Barnesville, Pennsylvania — Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier visited crew members today from Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Youth crew at Locust Lake State Park in Schuylkill County.
The PA Outdoor Corps is a flagship program within the DCNR, created under the administration of Governor Tom Wolf. More than 900 youth have completed the program, which provides opportunities for paid work experience, job training and environmental education to help corps members become effective stewards of our natural resources and productive citizens. The body is managed by DCNR and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and is supported by funding provided by L&I, as well as private philanthropic partners.
During Monday’s visit, members of the Hazelton Youth Crew set up new exercise stations along the park’s bike path.
“The work today, and the work these young people are doing this summer, will have a huge impact for many years to come,” Dunn said. “I hope the skills they learn through this incredible opportunity will shape conservationists and public servants for life, whether on the job or as volunteers. Many thanks to the DCNR and SCA staff who keep this incredible program running each year, and to our sister agencies who support its operations.
Established in 2016, the corps offers young people the opportunity to be part of a team and carry out conservation projects that protect, improve and restore public lands in Pennsylvania. It also teaches participants about public service and provides job skills and ethics to make them better employees.
“Outdoor Corps provides young workers with educational employment opportunities that allow them to learn lifelong skills and earn wages — while working to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources,” Berrier said. “L&I is proud to support Outdoor Corps’ efforts to nurture meaningful connections, promote conservation, and prepare young people for successful careers in a highly competitive job market.”
In 2016, the program started with just five youth teams. This year there are 24 crews across the Commonwealth:
- Fourteen 6-week youth teams (ages 15-18) based in: Erie; Greensburg; Harrisburg; Hazelton; Norristown; Pittsburgh (two teams: community and American Sign Language); While reading; Renovo; ridge path; Wellsboro; Wilkes-Barre; Williamsport; and York.
- Ten crews of 10-month-old young adults (ages 18–25) are based in Altoona; Harrisburg; Meadville; Pittsburgh; Sainte Marie; Wilkes Barre; Williamsport; and statewide natural resources, cultural resources, and trails teams.
This year, members of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps are working in more than 100 parks, forests and communities across the state on projects such as:
- Trail works
- Home improvement
- Improve park and forest assets such as buildings, drainage structures and landscaped areas
- Tree plantation
- Storm Damage Restoration
- Inventory of trees planted in the communities
PA Outdoor Corps Alumni have gained employment with conservation organizations, including DCNR, SCA, National Park Service, National Forest Service, and other conservation organizations, in part through experience with the body.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, visit the DCNR website.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Wesley Robinson, DCNR, 717-877-6315
Alex Peterson, Labor and Industry
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