting, trail building, fencing and exotic plant removal.
Corpsmembers earn a living allowance while learning valuable work and life skills. Innately, through the program structure, SCC places a strong focus on leadership development and environmental stewardship. SCC’s strengths lie not only in its service project accomplishments, but also in its ability to provide a viable work force to the region while offering exceptional educational and engaging opportunities to participants.
Volunteer Youth Community Corps
The community corps program provides service learning opportunities for middle school youth, ages 12-15, in rural and urban areas throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. This program is unpaid. Working in crews of ten youth participants supported by two adult leaders, youth develop leadership skills and become actively involved in improving their community by addressing local needs. The service-learning activities address environmental needs of the region, including restoring land near rivers and lakes, noxious weed removal, trail maintenance, planting, community improvement, and habitat improvement.
Young adults, ages 16 -25, to complete conservation projects including trail construction & maintenance, fencing, habitat improvement, hazardous fuels reduction and re-vegetation. Each crew consists of 6-8 members and 2 leaders. Crews work and camp for up to 11 days at a time in frontcountry and backcountry locations in all types of weather conditions. SCC crews work in a variety of national parks, national forests and other areas throughout the Southwest.
Young adults 18-25 complete fire fuels reduction, mitigation, noxious tree removal, and forestry projects on public lands throughout the 4-Corners area. The SFT is run in conjunction with Mountain Alliance of Conservation Corps. Projects will include: wild land urban interface thinning; beetle-kill Juniper thinning; Russian Olive and Tamarisk removal; and habitat enhancement thinning projects. The SFT has a training component that prepares members for careers in the wild land fire management industry and resource management in the public or private sector.
Crew Leader Development
The CLDP is a two phase program. The first phase focuses on Corpsmember (CM) experience, while the second phase focuses on leadership development. During the first phase of the CLDP, CM’s are placed on a crew of their peers and mentored both by senior Crew Leaders and SCC Program Staff. The second phase of the CLDP focuses on direct leadership experience. During the second phase, the CLDP CM’s will actively practice and role model crew leadership skills under the mentorship of the Crew Leader and SCC Program Staff. The CLDP program strives to provide meaningful trainings to all participants during their term of service.
Veterans Green Corps
Veterans Green Corps provides purposeful employment and training opportunities for current era veterans (OIF,OEF) interested in gaining experience in natural resource and wildland fire careers. The program engages veterans to work together on crews completing projects natural resource management projects, specifically trail maintenance, trail construction, fuel reduction and other projects on public lands. The program provides training opportunities and contact with future employers for current era veterans who are transitioning from the military to jobs and opportunities in the civilian sector, specifically in the areas of land management and wildland firefighting. Crews are generally comprised of individuals 25-35 years of age who have minimal financial and/or family commitments.
This program places college graduates to complete individual projects with partner agencies throughout the Southwestern U.S. These placements are focused on providing highly qualified individuals to work with land management agencies, community watershed groups and other partners who working in the conservation field. A portion of these placements are completed in partnership with the Western Hardrock Watershed Team.
The Western Hardrock Watershed Team (WHWT) places, and supports, OSM/VISTA placements in a coalition of community/watershed improvement groups, confronting the challenges that remain from historic mining in the West. The Western Hardrock Watershed Team addresses environmental degradation and community impoverishment, providing rural mining communities with the skills and capacity they need to make their neighborhoods / watersheds better places to live and work. WHWT is run in partnership with the Office of Surface Mining, AmeriCorps VISTA and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.