The Future of Conservation Earth Day Virtual Event

Infographic for The Future of Conservation Earth Day Event; detailed alternative text is on this webpage

Photo Courtesy of Student Conservation Association

Event Details

During National Park Week, join the virtual event, “The Future of Conservation: Engaging the Next Generation of Public Land Leaders,” on Earth Day, April 22 at 1:00pm ET. Co-hosted by the National Park Service Youth Programs Division in partnership with The Corps Network and the National Park Foundation, young leaders will share their passion and personal involvement with the conservation movement. Panelists will discuss the impacts and benefits service corps provide to national parks, participants, and local communities.

The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps plays a significant role in shaping the future. Learn more about the 21 CSC who are supporters and advocates of our public lands.

Follow the NPS Youth Programs Facebook page to watch the video recording. Scroll down to watch the video recording on the NPS YouTube channel.


Introduction and Moderator

  • Lucy Hurlbut, Digital Communications, Youth Programs Division, National Park Service


  • Lena McDowall, Deputy Director, Management and Administration, National Park Service
  • Will Shafroth, President & CEO, National Park Foundation
  • Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO, The Corps Network
  • George McDonald, Chief, Youth Programs and Experienced Services Program Division, National Park Service


  • Zarek Joe, Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps
  • Joseph Cordova, Groundwork USA/Groundwork Denver
  • Sadiqua Minor, Green City Force
  • Annina Wells, Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps

Q&A Session

Closing Remarks

Watch the Event Recording

Panelist discuss the future of conservation.
Moderator and panelists discussing the future of conservation from left to right: Lucy Hurlbut (NPS - Moderator), Zarek Joe (Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps), Joseph Cordova (Groundwork Denver), Sadiqua Minor (Green City Force), Annina Wells (Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps)

NPS Photo

In case you missed it, click here to read the event recap.

Have any questions? Please email us.

Additional Resources

Learn More About Our Participating Partners

National Park Service Youth Programs:

The Corps Network:

National Park Foundation:

Conservation Legacy:

Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps Program:

Groundwork Denver:

Green City Force:

Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps:

Panelist Bios

Photo of Zarek Joe (Conservation Legacy/Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps Program)
Zarek Joe from Conservation Legacy/Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps Program

Courtesy of Zarek Joe

Zarek Joe is from the Pueblos of Laguna and Acoma and has been a participant, member, and now crew leader of the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps (ALCC) since 2011. Zarek started with the program when he was 12 as a participant of the Acoma Hiking Club, which is a cultural revitalization and outdoor recreation project to reconnect our young people to the Pueblos’ ancestral homelands. Once Zarek was able to work, he became a member for ALCC’s Acoma Youth Conservation Corps at 14 and then the Acoma Farm Corps program and later worked as an adult crew member and leader with ALCC. In 2019, Zarek became a leader for the Acoma Hiking Club and ALCC Adult Crews. Zarek has an outstanding background in youth mentorship, outdoor recreation, historic preservation and traditional Pueblo agriculture.

Projects worked on with NPS ALCC include:
• Acoma Hiking Club – Chaco NHP, Aztec Ruins NM, El Malpais NM, El Morro NM, Bandelier NM
• Headlands Trail construction/reconstruction at El Morro National Monument.
Photo of Joseph Cordova (Groundwork Denver)
Joseph Cordova from Groundwork USA/Groundwork Denver

Courtesy of Joseph Cordova

Joseph was born and raised in Denver, CO and spent some time living in Mexico with his Abuela when he was younger. Joseph started working when he was 14 for a professional moving company to help support his family. As a senior in high school, he accepted an internship through Rocky Mountain Youth Conservation Corps, located at Rocky Mountain National Park as a member of the historical restoration and preservation team. That experience was the start of his passion with national parks and conservation work. Joseph credits Groundwork Denver for his certification as park Interpreter has visited and has worked in over 14 national parks and historic sites, including backpacking most of the Appalachian trail. Joseph has been working at Groundwork for the past five years and is currently the Director of Youth Programs.

Projects worked on with Groundwork Denver include:
Photo of Sadiqua Minor (Green City Force)
Sadiqua Minor from Green City Force

Courtesy of Sadiqua Minor

Sadiqua Minor, 28, joined Green City Force’s (GCF) Clean Energy Service Corps in 2016. She was a part of the Love Where You Live (LWYL) Service Initiative and served in Cohort 11. During her time as a LWYL corps member she conducted energy reduction auditing throughout NYCHA MAP sites. Educating tenants on energy efficiency practices and providing Eco kits. While also being responsible for data monitoring. Upon graduating the 6 month program Sadiqua was hired by GCF as an Empower NY intern, which led up to her now position, Empower Program Coordinator. Sadiqua is a passionate writer and occasionally takes her writing skills to GCF’s blog. Sadiqua hopes to be a journalist in the future where she can use her platform to further encourage others to be a part of the green economy.

Projects worked on with GCF include:
Photo of Annina Wells (ESCC)
Annina Wells from Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps

Courtesy of Annina Wells

In 2014, Annina began cultivating a deeper reciprocal relationship to the land and to their neighbors through their work as a community organizer and urban farmer/educator. From 2014-2017, Annina worked to facilitate food justice and sovereignty within the city; specifically, working with historically oppressed and marginalized community members to produce free, organic produce in the city’s many food deserts. Through Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps’ Women in the Wilderness program, Annina was introduced to ESCC. Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps was the perfect amalgamation of experiencing the beauty of living/working in a National Park and the joy of working towards a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. Annina joined ESCC in 2020, facilitating ESCC’s SEKI-CC program.

Project worked on with ESCC includes:

Last updated: April 24, 2022