Cultivating the next generation of conservation leaders…

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s mission to connect people to the outdoors is carried out through our Emerging Leaders Program, comprised of the NC Youth Conservation Corps, CTNC AmeriCorps, Diversity in Conservation Internship Program, and the Future Leaders of Conservation advisory board.

Our Emerging Leaders Program connects young people to the outdoors where they can establish a lifelong appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of the critical benefits that land and water conservation provides. These programs also connect young people to careers in conservation by creating pathways to academic studies, and paid positions within nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

Through our Emerging Leaders Program, we have hired nearly 400 young adults over the past 10 years into paid conservation positions and fostered nearly 20 young leaders into board service. CTNC and our partners are proud to cultivate and provide support to our future conservation leaders.

North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps [16-24 years old]

The North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC), a partnership between CTNC and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and personal responsibility. The NCYCC provides a paid summer job and a life-changing experience for youth. Crews of 8 to 10 young people work live and work outdoors under the close supervision of two highly-trained adult leaders on high-priority conservation projects for three or seven weeks. NCYCC crews expand public access and enjoyment of parks, trails, and other protected natural lands through projects, which include trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, building campground facilities, planting trees, and community garden work. Their work provides increased opportunities for North Carolina families to recreate in the great outdoors.

Diversity in Conservation Internship Program [Undergraduate, Recent Graduate, and Graduate Students]

Through the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program, CTNC and local land trusts, as well as conservation organizations, community groups, universities, and government agencies introduce promising students to careers in conservation and introduce conservation organizations to potential employees. Interns are placed with host organizations during the summer for full-time, 10-week, paid internships that provide hands-on opportunities to gain the skills and experience necessary for a successful career in conservation. The program aims to increase racial and ethnic diversity within conservation organizations and engagement with groups underrepresented in conservation careers. Preference is given to rising juniors, seniors, and graduate/professional students. Connecting more diverse applicants to employment pathways has led to greater equity and inclusion in conservation and environmental careers in North Carolina.

CTNC AmeriCorps [18+ years old]

The CTNC AmeriCorps Program is a 10-month national service program focused on environmental education and outreach. The program seeks to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation. AmeriCorps members develop service projects that help remove barriers to environmental education throughout North Carolina, as well as help expand the diversity of backgrounds among conservation leaders in the state. Members are placed with host organizations during their term of service and receive a living stipend, health insurance reimbursement, childcare assistance and monthly professional development opportunities. Participants who complete the program also receive an education award. CTNC’s AmeriCorps members have engaged more than 50,000 North Carolinians in environmental education and outreach and many have gone on to lead successful careers in a nonprofit organization or government agency.

Future Leaders of Conservation Advisory Board [21-35 Years Old]

The Future Leaders of Conservation (FLOC) advisory board is comprised of young adults across North Carolina brought together to assist CTNC’s mission to connect young adults and emerging leaders with conservation organizations, issues, and policies impacting our state. FLOC provides an opportunity for emerging leaders to influence the direction of conservation initiatives in the state, raise awareness about why conservation is important to the next generation of conservation professionals, give guidance on how to reach and engage a younger, more diverse audience, and plan events that connect people to the natural world. Board members are between the ages of 21 and 35, live in North Carolina, and come from a variety of geographic, racial, and professional backgrounds.