Thousand Islands Region Conservation Steward (PO-00736011)

This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps.  If you are selected for this program, please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process.  No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance. Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in upstate New York. Such changes include but are not limited to: trainings being held remotely, elimination of large-scale gatherings, and a reduction of education programs.

New York’s Thousand Islands Region is seeking enthusiastic Trails and Conservation Stewards for the 2024 season. Apply to be a SCA New York State Parks Corps member today!

About the NYS Parks Corps: Service activities range from providing environmental education and interpretation, to trail restoration, wildlife management, and organizing volunteer events. All 21 Parks Corps members will gather regularly in Central NY for SCA trainings and other professional development opportunities as they arise. (**See Covid caveat above for potential exceptions to 2024 events) Members share housing in groups of 1-4 members per location. NYS Parks Corps members serve under the direction of regional Parks staff to assist in accomplishing the mission of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; to provide safe and enjoyable recreational and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic, and cultural resources.

This position is located in New York’s Thousand Islands Region, with housing in Henderson, NY within Westcott Beach State Park.

Purpose of the Position: The Thousand Islands is a favorite place of many visitors during warm months, and its State Parks have a need to construct/maintain sustainable trails, contain the spread of invasive species, and complete other conservation projects. Due to the rural and highly seasonal nature of the area, these parks struggle to fit these types of projects into a work schedule already filled with routine park operations. Members of this crew serve to fill that gap and ensure the 25+ public lands along Eastern Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Northern Lake Champlain can continue to be enjoyed for generations.  

Community Needs that the Position Serves: Safety, Maintenance, and Public Outreach

Values and Standards of the Program/Position: 
SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.  

The Mission of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is to provide safe and enjoyable recreation and interpretive opportunities for all New York State residents and visitors and to be responsible stewards of our valuable natural, historic and cultural resources.

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities: This team of four members live and work together, engaging in service consistent with the mission and guiding principles of NYS OPRHP. The focus areas are trail construction and maintenance, hazard tree removals, invasive plant species management, habitat restoration, and outdoor structure building. Examples of work and responsibilities include:

  • Spend 5-day (Monday-Friday) hitches working and camping at various parks throughout the region, returning to shared apartment for days off. Occasional 6-day work week or weekend work required for special events.
  • Learn and apply the principles of sustainable trail design, the skills to construct and maintain trails, and the importance of trail development as a resource management tool in sensitive areas.
  • Become competent in basic to intermediate carpentry including footbridges, benches, chairs, trailhead kiosks, ect.
  • Learn and apply chainsaw safety techniques for felling, bucking, and limbing of small-to-large trees.
  • Learn the harmful effects of invasive plant and insect species, proper local identification, and the challenges involved with removing them.
  • Learn GIS mapping techniques and collect data for trails and stewardship projects.
  • Learn navigation and safely operate an open bow outboard boat to and from remote island Parks.

How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization: This crew provides crucial support to not only NYS OPRHP, but to local non-profits and NYS DEC throughout the Thousand Islands – aiding in better, more safe use of the parks and public land by the public while minimizing our impact on the natural environment.

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:
Goal 1: To confidently lead a group of peers through field work in varying weather, project scopes, level of staff support, supervision, etc. on a rotating basis.
Goal 2: To gain arborist skills applicable to trails, recreation, and public hazards (within training level provided), through the proper use and maintenance of mid-size chainsaws.
Goal 3: To learn and apply principles and skills of sustainable trail design, construction, and maintenance.
Goal 4: To learn the negative effects of and the management challenges posed by invasive plant and insect species, applying knowledge to hands-on projects.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Valid driver license for at least three years.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Two years of college or other post-secondary school experience in a relevant field.

Skills, Knowledge, and Training:

  • Must be able to walk 5 or more miles in one day.
  • Must be able to pick up and carry 50 pounds.
  • Must be self-motivated to accomplish goals each workday without constant supervision.
  • Requires a positive attitude towards working in a group setting with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Desire to work outdoors nearly all day, every day through all conditions deemed safe to work in.
  • Helpful to have experience backpacking or tent camping, working with power tools, chainsaws, trail work, light construction/ landscaping/ carpentry. 
  • Helpful to know general biological concepts and plant ID skills but requires a willingness to learn more.
  • All necessary training will be provided.

Amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award being offered for successful completion of the member’s term of service: $6,495

Amount of living allowance member will receive: $350/week living allowance

Healthcare coverage (if applicable): Eligible for free health insurance
Childcare coverage (if applicable): Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps

Student loan forbearance and interest payments, (if the member qualifies): Eligible for Federal Student Loan forbearance and interest payment deferment through AmeriCorps for qualifying student loans.

Training Opportunities: All SCA NYS Parks Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Leave No Trace, Mental Health First Aid, and professional development. Environmental Education Stewards receive Certified Interpretive Guide training while Conservation Stewards receive Game of Logging 1 & 2. Optional trainings include NYSOEA, the American Canoe Association Quick Start Your Canoe Training, and other opportunities that arise through the SCA and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Thousand Islands Trails & Conservation Stewards will get 4×4 Gator UTV training and their NYS Boater’s License through NYS OPRHP.

Position ID: PO-00736011

Expected Dates: January 22, 2024 - November 18, 2024

Westcott Beach State Park
6621 NY-3
Henderson, NY 13650

Handicap Accessible?: No

Main Area of Focus: Backcountry/Trail work

Further Details

AmeriCorps Eligible: Eligible

Driving Logistics: Recommended

A personal vehicle is required to access amenities such as grocery store, libraries, etc. as well as travel to NYS Parks Corps trainings and events.

Housing or Stipend Provided?
A. Partner will provide suitable housing for the member

Two bedroom, second floor apartment located in Westcott Beach State Park shared by the SCA Conservation Steward crew. No internet provided.

Indoor/Outdoor: Combination

US Citizenship: Yes

Student Conservation Association