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State Parks will be best prepared to address climate change with a talented and diverse natural resources workforce, equipped to lead the care of our landscapes. Historically, natural resources career paths have not been inclusive to all. Bringing diverse perspectives, lived experiences, and Indigenous knowledge into stewardship builds resilience and broader support for our parks.

As part of our Natural Resource Stewardship Career Pathways program, we invest in workforce development partnership models between State Park Districts and non-profits, community-based organizations, colleges, and Tribes. Each project provides both essential job training skills for communities that have been historically excluded from the State Parks workforce and adds resources to advance climate resilience projects.

The trainings not only prepare the next generation workforce with the necessary skills but also expands awareness about the diversity of careers in parks, connects participants to mentors and professional networks to support them in their career journey, and helps participants navigate state hiring processes.

Meet the 2023 Natural Resource Stewardship Career Pathways Grantees

Amah Mutsun Land Trust: AMLT Native Stewardship Corps

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps is a work training and cultural relearning program that reconnects Amah Mutsun Tribal Band members to their ancestral lands – physically, culturally, and spiritually — and provides a model for the constructive relationships that can exist between people and place, where active engagement with the land contributes to more diverse, resilient, and meaningful landscapes. The Native Stewardship Corps participants receive training, housing, meals, wages and additional support as they advance several resource conservation projects throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains and at the Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve within Año Nuevo State Park. This project specifically supports Native Stewards conducting plant propagation work in support of coastal prairie restoration.

Learn more here.

Crystal Cove Conservancy, Crystal Cove Natural Resource Summer Internship

Crystal Cove Conservancy (CCC) is partnering with California State Parks’ Orange Coast District (OCD) and UC Irvine’s Center for Environmental Biology (CEB) to expand an existing internship program by launching a new summer capstone project, where aspiring graduate and undergraduate students work directly with CCC and OCD staff on natural resource projects. The project creates six paid internship opportunities for students who aspire to work in natural resources to get on-the-ground experience, preparing them for future careers with State Parks. It connects with nontraditional students who might not normally qualify for the existing CEB internship including BIPOC individuals, first-generation college students, tribal youth, community college students, and other underrepresented groups.

Learn more here.

LA Conservation Corps: LA-Area State Parks Natural Resources Internships

The LA Conservation Corps’ (LACC) internship program at LA State Historic Park (LASHP) and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (BHSO) provides youth with paid work experience and on-the-job training for future jobs with family-sustaining wages and serves as the first step on green career pathways. This project funds three 12-week long internships, where Corpsmembers work directly with park staff to complete work projects including, but not limited to landscaping, building maintenance, irrigation systems, tree planting, etc.

Corpsmembers who participate in the internship can be hired as seasonal employees upon completion of the 12 weeks. The internship program fits within LACC’s wider Green Career Pathways framework of work, education, supportive services, and transition assistance to connect Corpsmembers with careers and college. This internship is critical to the Corpsmember experience because it allows Corps staff to continue to provide services as Corpsmembers move through their final phase with the program and gain additional job skills that can lead to career opportunities at California State Parks.

Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Plumas – Eureka State Park East Boundary Fuels Reduction Project

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment promotes healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource decision-making and programs. The P-CREW (Plumas, Conservation, Recreation, and Education in Watersheds) Program mission is to develop the next generation of natural resource stewards through paid work experience, field-based learning, personal growth, and professional engagement. This project seeks to restore ecological resilience to 40 acres of mixed-conifer forest at Plumas-Eureka State Park while introducing diverse groups of youth to forest management. In order to reduce barriers to participation, students are provided all the necessary gear, meals, and transportation required to succeed in the program.

Learn more here.

Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance: Pathways Home: A Tribal Natural Resource Program

Pathways Home: A Tribal Natural Resource Program in Clear Lake State Park (Pathways Home) is a career development program for intertribal participants from the Lake County area, the ancestral territory of Eastern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, Wappo, and Lake Miwok people who have inhabited and stewarded the land since time immemorial. Clear Lake State Park (CLSP) is the ancestral village home for the Eastern Pomo people of Big Valley. Through a partnership between the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Tribal EcoRestoration Alliance (TERA), an intertribal nonprofit based in Lake County dedicated to building capacity for Tribal members to steward their ancestral lands, the Pathways Home project will offer unique tribally oriented natural resource management career training to 20 Tribal participants in 2023 in support of Big Valley’s co-management agreement with CLSP.