Youth Conservation Teams

Summer 2017 Crews

Clermont County Crew Hoosier National Forest Crew
Ryan Fleming (St. Xavier HS) Adam Diersing (Bloomington HS South)
Chris Isaacs (New Richmond HS) Toudora Galuska (Bloomington HS South)
Elizabeth Johnson (Cincinnati Country Day) Camryn Lien (Bloomington HS South)
Mark Lambert (Bethel - Tate HS) Duncan Thompson (Harmony HS)
Anna Neel (Glen Este HS) Allie Westerfield (Bloominton HS North)
Valerie Thompson (Milford HS) Julia Wood (Bloomington HS South)


Crew Work Sessions: Summer 2017 - 2 separate crews

HNF CREW - June 26 - July 18 (off July 3-4) - Hoosier National Forest (approximately 30 minute drive from Bloomington)

CLERMONT CREW - June 5 - June 23 - Clermont County, OH (Clermont County Park District locations)

YCT crew member planting tree in Great Miami River floodplain

About YCT

This stewardship program, existing in other parts of the country, is the first of its kind in the 11-state Ohio River watershed. It leverages the resources and connections of ORF throughout the region in areas of education, restoration, and resource management. This project fills a huge void in local manpower necessary to support local on-the-ground conservation work. Led by an adult Crew Leader, the high school student Crew(s) employ(s) Best Management Practices (BMPs) to install conservation projects that help to protect and restore habitat.

Government budgets continue to contract as recession and unemployment factors continue to diminish the available funds for resource protection.  Soil erosion, stormwater runoff, and invasive species (plants) are well known problems plaguing our local and regional habitat.  Many such sites exist on project partner properties. Targeting specific sites with this type of focused team effort has been demonstrated, and found to be effective, in other parts of the country. 

During the summer, student crews work 6hrs/day 5 days/wk* to install conservation projects that reduce erosion and runoff in the target subwatershed.  With the aid only of handtools, crews engage in potential projects that may include planting trees and shrubs; removing invasive species, installing culverts, and settling basins; rock lining ditches and culverts, and installing stormwater rain gardens, water bars, and other diversions to direct water from dirt roads, parking areas, and paths to vegetated areas.


2017 Program Reports: Hoosier National Forest, Clermont County

2016 Program Report: Northern Kentucky

2015 Program Reports: Cincinnati Parks, Hamilton County, Boone National Forest

2014 Program Report

2013 Program Reports: Hoosier National Forest, Boone National Forest,

Campbell County, Hamilton County

2011 Program Report       

Since its inaugural 2011 season Ohio River Foundation’s Youth Conservation Team program has been a resounding success. More than $250,000 has been saved by park and soil & water districts, and national forests by utilizing the manpower provided by the high school student teams. 

The student teams have successfully completed more than 250 habitat conservation projects in Hoosier and Daniel Boone National Forests, Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, and Great Miami, Licking, and Little Miami River Watersheds. Here are some of their accomplishments:

  • Planted 800 trees, shrubs, small plants, and grasses
  • Installed 2,850 sq. ft. of deer-resistant fencing
  • Hand-placed 10 tons of stone
  • Constructed water bars to divert stormwater
  • Installed 100 ft. of 6-inch pipe to reduce runoff
  • Removed more than 300,000 invasive plants
  • Repaired more than 5 miles of horse and hiking trails

 “This is a highly successful work-study program, whereby students performed important conservation projects and then spent time with scientists and experts from the natural resource and academic fields for in-depth learning about habitat protection,” said Rich Cogen, Executive Director, Ohio River Foundation. 

Chris Clingman, Director, Clermont County Park District commented, “The YCT constructed much needed erosion control measures at Shor Park. After the extremely wet spring, several of the trails were eroding and soil was washing into Avey’s Run. The YCT repaired and stabilized the trails which are very popular with area residents.”

*There is also an educational component to the program. Local expert scientists, professors, and educators supplement the students’ labor work one half-day/wk with information and hands-on instruction relative to the watershed protection and restoration work being performed.  


What does it take to be a crew member?

Crew Member Qualifications/Requirements:

  • Ability to engage in strenuous, physical work
  • Access to transportation to travel to/from job sites
  • Interest in environmental issues
  • Hard worker with a positive attitude
  • 16 years of age or older, and ability to obtain a work permit, if necessary

All YCT work is done by hand, without the assistance of machinery. 

Student Crew Compensation: $10 per hour

Crew Leader Compensation: $15 per hour (see application for more details and job description)

Crew Work Sessions: Summer 2017 - 2 separate crews

HNF CREW - June 26 - July 18 (off July 3-4) - Hoosier National Forest (approximately 30 minutes drive from Bloomington)

CLERMONT CREW - June 5 - June 23 - Clermont County, OH (Clermont County Park District Locations)


              High School Crew Application Version: MS Word  PDF

Crew Leader position: Hoosier National Forest ONLY - Application

APPLICATION DEADLINE - ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5pm EST APRIL 12, 2017. After April 12, a subset of applicants will be chosen to move on to the interview round that will take place at, or near, their respective schools.

To Apply complete the appropriate application and email it to or mail it to:
Ohio River Foundation
P.O. Box 42460
Cincinnati, OH  45242