Volunteer outdoors with ACE, get paid to camp and hike throughout CA!


Cause Areas


Sun Jul 23, 2017 - Sat Sep 02, 2017


328 Ingalls St.Suite BSanta Cruz, CA 95060


2 Opportunitiwes available!

Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Non-Profit Conservation Corps based in Santa Cruz, South Lake Tahoe, and Southern California is currently seeking energetic, ambitious young adults to participate as crew members in a 6-week outdoor program as an entry-level opportunity to explore the conservation and land-management industry. It’s an immersive way to travel, meet other like-minded individuals, and have the ability to contribute to real trailwork and/or ecological restoration projects all over the state of California. Opportunities for advancement, longer service, and to reapply for the ACE Conservation Corps (AmeriCorps service memberships) are available for the best performing members. Additional benefits are available for those that consider further training opportunities like the Conservation Corps program. We seek to train our participants for careers in resource management with ACE, with other conservation corps, or with public agencies such as the National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, or the Bureau of Land Management.

ACE is currently seeking volunteers for 6 weeks in 2017, two (2) options are available!

Start Date: July 22, 2017

End Date: September 2, 2017


Start Date: August 19, 2017

End Date: September 30, 2017

A 6-week commitment is required, as your placement on crews will be vital to ACE and your included training. *There may be opportunities available to continue with ACE during the 6-week period for the best performing crew members. Extensions to service are also dependent on available projects in the field and seasonal constraints. Please inquire with ACE staff during the application process and beyond to voice your interest and opinions.

Position Description: Offered as an entry-level, short-term opportunity to earn practical and environmental work experience, ACE Conservation Volunteers will spend approximately 8 weeks participating in trail construction, forestry, and environmental restoration projects under the guidance of ACE’s most highly skilled staff members. The goal of the position is to accomplish meaningful project work for a variety of agencies while being exposed to various field techniques such as trail construction and maintenance, ecological restoration, dry stone masonry, and Leave-No-Trace principles.

All work is physically demanding, sometimes requiring stints in the backcountry and/or extended stays in the field. This position requires hiking, backpacking, camping and cooking outdoors while at front country and wilderness spike camps.

Location: Projects throughout the 2017 season will take place at various locations throughout California. All participants must be flexible and willing to be assigned to a variety of locations and for multiple agencies, wherever community need is the highest. Projects awarded to ACE California typically vary in length from 4 days to 4 months so members should expect varied opportunities during their 6-week term. It’s likely that you’d participate in 1 - 2 projects/crews during an 6-week term. Crew members’ project schedule is comprised of multiple short-term 'hitches’ on average 8-11 days long. Members return to the same project until completion, and/or to other projects in motion. Flexibility is necessary for locations during days-off, as you will spend days-off in potentially housing locations of Santa Cruz, South Lake Tahoe, or Dulzura California(new for 2017), and/or time-off on project sites.

Benefits: Food is provided on project days as all crews are supplied food for the duration of their hitch, and housing (volunteer residential housing, tents, primitive backcountry facilities) is included both on and off projects.

Conservation Volunteers receive a living stipend of $110/week (before tax). This is a gross amount before taxes, and the standard amount of state and federal income taxes/withholdings may be applied by law. Pay periods are bi-weekly, and we strongly recommend setting up direct-deposit upon arrival for its convenience.

Qualifications: ACE Conservation Volunteers should have an established interest in conservation issues and should take joy in tackling challenging situations with a positive mindset. Applicants must be willing to undertake arduous physical work in all types of weather and terrain, and to participate as a team member dedicated to ACE’s mission. ACE Conservation Volunteers is meant as an introduction but also stepping stone to environmental careers and as a gateway to potential advancement within ACE (Corps membership), not only as an interesting and rewarding way to spend several weeks working in beautiful locations. Drug users, including users of marijuana, should not consider applying as ACE reserves the right to require drug testing and absolutely abhors the presence of drug users in our program. ACE intends to be a positive influence and intends to create safe and healthy environments for our members. The culture of alcohol and tobacco use is also restricted from ACE property and not supported by our mission of professionalism and personal development.

Other Requirements:

  • Program is available to US Citizens and Green Card holders only.
  • Members must have personal medical insurance for the duration of their participation with ACE.
  • To prove eligibility and citizenship and receive financial benefits, members must be able to provide the following documents: 1) Social Security card, 2) Passport -OR- Birth certificate, 3) Photo ID (passport, driver’s license, military license, or student ID)
  • ACE will provide tents to all Members (upon request) but all other camping items such as sturdy leather boots, sleeping bags, backpacks, and raingear must be provided by the applicant.
  • Due to fire hazard conditions in ACE, smoking is not permitted in many of the sensitive worksites. Smoking is not allowed on ACE property.

Age: 18-40

Training: Trainings may include a variety of technical project and outdoor skills such as the potential for dozens of universal trail building techniques. This may include retaining wall construction, rock step construction, rock drilling, splitting and shaping, setting up rigging systems, tread and switchback construction, installing water bars, check dams and other erosion control devices, restoration management, or GPS use. Safety training and Leave No Trace Training is included in various forms throughout orientation and beyond, dependent on project scheduling, available classes, and training staff. Practical work and environmental training abound, we encourage the growth of our short-term volunteers members to continue and develop to eventually be present for future Corps memberships, advanced tool usage, and certifications that become available with an extended commitment. Membership spanning several seasons allows for additional training opportunities.

Register here: DIRECT LINK: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/166515.html

OR: Email your motivation statement and resume to: marcel@usaconservation.org. Your motivation statement should include your knowledge of the program, related interests, goals, and expectations. Please use this moment to be descriptive, and share your existing skills that you feel would be a good fit for our environment. We look forward to hearing from you!

NOTE:Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time, and is open until filled. If you have any questions regarding this position, please feel free to contact the California Outreach Coordinator, Marcel Coppolino at 928-814-3191 or marcel@usaconservation.org.

Also, consider checking out our Facebook page and social media for more details about ACE!


In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


  • Critical Thinking
  • People Skills
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Relationship Building
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Education

Good Match For


Requirements & Commitment

  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • 6 weeks
  • proof of US citizenship, personal medical insurance, proper gear and clothing

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