State Parks will only be 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 critical climate resilience projects.
For this first round of funding, we looked for proposals that addressed the following criteria:
- Provide job training skills, mentorship, and/or career exposure in the natural resources field
- Provide programming to participants from traditionally underrepresented communities
- Currently collaborate with California State Parks for natural resources training/workforce development program implementation
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 2021-2022 Natural Resource Stewardship Career Pathways Grantees
Literacy for Environmental Justice, Eco-Apprenticeship Program
Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) promotes ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in SE San Francisco that directly engage and support local residents in securing a healthier future. LEJ manages a native plant nursery and conducts habitat restoration projects throughout the Candlestick State Recreation Area. The Eco-Apprentices program is a paid workforce development internship serving up to 12 youth ages 18-25 each year. Most participants are people of color, many of whom are from the low-income neighborhoods of Southeast San Francisco. Youth work up to 35 hours per week attaining environmental education, green job, leadership, and team-building skills.
Amah Mutsun Land Trust, AMLT Native Stewardship Corps
The Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) Native Stewardship Corps is a work training and cultural relearning program for members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps serves as a contract crew on a number of resource conservation projects throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains and beyond, including a long-term fuel reduction and coastal prairie restoration project within Año Nuevo State Park. This project supports 9 to 11 participants to receive training, housing, meals, wages, employee benefits, and travel reimbursements to work on wildfire resilience projects in the state park.
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Career Pathway Partnership: Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods is partnering with the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps to support summer youth crews to support fire recovery priorities within Armstrong Redwoods State Nature Reserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area. The program provides youth and young adults 18-24 years of age with paid work experience, training, the opportunity to explore careers and develop work-readiness skills. Approximately 70% of those employed are at-risk youth including those enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, those receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Services for Transitional Age Youth (STAY), and current or former foster youth.
P-CREW (Plumas Conservation, Restoration, and Education in Watersheds), Plumas-Eureka State Park East Boundary Fuels Reduction Project
The Sierra Institute 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 Program mission is to develop the next generation of natural resource stewards through 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. Students are provided all the necessary gear they will need to thrive, wages, meals, and transportation to the worksites.
Crystal Cove Conservancy, Crystal Cove Natural Resource Summer Capstone 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.
Student Conservation Association, Wildland Fuels and Ecological Restoration in the Sinkyone Wilderness
Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a national youth conservation service organization, providing young people with opportunities to serve nature and to shape their futures. SCA will support a team of four young adults who will spend six weeks receiving training and implementing a dune restoration project in Tolowa Dunes State Park. SCA expands representation and participation of under-represented populations in natural resource work. Every team member is provided with free housing and meals; a reasonable Living Allowance, and a Travel Allowance to help address barriers to accessing stewardship careers.