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Southeast Conservation Corps

  • 2001 North Chamberlain Avenue, Chattanooga, TN
  • https://southeastconservationcorps.org/

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Summer Conservation Crew Member – 2024


min experience

salary range

$600 - $600 / week

Additional Job Details

International Applicants Allowed?
Work Visa Sponsoring Available

Job Overview

Job Description: Summer Conservation Crew Members 

Title: Summer Conservation Crew Member   

Crew Structure: 4 Crew members per crew.

Location: Based out of Chattanooga, TN, but will be camping and working on various locations across the southeast region.

Season Dates: June 4th - September 20th, 2024  

Status:Full-time, seasonal 450-hour AmeriCorps National Service position 

Compensation:$500/week living stipend and $100/week housing stipend, paid bi-weekly, including a $1,824.07 Segal Education Award upon program completion. 

Hitch Schedule:5 days on, 2 days off. Monday – Friday or  9 days on followed by five days off  Monday – Tuesday. Depending on proximity to the work site, crews either return to town each day or camp at the project site (we refer to this as a “hitch”) for its duration. While in the field, crew members work 8-10 hours daily. The day starts with a stretch circle and safety meeting, which includes two fifteen-minute breaks and a half-hour break for lunch each day. 

Benefits: Public Land Corps Hiring Authority Certificate (upon successful completion of hours), Food & transportation provided while in the field overnight, uniform shirts, personal protective equipment, developmental opportunities as available, possible student loan forbearance, Member Assistance Program – (3 free sessions of support with a counseling or work-life balance specialist) on-the-job training, depending upon the academic institution and program, crew member positions may fulfill internship requirements and exposure to natural resource career paths. 

Southeast Conservation Corps  

Engaging future leaders who protect, restore, and enhance our nation’s lands through community-based service. 

Southeast Conservation Corps (SECC), a program of Conservation Legacy, is a non-profit, AmeriCorps-affiliated organization. SECC selects young adults, ages 18-30, to complete conservation work projects on public lands throughout the Southeast. SECC programs encourage environmental stewardship, foster community partnerships, and emphasize experiential learning. SECC serves a diverse population representative of the Southeast, including youth, graduates, veterans, and a cross-section of ethnicities and income levels. SECC is also an active member of the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team (A-DRT), and as such, selected crews may be deployed on Disaster response projects for up to 30 days.  SECC works with various land management agencies in Tennessee and the Southeast region, such as the United States Forest Service, National Park Service, State Parks, and conservation-based non-profits. Projects vary but include trail construction and maintenance, ecosystem restoration, habitat restoration, fire fuel reduction, public land fencing, invasive weed removal, herbicide applications, and many others. The project work is manual labor based, and most projects require a hike into and out of the project site daily carrying tools and a day pack.     Crews work in front-country and back-country locations in all types of weather conditions. Schedules may vary, but generally are 9 days on and 5 days off for camping crews. Workdays are 10-hour shifts with scheduled breaks throughout the day. Depending on project work and location, other schedule variations may be implemented. While the staff at SECC works to provide consistency throughout the season, personal flexibility is expected. It should be prepared for when entering the term, as schedules, times, and work locations are subject to change per project needs.      

SECC is an independent, non-residential program. Members are responsible for finding and attaining their housing when outside the field. On-hitch crews prepare all their meals and work together to complete all necessary chores. Community/camp chores will be completed every evening, with many evenings including group discussions, conservation, and corps-related topics. The members must supply their outdoor gear and equipment, such as a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, day pack, multi-day pack, work pants, hiking/work boots, etc. SECC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between SECC’s office and project sites.    

Position Summary:  

Summer Conservation Crew MemberThe conservation crew member position is an entry-level role. Crew members are supported on various 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 necessary. We ask that crew members embrace learning opportunities, face challenges, and  build  community  with  their crew. Crews will complete various conservation and community projects within the greater southeast region.   

Project Work: Projects take place across the Southeast 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 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 more. Most projects require hiking out to remote work sites for the day with tools, equipment, and a day pack.  

Crew Life:  Conservation crew members with SECC serve on a crew with 4-6 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.  

SECC supports a culture of feedback and growth. Crew members set goals at the beginning of the season and review their performance through self-evaluation and a review with their crew leader in the middle and end of the season. Evaluations will cover 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.  

Orientation Week, June 3rd – 7th: Crew members will learn general trail maintenance practices, best practices for tools, and general conservation techniques. Housing and food will be provided during orientation.  

First Hitch: June 10th

Goals of this Crew: The summer conservation crew’s goals support our overarching mission to embrace young adults to cultivate compassion, responsibility, and grit through land stewardship. This summer’s projects will center around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Bartram Trail Conservancy. Goals will be centered around general trail maintenance and preservation along the Ramsey Cascades Trail and Bartram Trail.  

Expectations: SECC is an independent, non-residential program. Crew members are responsible for their housing, food, and transportation when outside the field unless otherwise specified.  Some equipment is available to borrow throughout the season, but Crew Members are asked to supply as much of their gear as possible. A gear list is provided upon acceptance into the program; in addition to providing food while in the field, SECC will provide group camp equipment, tools, protective gear, and transportation between Chattanooga 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 asked to fully commit to the experience, expectations, and timeline. 

 Minimum Qualifications:      

  • Must be between ages 18 and 30 and up to 35 if a military veteran.  
  • Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident and provide primary documentation to support this.   
  • Must be cleared through an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry, as well as state and federal Criminal History Checks   
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED or agree to work toward attaining either during the term of service (this is essential to obtaining and using the AmeriCorps Education Award).   

Preferred Qualifications:   

  • A general comfort and previous knowledge of working/living in an outdoor setting.   
  • Must have a high school diploma, GED, or agree to work toward attaining either during the term of service (this is essential to obtaining and using the AmeriCorps Education Award)   

General Qualifications:   

  • AmeriCorps members must be able to pass a criminal background check.   
  • Professionalism:Members must be willing to follow and enforce all SECC policies, maintain professional boundaries, communicate effectively with partners, crew leaders, members, peers, and SECC staff, and appropriately represent Southeast Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps. (This includes creating a substance-free work environment and refraining from the use of tobacco products, alcohol, and drugs while on “hitch”)  
  • Adaptability: Projects are uncertain and will include variable living conditions and last-minute changes. Members must be adaptive, patient, and able to maintain a positive perspective throughout changes.  
  • Community Building:A strong desire to help others grow as individuals while building cohesiveness in a group setting. Members must be willing to work hard, listen and respect others’ viewpoints, embrace diversity, be committed to equity, and be inclusive of differing backgrounds.  
  • Environmental Stewardship: Members must genuinely enjoy and desire to care for the land while living and working outdoors in various conditions. 
  • Fitness: SECC projects are physically demanding! 8 to 10-hour long workdays consist of hiking, backpacking, heavy lifting, and repetitive motions using tools. Projects often occur in variable weather conditions: hot, cold, rain, snow, etc.   
  • Conservation:Experience or a desire to learn the technical skills needed to maintain public lands effectively and meaningfully.    
  • Citizenship: Members must provide primary documentation of status as a U.S. citizen or National OR primary documentation of status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States. 

Essential Functions:    

  • Enforce all SECC policies. SECC is a substance-free work environment. Participants must refrain from using tobacco products, vaping, alcohol, and drugs while in the program.  

Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements : 

Essential eligibility requirements for the program must be met. Suppose you are unable to meet specific requirements. In that case, we may be able to assist you with some modification unless it alters the fundamental nature of the program, compromises the health and safety of participants or staff, or places an undue financial or administrative burden on the organization. These requirements are the same for all positions and may not apply directly to your particular position.   

Participation and Expedition Behavior:   

  • Work effectively as a team member despite potentially stressful and challenging conditions. This may require problem-solving on an interpersonal or group level and a willingness to accept differences.   
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment; no harassment of others will be tolerated for any reason.  
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program, including conservation projects, education, training, and national service.  Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable.   
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.   
  • Ability to learn necessary skills and apply them effectively to carry out the service work requirements.   
  • Appropriately always represent SECC and AmeriCorps to the public and project partners.   

Safety and Judgment :  

  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury, or need for assistance. You must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise, such as darkness or high winds.   
  • Effectively perceive, understand, and follow directions from others so that you can successfully execute appropriate and perhaps unfamiliar techniques to manage hazards. These directions may be given before the hazard is encountered or must be given during exposure to the risk.   
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours while traveling and working in varied weather conditions.   
  • Perceive and comprehend significant and apparent hazards, including those previously identified by others.   
  • Respond appropriately to stress or crises.   
  • If taking prescription medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from others. 

Environmental Ethics and Outdoor Skills:

  • Learn and practice ‘Leave No Trace’ techniques.    
  • Learn and safely perform fundamental outdoor living/travel and work skills appropriate to the project.   
  • Stay hydrated, fed, and appropriately dressed to remain healthy and safe and avoid environmental injuries.     
  • Live in a physically demanding, possibly remote environment for an uninterrupted period of up to several weeks. Conditions of this environment may vary significantly and may include severe weather. Some remote locations may require a minimum of one hour, but perhaps more than 12 hours, to reach the nearest advanced medical care.     

Substance Free:   

In accordance with a drug-free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property. 


Once Crew Members are selected and before their start date, they must complete an online enrollment process, including 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.  

Equal Employment Opportunity: 

This program is available to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, marital or parental status, genetic information, and military service. Where a significant portion of the population eligible to be served needs services or information in a language other than English, the recipient shall take reasonable steps to provide written material of the type ordinarily available to the public in appropriate languages. 

Questions? Contact Ray Wilson at [email protected] 

**To be considered, you must upload a resume in addition to your application** 

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