2021 Conservation Corps Season Preview

May 24, 2021
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


2021 Conservation Corps Season Preview


We are incredibly excited for the new Conservation Corps season to begin! 

Our 2021 Corps features 47 members, including 12 returning members. They are coming from all over the country, from Ohio to Maine to Florida. One member even hails from Nigeria! Serving alongside the amazing volunteer base of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Corps will work throughout our region to help preserve and protect our lands. Our crews will be working on trail construction, outreach and education, terrestrial invasive species management, and aquatic invasive species management. 

Most members will serve from May through October. We also have a group of eight Corps leaders who have been serving since early April and will be on board with us until November. Our leaders have proven to be essential to the planning and training process for our Corps members. 

Our Corps Crews just wrapped up their first week of training, and this is how Trail Steward Noelle felt about the experience:

"The last week was challenging (as I expected it would be initially), but even as I was dripping with sweat, slowly pulling myself over rocks at Breakneck, all I could think about was how cool this opportunity is and how incredibly grateful I am to be a team member this season. I’m sure it will be another challenging week ahead starting trail work with the weather in the upper 80s, but I can’t wait to get back out there and learn all I can.

Help us welcome our 2021 Conservation Corps crews and follow along with their work on Instagram and their monthly blogs.

Trail Crews

The Conservation Corps will run five trail crews performing new trail construction and major renovations in northern New Jersey and the Lower Hudson Valley of New York. We have 14 trail crew members, including returning member, Kayla Lynch, and four returning trail crew leaders: Kevin Murphy, Snowden Jones, Ed Zubrowski, and Robert Delap. This year our crews will be working on trails in Hudson Highlands State Park, Harriman State Park, Sterling Forest State Park, and locations throughout Morris County, N.J., via our new partnership with Morris County Parks. Notable projects include continued improvements of the 100-year-old Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and the completion of a new connection of the Undercliff Trail to Breakneck Ridge. Volunteer opportunities with these crews will be available throughout the season!

Invasives Strike Force

The Corps' Invasives Strike Force (ISF) consists of four crew members led by crew leader Kassidy Robinson. They will primarily be managing emerging invasive species—ones that are new to the area with limited populations—with the goal of completely eradicating them from the region. Other projects include managing invasives that impact rare, threatened and endangered species or habitats to help the native plants thrive. The ISF will be hosting many volunteer workdays to teach the public about invasives ecology and management. They would love to see you out there!

Aquatic Invasives Strike Force

The Conservation Corps Aquatic Invasives Strike Force (AISF) is dedicated to protecting New York's waterways through invasive species monitoring, management, education, and outreach. This season, the crew is monitoring invasive and native plants, macroinvertebrates, and water quality in 37 lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as managing water chestnut at 14 sites throughout the Hudson Valley. They'll also teach boaters and anglers about AIS spread prevention and inspect boats at three Hudson River launches as a part of the Lower Hudson PRISM Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. The crew will be led by Maya Thompson, joined by returning Corps members Claire McMahon and Sudha Petluri.

The AISF crew is managed, in part, by the LHPRISM Aquatic Invasive Species Program, hosted by Teatown Lake Reservation

Trail Stewards

The Conservation Corps Outreach and Education Trail Steward Program consist of two crews: the Hudson Valley Trail Stewards and the Catskill/Minnewaska Trail Stewards. The Hudson Valley Trail Steward Crew is led by returning member Rosa Bledsoe and consists of 11 Trail Stewards, including returning members Melanie Schuck, Conor Dobson, Jennifer Meikle, and Rose Eid. They will be educating the public every weekend and holiday at Breakneck Ridge, Bear Mountain, and Croton Gorge Unique Area. The Stewards this year will also be conducting maintenance along the Long Path, as well as other locations throughout the Hudson Valley.

The Catskill Trail Steward Crew is led by returning member Myra Romano and consists of seven Trail Stewards who will be stationed at several key locations in the Catskill Mountains (Burrough’s Loop Range, Blackhead Range, North Point, Giant Ledge) and two locations in Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Gertrude’s Nose, Verkeerderkill Falls). The stewards will be conducting maintenance along the Long Path, as well as other locations throughout Minnewaska. This year, both crews will be tasked with the creation of a video series aiming to educate the public about these hiking destinations, as well as the Leave No Trace principles.

We can’t wait to see the positive impact this entire 2021 Conservation Corps will make on our parks and community.