Fall 2021 Desert Restoration Corps Project Leader

Fall 2021 Desert Restoration Corps Project Leader

Conservation Begins Here.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA), America’s #1 conservation service organization seeks qualified applicants to lead, educate, and inspire for the Desert Restoration Corps program.  

Fall Season Dates:

Leader Training: 8/15/2021 – 8/27/21   

Leader Planning Period & Member Training Prep: 8/30/2021 – 9/10/2021

Members Training Dates: 9/12/2021 – 10/2/2021


Project Duration: Projects range from 10 weeks to 25 weeks in duration.  Project Leader placements will be determined based on leader candidates’ experience, skills/certifications, and availability.  


Program Location: Ridgecrest, CA and surrounding areas.

Position Summary:

Responsible for daily management and supervision of a Conservation Corps project in either a backcountry or front-country site with members 18 & older. Manage member and group safety and development while working on conservation projects. Represent SCA on-site and coordinate with Agency partner(s) on designated project(s).


Project Description:


SCA’s Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between SCA, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and several other federal and nonprofit partners in southern California.  Since 2001, SCA members have been at the forefront of developing and testing addressing a variety of desert conservation projects.  From monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat to maintaining trails and ensuring safe recreation areas, the DRC has been instrumental in supporting the BLM’s management of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. 


The crews will be based in southeastern California and travel to various worksites throughout the California Desert District.  Projects may include, though are not limited to: water, wildlife, and resource monitoring; invasive species monitoring and management; trail work and assessment; fence construction/removal; trail maintenance; public outreach events, and Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) restoration. 


Potential Crew Projects:

  • Wilderness and Non-Wilderness Restoration Crews
    • Crew Dates: 9/12/2021 to 3/19/2022 (27 week crew)
    • Crews will perform desert restoration projects aimed at mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation near Ridgecrest, CA.  Work projects may include, but are not limited to: habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.  A typical work hitch is 10 days long with 4 days off afterwards, however, this schedule may vary due to project needs.  



  • Wildlife Habitat Restoration Crew
    • Crew Dates: 9/12/2021 to 5/28/2022 (37 week crew)
    • The SCA Wildlife Habitat Restoration Corps will restore 50 miles of unauthorized OHV trails and restore and improve 1,000 acres of Desert Tortoise habitat in the California Desert Conservation Area.  The team’s primary project will be the construction of a 5-mile long wildlife fence.  The crew will also be working on additional wildlife related projects such as habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.


  • Desert Easement Monitoring Crew (Data Collection)
    • Crew Dates: 9/12/2021 to 11/6/2021 (8 week crew)
    • This SCA Team will conduct conservation easement monitoring on approximately 114 easements encompassing almost 20,000 acres in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts within the California Desert and a few along the southeast and southern ends of the Salton Sea.  The Mojave parcels occur between Highway 395/Kramer Junction and Needles.   The Colorado Desert parcels occur along the I-10 corridor, and range from near Palm Springs to Blythe, California.  While many of the parcels are close to I-10 and fairly accessible, some are in very hard to reach areas with no established roads and will require hiking to access.


During field-based hitches of 4 to 10 days in length, the crew will live and work out of tent camps in close proximity to worksites.  Field-life is rugged, and while on hitch, members should expect to live without electricity, running water, and cell phone reception; additionally, while on hitch, this program is alcohol and substance free.  Members will typically have 3-5 days off between hitches.  The crew will have housing in the Ridgecrest, CA area, and will use this housing as a base of operations for their project and members will be permitted to reside at the house during days off. 

Check out the Desert Restoration Corps homepage for an in-depth look at what our previous DRC crews have been up to.   

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Act as a Crew Manager guiding crew dynamics and facilitating teamwork 
  • Function as a Technical Advisor assisting in training corps members to complete quality work 
  • Serve as a Partnership Representative managing relationships with agency partner and ensuring successful and timely completion of work projects 
  • Perform tasks as a Program Administrator by communicating with SCA staff, completing documentation and managing a budget 



  • Must be a minimum of 21 years of age 
  • Must have ability to legally work in the US. 
  • Valid driver’s license and MVR that meets SCA standards required 
  • Ability to meet SCA’s criminal background check standards 
  • Must be able to attend mandatory Crew Leader training: 8/15/2021 – 8/27/21
  • Current Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification required by the start of training; Wilderness First Responder certification is preferred.  
  • Experience working with young adults 18 and older; teaching in an outdoor environment a plus 
  • Experience with conservation work skills or related skills preferred – i.e. habitat restoration, trail maintenance, trail construction, chainsaw, carpentry, landscaping, and gardening 
  • Ability to perform manual, physical labor for up to 8 to 10 hours per day, exposed to the elements and most occasionally lift and/or move 40 pounds or more 
  • Not required to provide own housing during the dates of the program 


Compensation: Salary range: $700 - $800/week, benefits available only for position placements over 6 months long.



To Apply: Click Login or Sign Up. Create a profile, complete the basic application and then select Leader Application when prompted. Please be sure to upload your cover letter, resume, and three (3) references. Once your application is complete, please email [email protected] with the position of interest listed in the subject line so we may review your application.  

Program Type
Project Leader
SCA California-Southwest