They’re a Youth Conservation Corps crew of young people from the little community of El Rito working in a nine-week summer program through the Forest Stewards Guild’s YCC program. They earn an hourly wage, two college credits through Santa Fe Community College, and a diversity of forestry job skills with this fun alternative summer job.
“Using this fancy tool – it’s a clinometer – we know the trees here are about 40 to 50 feet tall,” Lawrence says.
The crew members share the data they’re collecting with Shawnee, a recent agriculture economics and business administration graduate of New Mexico State University. With her five years of YCC summer experience, Shawnee is the crew trainer this year. She wears an official forester’s vest and carries a clipboard, while representing the fulfillment of one of the goals of the program: to interest young people in conservation education and careers in the organizations serving a conservation mission.