Title: New River Gorge Conservation Crew Member
Location: Based out of Beckley, WV
Start Date: September 4th, 2023
End Date: November 14th, 2023
Status: This is a full-time, seasonal 450-hour AmeriCorps National Service position.
Compensation: $600/week living stipend, AmeriCorps Education Award on completion
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.
The Conservation crew member position is an entry-level role. Crew members are supported on a variety of levels, by their crew leaders, program staff, project partners, and Conservation Legacy staff. While prior experience with the outdoors or outdoor work can be helpful, it is not a necessity for this position. We ask that crew members embrace learning opportunities, face challenges, and build community with their crew.
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, crew members 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 members will meet at the ACC Office in Beckley, travel in a crew vehicle to their project site and remain in the field for 4 days at a time, followed by 3 days off. While in the field, crew members 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.
Prior to their start date, selected crew members must begin their background check process and complete an online enrollment process which includes completing e-forms, uploading IDs, and enrolling with AmeriCorps. For those with limited access to online platforms, accommodations may be available and can be discussed during the interview process.
Conservation crew members with ACC serve on a crew with 4 other crew members and 2 crew leaders who 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.). Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if known ahead of time. Many evenings include group discussions on conservation topics.
ACC supports a culture of feedback and growth. Crew members will set goals at the beginning of the season and review their performance through both self-evaluation and a review with their crew leader in the middle and at the end of their season. Evaluations will cover areas such as professionalism, responsibility and leadership, communication, engagement, productivity, safety, and equipment use. Crew members will also be asked to evaluate their crew leaders’ performance, the overall program, and their experience at the end of their term.
ACC is an independent, non-residential program. Crew Members are responsible for their own housing, food, and transportation when not in the field. While members will be asked to supply as much of their personal equipment as possible, loaner gear will be available if needed, especially for more expensive items such as tents and sleeping bags. A gear list is provided upon acceptance into the program. Please ask immediately if there is loaner gear you require. 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 members are asked to work hard, stay positive, and be flexible with changing schedules, weather conditions, and project needs. This is a seasonal position; Crew Members are expected to fully commit to the experience, expectations, and timeline.
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