Forest Stewards Youth Corps - History

Read our 2016 Case Statement about the program.

2016 Conservation Project Summary:

Range Resources:

  • Fence: 21 miles of fence built or improved
  • Spring: 1 improved
  • Noxious weeds: 76 acres of noxious weeds removed

Wildlife Resources:

  • .34 miles of fence now wildlife friendly
  • protected .5 acre of endangered species habitat with a fence

Forestry / Fire:

  • prepped and marked boundaries for 10,500 acres of forestry treatments
  • collected data at 20 plots
  • cleared 4.5 miles of fire line for prescribed burns
  • removed noxious trees (Russian olive) across 48 acres

Watershed / Archaeology:

  • helped build gabion wall to stabilize stream banks,
  • built storm-water structures in campground,
  • improved 4 miles of fence to protect cultural sites,
  • protected cultural site by removing modern garbage dumped above it

Recreation / Interpretation:

  • Trails: 27.3 miles
  • Sites: 7 recreation sites improved
  • Signage: 29 signs installed
  • Grills/tables: 6 grills and 12 tables improved


  • 2 administrative sites improved
  • 1 well improved
  • 1 cattle guard improved
  • 1 CCC building improved with leadership from a historic preservation crew.

Hours Worked: 16,945
Rural Communities Supported: 6
Training Hours: 1,274

College Credits: 92

Thanks to everyone who supported Evening in the Pines on June 2nd to celebrate the YCC Program and the work of Orlando Romero.

The program has received some excellent press in 2016. Access it here:

Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network - Blog
National Forest Foundation
Albuquerque Journal

Forest Stewards Guild Youth Conservation Corps
Many employers say it is difficult to find experienced local help, particularly in natural resource management. In response, the Forest Stewards Guild sponsors a youth corps program in New Mexico each summer to train local youth in forestry work. The Forest Stewards Guild Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) works in partnership with national forests in New Mexico.

The mission of this youth program is to provide career training in natural resources for 16-25 year olds from areas of the state that have few employment opportunities. Through training from the Guild and working on the ground, crew members learn about forest management, fire ecology, watershed health, and wildlife ecology. Some crew members have gone on to pursue college degrees in natural resource management.

Access a program report from 2009 - 2014.

View a program poster.

This program would not exist without annual grant support from the New Mexico Youth Conservation Commission. This non-federal funding is then leveraged by the Forest Stewards Guild. Along with Region 3 support, we have received consistent funding from the National Forest Foundation’s Matching Awards Program, enabling additional crew members to be hired. We have also received consistent funding from the McCune Charitable Trust to support a variety of administrative costs. In addition to these critical funding elements, we work to raise funds from other private foundations. 

The Forest Stewards Guild youth program occurs exclusively in New Mexico on National Forests. The Ranger Districts and Forests that have supported YCC crews have changed slightly over the years; however the Carson, Cibola, and Santa Fe National Forests have been mainstays of the program. The Cuba, El Rito, Jemez, Las Vegas/Pecos, Mountainair, and Mt. Taylor districts have been committed for many years.

Forest Stewards Guild YCC – by the numbers

From 2009 to 2014, the YCC program has accomplished a great deal of on-the-ground work:

• Noxious weed removal = 1206 acres

• Fence built or repaired = 120 miles

• Trail built or maintained = 69 miles

• Fire line created or rehabilitated = 26 miles

• Hazardous fuels removed or chipped = 892 acres

• Facilities improved = 128

• Riparian and watershed restoration = 316 acres

• Wildlife related improvements = 47

• Timber marked for treatments = 2845 acres

In addition to tremendous on-the-ground restoration and conservation, an amazing amount of training, education, and mentorship occurred. District staff contribute with ongoing education and training typically totaling over 2000 hours of education and training each season.

Since its inception in 1999, the Forest Stewards Guild youth conservation corps (YCC) program has employed over 500 youth, achieved 200,000 hours of conservation service and education, awarded over 200 hours of college credit, and invested over $3 million in rural New Mexico communities. Corps members have gone on to build successful careers in natural resource management and become strong leaders in their communities.

For more information on the Guild’s YCC program, please contact the Forest Stewards Guild at 505-983-8992 extension 16 or by email:

Environmental Education Curriculum
Click here to download a new environmental education curriculum focused on forest ecology and climate change. It was developed with input from a Forest Stewards Guild YCC crew.