Desert Restoration Corps

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission (CA-OHV) which has produced a decade of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California.

The first eight months of the DRC are based out of Ridgecrest, CA. Each team will live and work out of remote tent camps for 10-day periods while undertaking projects, allowing members to fully experience the lands being served. While the majority of the season is devoted to mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation in the desert surrounding Ridgecrest, Teams will take on additional projects elsewhere in California as the heat of the desert summer encroaches on the final two months of the DRC season. Projects typically include habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, trail work/assessment, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.

Members of the Desert Restoration Corps receive or have the option to receive the following trainings or certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course
  • S212 Chainsaw Certification
  • Advanced Off Highway Vehicle training
  • Peer Leadership
  • Restoration Philosophy and Practice
  • Trail Skills

During the 10-month DRC season, members will restore, protect, and monitor thousands of acres of desert wilderness and will complete a number of other conservation projects. The Peer Leadership model will also provide leadership experience for all members.   

Applicants must be between 18-25 years of age and must pass a background check.

The DRC is one of SCA’s most challenging programs. Members should be prepared to live and work as a small community in very remote locations. Environmental conditions can be harsh, and the projects themselves are physically and mentally challenging. However, those able to meet these challenges will receive an incredible experience!

Related Posts & Program Information

Goodbye Mother,
Goodbye Father.
Hello creosote,
Hello strangers.
Welcome to the desert.
This is your new home.

Let me drink you in,
I want to swallow you whole.
Your dust chokes me instead,
Blinds me,
Coats me,
How inconsiderate.

Tell me your fears,
Listen to my story.
I will tell you of the seasons,
I will show you the ocean.
Your jokes kill me,
Tell it again.

Don’t to

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After a very exciting Allcorps hitch, it was back to the six of us in the Grass Valley Wilderness where we didn’t see another person for six straight days. We were lucky enough to revisit Golden Valley Wilderness and finished two decent sized restoration sites.

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It was the first day of All-corps. WildCorps pulled up into the makeshift campground on Tecopa public lands and were greeted by a line of eight Dodge Ram 2500s. Slowly, a familiar pack of desert rats retreated from the cabs and welcomed our arrival with stares and awkward waves. The mildercorps had arrived the previous evening. “Uhh… welcome to your event,” the other crews said.

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The Mojave has been in the midst of a grand flux these last months. The winter’s determined silence has been finally broken by bird song and the thumpings and rustlings of those amongst the shrubs. The lizards were perhaps the first to join the birds in spring celebrations, pattering from their subterranean abodes to luxuriate in the sunshine and all seventy of the degrees.

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This week we journeyed to Granite Mountain in the Prescott National Forest where we had the luxury of having our gear packed in on horses and mules! We had a two mile hike in from the trail head to our camp site. On our first day we surveyed the area that we would be working in, and hiked almost to the very top of Granite Mountain where we were greeted with an amazing view of the forest.

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Parents Corner

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet.