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Youth Education

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute

What is Youth Conservation Leadership Institute and how does it work?

  • Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a recognition program for students in 9th- 12th grade that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship.

  • YCLI offers self-motivated and enthusiastic high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues. 

  • Students in 9th-12th grade may apply to be a part of this program. 


  • Program participants are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a conservation focus as well as participate in a book discussion and submit required progress reports throughout the year. The hours may be done as part of a single project or a series of projects but all projects must be approved by the YCLI Program Coordinator.   

  • YCLI participants work with the YCLI Program Coordinator to come up with a project that the YCLI Participant wants to focus on. Participants must be self-driven individuals able to set their own goals, evaluate their set milestones, and be motivated to move their projects forward. The YCLI Participants are paired with a mentor to help them with their project.  Mentors can be Soil & Water Conservation Staff, Natural Resource professionals,  4-H agents, etc.   

  • Statewide group meetings will occur virtually. There will be a Zoom meeting at the beginning of the program to allow all participants a chance to meet and brainstorm for their projects.

  • The program will conclude with an in-person award and recognition ceremony to be held in June 2024.  The recognition program agenda will include time for participants to share their work and hear from key speakers in the conservation field.

  • YCLI is a unique opportunity for 9th-12th graders to receive experience and engage in networking opportunities to prepare them for future education and career paths.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • Students in 9th-12th grade with a strong interest in natural resource conservation and related fields are encouraged to apply.  YCLI is open to homeschool, private, and public school students. Annual programs will run from October – June. Applications open in late August each year. Scouts are eligible to use YCLI as a part of their Eagle Scout or Gold Award projects.

To apply for this internship check here in late August, deadline is usually early October to apply.

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