ELY—This summer the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Ely Ranger District employed a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew for 90 days. YCC is a summer youth employment program that engages young people, ages 15 to 18, in meaningful work experiences on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries.“YYC crew members Tanner Bohrn, Dakota Campbell, Katie Nicholes, and team leader Schon Kirkland have done an exceptional job this year,” said District Ranger Jose Noriega. “They went above and beyond what we asked of them and demonstrated real leadership and drive in the work they accomplished.
They installed 18,000 sage grouse fence markers over the entire summer and installed over 4,000 fence markers in just one day.”
“We are all comfortable with each other. We are all friends and enjoy working together that just lends itself to getting stuff done,” said crew member Tanner Bohrn.“We take a lot of pride in what we do,” added team lead Schon Kirkland. “Producing quality work is important to us, no matter the task.”
The YCC experience allows three teens and one team leader the opportunity to work and learn alongside federal employees, in a wide range of natural and environmental projects. For the Ely Ranger District’s YCC program, candidates are recruited from the local White Pine High School.
Crew members attained unique skills such as map and compass orienteering, first aid, fence construction, leadership, proper tool usage, plant identification, and maintenance skills.“The program is challenging, educational, and fun. It offers participants opportunities to expand their horizons while building skills and work ethic that will benefit them for a lifetime,” explained Noriega.
“No previous land management experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, get along well with others, and maintain a positive attitude are essential for success.”
“I applied because it sounded fun,” said Bohrn. “After this summer, I am now interested in a career with the U.S. Forest Service. I could see myself doing this.”Some of the crew’s summer work projects included: Installing fence markers on fences within sage grouse habitats; building pipe rail exclosures, removing old defunct fencing that was hazardous for wildlife traveling through the area; maintaining enclosure fences; utilizing hand saws to remove pinyon-juniper encroachment in sage grouse and mule deer habitats; using slash, rock, and seeding to rehabilitate and close unauthorized roads; and planting riparian vegetation for watershed restoration projects.
They also assisted with maintenance of facilities and recreation sites.“My favorite part of the summer was constructing the Deer Spring fence,” said crew member Dakota Campbell. “It was a lot of hard work, but I was proud to see what we could accomplish.”“I really enjoyed going out to look at different archeology sites,” added Bohrn.
“I got to see some of the oldest petroglyphs in Nevada. They are right next to where I grew up and I did not even know they were there.”
The Youth Conservation Corps program was established in 1974 to help young people gain an understanding of and appreciation for the nation’s environment and heritage, and thereby further the development and maintenance of the natural resources by America’s youth.
YCC provides teenagers gainful employment, while they learn land management and work ethic skills.“I started my own career as a YCC crew member,” added Noriega proudly. “It is great to come full circle and facilitate some of our local youth taking those first steps in what could be a promising career in land management.”
For more information about YYC and the Forest Service visit: https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/opportunities-for-young-people/youth-conservation-corps-opportunities.