Native Conservation Corps

A young Native woman stands outside, dressed in khaki outdoor gear.
One of the first (2011) Native Conservation Corps members at Petrified Forest National Park


Native Conservation Corps and the National Park Service

The Native Conservation Corps program is designed to mutually benefit participating Native American students, their local communities, and National Parks. Native American students will explore career and life experiences while engaging in conservation work.
By participating in the operation of a national park, students will help people in their local communities understand the national park system so that the community as a whole can use and appreciate park resources. As a result of this partnership, national parks further pursue their mission by building young and dynamic human resources while gaining support from local communities.
The ultimate goal is to create harmony with our larger community and with the environment.

The Corps Member Experience

Participating students live for a short time in national parks ranging from Petrified Forest National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Muir Woods National Monument, Olympic National Park, and other nearby parks, such as Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon, to learn from and assist park rangers, scientists, engineers, and administrators of the National Park Service.

A group of Native American youth stand on a brushy hillside with the San Francisco Bay Bridge in the distance.
Native Conservation Corps participants from the Hopi Nation working in the San Francisco Bay area.


Participants also have opportunities to act as ambassadors of their Native American communities/tribes as they interact with park visitors. Participants will camp and work in a group to develop teamwork, resourcefulness, and creativity.

The Native Conservation Corps program provides on the job training, supervision, guidance, transportation to and from the nearest large town, camping facilities and equipment, uniforms, and groceries to prepare meals. The students work 40 hours per week and earn a stipend.

As a part of the Native Conservation Corps program, the student participants will share new perspectives and park experiences with their local community, becoming ambassadors for the National Park Service.

With assistance from park personnel, Native Conservation Corps enrollees will reach out to their communities by giving presentations about their experiences to various audiences such as their high school, local elementary schools, chapter houses, and community events.

Facing interesting challenges in new surroundings, the Native Conservation Corps members return to their homes with a renewed sense of pride.

The program increases cooperation between Native American communities and the National Park Service, a partnership that is necessary for maintaining balance in the environment and harmony in communities.

A group of Native American youth interns hold National Park emblems and pose in front of a qiant sequoia.
Native Conservation Corps participants with program founders at Muir Woods National Monument


Apply for the Native Conservation Corps!

To be eligible for participation in the program, you must:

  • Be a part of a Native American community (reservation, pueblo, or rancheria)
  • Be willing to live and learn away from home during the length of the program
  • Be willing to share your culture and heritage with others

Contact Us:

Sarah Herve
Todd Hisaichi
Lonnie Pilkington

Read a press release about the launch of the Native Conservation Corps at Petrified Forest National Park in 2011 and learn about the ongoing Native Conservation Corps program at Petrified Forest National Park.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Olympic National Park, Petrified Forest National Park more »

Last updated: May 16, 2022