The goal of the Leadership Development Program (LDP) is to provide participants with a variety of training focused on technical skills as well as interpersonal skills through peer leadership activities to prepare members for leadership roles within the conservation corps setting. Upon completion of the Leadership Development Program, members are encouraged to apply for leadership positions.
Placement in a leadership position is not guaranteed, and will be based upon qualifications, performance, work ethic, and ability.
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 Harrisonburg, travel in a crew vehicle to their project site and remain in the field for 9-10 days at a time, followed by 4-5 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 4-6 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. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated if known ahead of time. Camp chores will be completed every evening, with many evenings focusing on ACC’s Leadership Development curriculum, including discussions, readings, and activities to build leadership skills throughout the season. During the season, each member will serve as “Leader of the Hitch” as part of their leadership training, an opportunity to interact with project partners, create a work plan for the crew, and direct the crew on their daily tasks. Crew Leaders will support and provide feedback during this time.
Be between the ages of 18 and 30 (exception for Veterans up to age 35)
Have US Citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency status
Have a high school diploma or GED
Pass background checks: all offers of positions are conditional upon completion of an acceptable check of the National Sex Offender Public Registry and Federal and/or State criminal background check
Fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (Federal partner requirement)
Must be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award
About Appalachian Conservation Corps
Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) is a non-profit, AmeriCorps-affiliated organization, whose mission is to connect young adults to meaningful conservation service. ACC engages motivated young adults to complete challenging and impactful conservation and service projects throughout the region by working with a variety of land management agencies such as the United States Forest Service, National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy. Interns and Crews complete technical and/or specialized projects depending on project partner needs, including disaster relief if the opportunity arises.
Our programs focus on 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, environmental issues and introduces individuals to recreation and resource management careers. When not in the field, members are expected to find their own housing.