Working Iowa: Conservation Corps aims to restore resources & change lives

Removing invasive species, trail work, and prescribed fire, those are just some of the jobs crew members of Conservation Corps experience.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 8:33 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Hope Evans started working with Conservation Corps in February. She’s part of the Linn County dedicated crew, which includes working at Wanatee Park in Marion.

“My crew lead is constantly teaching us native plants, a lot of training and just basically for the experience. In life you get opportunities, and I say always take them,” she said.

Crew positions are available in Minnesota and Iowa - including Waterloo and Linn County. Aaron Demory led the Linn County crew last year. He enjoyed it so much - he came back this year to be the Eastern Iowa Field Coordinator.

“I didn’t really ever think about this line of work when I was younger, but now that I’ve gotten into it, I’ve come to love it,” said Demory.

He hopes a summer spent in nature while earning certifications and licenses along the way - can inspire others to be in this field of work.

“If you do want to pursue it long term, you come out with all these certifications, and you get a lot of good field experience and training, and then if you don’t want to go into the field, you were able to come out and help the environment.”

The Conservation Corps motto is Restoring Resources. Changing Lives. Demory says he experienced that first-hand helping to plant trees in Wanatee Park after the 2020 derecho.

“Last year, we came through and planted about 775 trees to try to get that to come back, so that is a big one to see after a natural disaster,” said Demory.

The Conservation Corps is open to people age 15 to 35. You receive a living stipend *and an education award at the completion of your term, which goes toward your choice of schooling. Hope Evans says she’s gained communication and leadership skills throughout her experience.

“You meet friends, so it’s not just you benefitting the environment you’re also benefitting yourself I feel like to help you grow,” said Hope Evans.

Evans is hoping to continue a career in natural resources, but she encourages anyone who isn’t sure what’s next to try Conservation Corps.

“Joining the corps will open your eyes because you can be into cutting trees, water conversation, there’s a whole variety so it can really open your eyes to a whole bunch of jobs.”

Click HERE to join the corps.