Summer Conservation Crew

Conserve School is partnering with organizations that work with young adults to offer a meaningful service learning opportunity this summer. Conservation crews will experience Conserve School's campus as they stay in the dorms and engage in fun recreational activities. The goals of this program are:

  • To reduce and/or eliminate terrestrial invasive species from areas in the Northwoods.
  • To introduce young adults (rising 9th and 10th graders) to the possibility of attending a Conserve School semester.

Service Learning Opportunity

Terrestrial invasive species, specifically European marsh thistle, Japanese barberry and garlic mustard, have the potential to change the landscape and ecosystems of the Northwoods. The Conservation Crew will learn about the threat and spend time in the field working alongside Conserve School staff, Forest Service employees, local volunteers, and representatives from the Wisconsin Headwaters Invasives Project (WHIP). The crew will work in the Ottawa National Forest and on the Conserve School campus.

Crewmembers will learn about the Sylvania Wilderness Area as they canoe, row and hike to the backcountry work sites.

Crews may also assist with other special service projects on the Conserve School campus.

Crews arrive after lunch on Monday and stay for three or four nights.

Support for Partner Organizations

Conserve School will provide the following support for its partner organizations:

  • Food and Lodging during the duration of the experience
  • Education and training about the area, the tools and the invasive work
  • Staff to lead conservation work and recreational activities
  • Equipment – packs, gloves, boats, hand tools, vans
  • $2,500 stipend to the organization to help cover expenses

Support from Partner Organizations

Conserve School requests the following from its partner organizations:

  • A group of 7 to 9 individuals who include:
    • At least one adult chaperone to provide supervision of young adult participants in the evening and to participate in the work crew.
    • A minimum of four participants who will be in 9th or 10th grade the following year, preferably including some for whom a future Conserve School semester might be appealing.
  • Assurance that all members of the group will adhere to Conserve School’s prohibitions on tobacco, drugs and alcohol.
  • Responsibility for the transportation of the group to and from Conserve School.
  • Permission to use photographs of participants to promote this program, Conserve School, and in grant applications for future work of this type
  • The group may bring additional adult chaperones who do not need to participate in the fieldwork.

NOTE: The summer of 2018 is the inaugural year of this program so Conserve School is also hoping for partners who will be understanding of any unforeseen new program issues.

Characteristics of preferred Partner Organizations

While Conserve School will consider applications from any organization that is willing to provide the support required, successful applications will have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Works with youth that have a strong interest in the environment.
  • Works to promote equity, inclusion and diversity in outdoor education.
  • Works with youth who might not otherwise be able to afford an experience like this.
  • Works with youth from backgrounds underrepresented in occupations related to the environment and/or outdoor education.
  • Works with youth that meet Conserve School’s admissions standards.
  • The organization is not for profit.

Dates Available

Funding is available for up to six crews with no more than two crews per week. The following weeks are available.

  • Week of June 18: Three or four night option – June 18-21 or June 18-22
  • Week of June 25: Three or four night option – June 25-28 or June 25-29
  • Week of July 9: Three night option – July 9-12

Application Process

Interested organizations complete the Summer Conservation Crew application form. Conserve School will then reach out to the group to collect additional information and to determine if the group is a good fit.

  • Group applications accepted on a rolling basis through May 24.
  • Resources are only available for six groups in the summer of 2018.
  • Groups notified of acceptance within two weeks of completed application.

Sample Schedule

Arrival Day

  • Arrival early Monday afternoon
  • Orientation to campus
  • Dinner
  • Overview of Week
  • Evening Activities

Work Day 1: Public Recreation Area Work

  • Hearty Breakfast
  • Morning
  • Travel to U.S. Forest Sylvania Entrance area
  • Training on terrestrial invasive species identification and removal
  • Group work in Entrance Area
  • Picnic Lunch at public beach – possible opportunity for wading/swimming
  • Afternoon
  • Continue work in Entrance Area
  • Dinner
  • Evening Activities

Work Days 2 (& 3): Backcountry Work

  • Hearty Breakfast
  • Morning
  • Hike, row or Canoe to back country sites in the Sylvania Wilderness Area
  • Canoe training (if applicable)
  • Group work in back country areas
  • Picnic Lunch in the Sylvania Wilderness
  • Afternoon
  • Continue work in Wilderness Area
  • Possible opportunity for wading/swimming/fishing
  • Dinner
  • Evening Activities

Departure Day

  • Hearty Breakfast
  • Review of Week – Thank You and Goodbye activity
  • Lunch
  • Depart for home

Need more information?

If you would like to speak to someone regarding this program, please email Conserve School's Head of School, Stefan Anderson. Please feel free to include any questions you have and preferred times when you can be contacted.