Teaming Up to Engage the Next Generation of Stewards

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and Conservation Trust for North Carolina are bringing youth crews to the Highlands District for trail and campground rehab.

Imagine working with newfound friends to rehabilitate and build trails by day and bond over a common goal under the stars at night. Sounds pretty great, right? That’s what a crew of teenagers and young adults will do this summer in the Highlands District of the Blue Ridge Parkway thanks to funding from their Community of Stewards. The BRP Foundation is partnering with the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) to support a crew with the group’s North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps, allowing Parkway campgrounds and trails to realize improvements while young men and women learn about the wilderness and themselves.

The seven-week sessions combine the lessons of environmental stewardship, job and life skills, leadership, community service, and responsibility. Working under the supervision of leaders, the teams of 16- to 24-year-olds from across the state and a variety of backgrounds build a connection with nature and each other. “It’s a very transformative experience,” explains Jan Pender, NC Youth Conservation Corps director with CTNC. “They learn about conservation, but they also learn a sense of place. They get a sense of what it means to care for the natural world.”

The project furthers the Foundation’s goal to engage the next generation of stewards to champion the needs of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To learn more about the program, visit North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps.


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