Appalachian Conservation Corps:
Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) works to connect young people to critical conservation service work across Appalachia and neighboring communities in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. As a corps program, ACC partners with public land managers to identify, plan, and complete projects that improve public access, habitat quality, and economic development. ACC is a program of Conservation Legacy, a nationwide network of conservation service organizations. Our programs focus on service, place-based learning, life skills development, appreciation of diversity, civic responsibility, and career development. ACC also provides an opportunity for members to learn about the local environment and issues affecting it and introduces individuals to recreation and resource management careers. ACC welcomes national applicants, but also emphasizes the engagement of local individuals who represent the communities in which they serve.
Appalachian Conservation Corps staff crew leaders perform many roles and are the key to our program’s success. The position is multi-faceted and demanding but with opportunity for enormous rewards. Successful candidates will demonstrate resourcefulness, situational flexibility, effective communication skills, excellent judgement, maturity, initiative, professionalism, and the desire to devote themselves to a crew experience where the needs of others are placed above oneself. The crew leader position requires mentorship, patience, technical aptitude, focus on efficiency, and a high level of comfort in the outdoors. Crew leaders are ultimately responsible for successes and shortcomings of the crew.
This position will be joined by an AmeriCorps crew leader (ACL), an AmeriCorps leadership position focusing on the continued development of leadership skills. While this will be a collaborative relationship, the staff crew leader bears ultimate responsibility for member development, as well as high quality and high quantity project accomplishments for our partners.
Project Management & Implementation
Safety & Risk Management
Projects take place across the Appalachian Region, including work with the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, and other land managers. During their time in the field, leaders camp overnight and work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, performing heavy manual labor related to environmental conservation and restoration projects. These hands-on projects include visitor access improvements, trail construction and maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species treatments, historic restoration, disaster relief, and much more. Most projects require hiking out to remote work sites for the day with tools, equipment, and day pack.
Typically, crew leaders will meet at the ACC Office in Harrisonburg, VA, travel in a crew vehicle to their project site and remain in the field for 9 days at a time, followed by 5 days off. While in the field, crew leaders work 8-10 hours a day. The day starts with a stretch circle and safety meeting and includes two fifteen-minute breaks and a half hour break for lunch.
Once crew leaders are selected and prior to their start date, they are required to complete an online enrollment process that includes completing e-forms, uploading IDs, enrolling with AmeriCorps, and beginning their background check process. For those with limited access to online platforms, accommodations may be available and can be discussed during the interview process.
Crew leaders with ACC supervise a crew of 4-6 members and provide project expertise, mentorship, training, and support for the success of all participants. Food is provided while in the field. Crews work together to plan meals and complete all necessary chores (cooking, washing dishes, etc.). We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions. Camp chores will be completed every evening, with many evenings including group discussions on conservation topics.
ACC supports a culture of feedback and growth. Crew leaders will set goals at the beginning of the season and review their performance through both self-evaluation and a review with ACC Staff in the middle and at the end of their season. Evaluations will cover topic areas including Corps culture, leadership, service & experiential learning, risk management, professionalism, and technical skills. Crew leaders will also be asked to evaluate the program and their experience at the end of their term.
ACC is an independent, non-residential program. Participants are responsible for their own housing, food, and transportation when not in the field. Some equipment is available to borrow throughout the season, but crew leaders are asked to supply as much of their own personal outdoor gear (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, day pack, multi-day pack, work pants, hiking/work boots, etc.) as possible. A gear list is provided upon acceptance into the program. In addition to providing food while in the field, ACC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between ACC offices and project sites.
Crew leaders are asked to work hard, stay positive, and be flexible with changing schedules, weather conditions, and project needs. This is a seasonal position; leaders are asked to fully commit to the experience, expectations, and timeline.
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