Thanks to a generous grant by the National Park Foundation’s “America’s Best Idea” grant program, the Native Conservation Corps enjoyed a second year of success.
The Native Conservation Corps (NCC) is a paid internship program designed to build bridges between Native American youth, their communities and the national parks. Participants in the program learn about park resources and careers in conservation fields.
High school seniors from Hopi, Zuni, and the Navajo reservation participated in an expanded program this year, which included work at Petrified Forest National Park (the home park for NCC), Grand Canyon National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge. During the four-week program, NCC participants lived and worked in the parks and engaged in archaeological, paleontological and biological field work, interpretive programming, law enforcement ride-alongs and native vegetation planting and seed collection.
The 2012 NCC group had a deep understanding of the program’s mission and they took on their assignments with enthusiasm as they worked harmoniously with each other and National Park Service staff members. The group had a perfect safety record the entire four weeks and took home many wonderful memories to share with their communities.
Since the program’s launch in 2011, NCC has grown to include new partnerships with multiple parks and government agencies, multi-tribal participation and active involvement with local schools. Two participants from the 2011 program were rehired, one as a National Park Service Park guide and the other as the leader of the 2012 NCC crew.
The Native Conservation Corps project is in direct alignment with the National Park Service’s “Call to Action” in that it engages diverse communities, provides educational experiences, helps in the preservation of natural and cultural resources and contributes to a diverse workforce. The Native Conservation Corps has been so successful that it has generated interest from a variety of other parks in the southwest and plans are already in the making for year three of Native Conservation Corps.