Meet the Crew @ Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania!

The Youth Conservation Corps team at Erie National Wildlife Refuge, summer 2015. (Photo credit: Vicki Miller, USFWS.)

We will be sharing posts about our Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew members over the next few weeks. Today, we’ll hear from the crew at Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Guys Mills, PA, who have been putting in long hours this summer working on conservation projects on the refuge.

With over 3,487 acres of upland forests and 5,700 acres of wetlands, Erie National Wildlife Refuge is also entirely within the ecologically significant French Creek watershed, which contains rare freshwater mussels and fish. The refuge presents unique opportunities for the YCC youth to perform meaningful conservation work while learning about the natural environment, wildlife and natural resources.

The Youth Conservation Corps team at Erie National Wildlife Refuge, summer 2015. (Photo credit: Vicki Miller, USFWS.)

The Youth Conservation Corps team and YCC leaders Tom Tracy and Kelsey Hope at Erie National Wildlife Refuge, summer 2015. (Photo credit: Michelle Jackowski, USFWS.)

Teamwork, learning and work ethic are stressed as an integral part of the program.

The YCC crew at Erie NWR spent the majority of their time this summer building three bridges along one of the refuge trails, and a recycled-tire stairway up a hillside.

Work on a trail bridge nears completion. (Photo credit: Vicki Muller, USFWS.)

The Erie NWR YCC crew hard at work on one of three trail bridges they built this summer. (Photo credit: Erie NWR YCC crew.)

They also mulched and cut brush on five of the refuge trails, providing important yearly maintenance which will enhance the visitor experience at the refuge.

Members of the Erie NWR YCC crew work on a trail bridge in the early stages of construction. (Photo credit: Vicki Muller, USFWS.)

Members of the Erie NWR YCC crew work on a trail bridge in the early stages of construction. (Photo credit: Erie NWR YCC crew.)

“This is a very hard-working crew,” says Refuge Manager Vicki Muller, “and we are lucky to have them interested in conservation!”

Hear from crew members Amy, Shireen, Jacob and Isaac about their experiences at Erie National Wildlife Refuge this summer:

Why did you want to work at the refuge this summer?

Jacob: I love to work outside.
Amy: I have an interest in making this a full-time career.
Shireen: To get out of the house and try something different.
Isaac: To earn money to buy a phone.

Have you always been interested in wildlife and the outdoors? Is there a particular animal, activity or event that sparked your interest in joining a YCC crew this summer?

Jacob: Yes. Building bridges.
Amy: Yes, and I just was interested for my passion of the woods.

What is your favorite thing about working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? What activities do you enjoy the most?

Jacob: Building bridges.
Amy: Being outdoors. I love hiking and kayaking.

What is your favorite animal and why?

Jacob: Lynx.
Shireen: Alligator.
Isaac: Wolf, because they are cute when they are little.
Amy: Mine would be the owl because they are amazing predators and beautiful creatures.

Do you plan to continue with your interest in wildlife and environmental conservation after the summer?

Jacob: Maybe so, because I am interested in wildlife.
Amy: I am going to major in ecology and hopefully work with the Student Conservation Association for summers to come.
Isaac: Yes, because I live to help animals.

The YCC program lasts for approximately 8 weeks each summer, and takes place at numerous national wildlife refuges. For more information, including how to apply to the program, click here.
 

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