Small teams of young people work and learn together with the land.

The Conservation Program empowers youth to unite with their community to improve water quality, forest health, and sustainable outdoor recreation across Vermont.

VYCC Backcountry Trail Building

Trail building is an art and a science, and it is hard physical work that involves finding and moving very large rocks, crushing stone into coarse gravel, and building stairs, water drainage structures, and footbridges. VYCC crews build new and repair existing trails that provide safe and enjoyable user experience while protecting the area’s ecosystem and watershed. Along the way, Corps Members add industry terminology to their vocabulary: duff, gargoyle, turnpiking, puncheon, waterbar, and corridor are but a few.




Vermont’s landscape is defined by its rivers, lakes and wetlands and the quality of these waters is tied to the health of our watersheds. VYCC is part of the movement to strengthen Vermont’s resiliency by putting young people to work on watershed projects that reduce erosion, nutrient pollution and storm water runoff and thereby help prevent catastrophic flooding and harmful algal blooms. Class 4 road rehabilitation, floodplain restoration and green storm water infrastructure installation are just a few of the many types of projects that VYCC crews have completed that have a direct impact on the water quality of Vermont.

More specifically, VYCC’s watershed restoration work encompass three kinds of projects:

Road/Trail Rehabilitation
Crews implement Best Management Practices that reduce erosion, sedimentation and nutrient pollution; complete mapping and ground trothing; improve drainage; and reduce river-road connectivity.

Floodplain Restoration
Crews remove non-native invasive species, establish riparian buffers, restore wetlands, remove berms, and complete in-stream projects.

Green Storm water Infrastructure
Crews install, monitor, and maintain GSI’s (groundwater/surface water interface). Projects are in both urban and rural areas; and crews can work in conjunction with heavy machinery.

Park Infrastructure

State parks need maintenance, improvements, and repairs: trails, campsites, sheds, composting toilets, and kiosks need replacing and repair over time. All projects improve the user experience and enhance park infrastructure.






Description Coming Soon



Before VYCC I was only marginally aware of myself as a part of a greater natural world – cities were my life. I feel more comfortable interacting with other people, and I realized that everyone has an interesting story if you ask the right questions. VYCC has changed the way I think about being human – that we are not isolated, and that this planet is not only ours.”

— Eleanor (“Nory”)