Summer Program

Conservation is an important part of our Legacy.

Youth Conservation Corps began as a program that offered environmental education through hands-on conservation work to youth in Lake County. Even though we’ve evolved as an organization, we haven’t forgotten our roots.

Youth Conservation Corps’ Summer Conservation Program provides an opportunity to gain valuable conservation and forestry education and hands-on experience for high school and college students interested in preserving Lake County’s wetlands, prairies and woodlands. It’s a great first step into a career in conservation, forestry management, and environmental sciences.

In this paid internship, each young person receives:

  • 8 weeks of paid full-time employment Monday through Friday (8-hour days)
  •  Hands-on experience and education in conservation, environmental management and preservation
  • Training on light construction techniques for trails bridges or boardwalks
  • Valuable teamwork, leadership, communication and life experience
  • $1,200+ Education Award upon completion of program

Our Summer Program members improve the Lake County forest preserves:

  • Improving trails
  • Stabilizing soil surrounding waterways
  • Building boardwalks
  • Installing split-rail fences throughout forest preserves
  • Removing invasive species and replacing them with plants that are native to the area.


“Youth Conservation Corps’ Summer Program made me realize that I love doing conservation work and working outside. So I changed my major to forestry and wildlife conservation. The program has introduce me to so many great people from lifelong friendships to people who will help me in the future. I will never forget my time in this program and what it has done for me, our community and our beautiful forest preserves.”

- Summer program alumnus
Jessica Trujillo

This program is a public/private partnership between YCC and the Lake County Forest Preserve District.

In the News

'I just love being outside': Youth Conservation Corps members spend their summers improving forest preserves

Flipping boards or flipping burgers. Slinging woodchips or mopping floors. For some of Lake County's young people, the choice was easy - get a fast-food type job or enter the lottery for the Waukegan-based Youth Conservation Corps crews who work in the Lake County Forest Preserves for the summer.

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