CCLC Eggers Crew, 2014
CCLC Eggers Crew, 2014

Conservation Corps

Our Conservation Corps programs are among the most important work we do. We recruit high school students, young adults and adults, often from low-income neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago to learn about conservation while gaining vital leadership and teamwork skills that can be used in future careers. All corps members are paid for their work restoring woods and prairies, creating meaningful jobs in under-served communities. Friends’ corps members plant seeds as well as remove the invasive species that are the cancer of our ecosystems.  They also gain essential skills like job readiness and financial literacy. And, maybe most importantly, they are the next generation of front line advocates for the forest preserves and nature.

fpcc-logoFriends conducts all of its Conservation Corps work in partnership, both financially and programmatically, with the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Working With Us

As a Conservation Corps member, you’ll roll up your sleeves, get outside, and create lasting conservation for your community. You’ll not only learn about ecological restoration, you’ll also gain leadership and teamwork skills that will no doubt lead to even better opportunities. Our Conservation Corps programs are an incredible experience for teenagers and adults alike. We specifically reach out to low-income neighborhoods, fostering the next generation of stewards for our forest preserves in Cook County.

The Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps

Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps (CCLC) is our flagship program for high school students. If you’re interested in learning about conservation and putting what you learn to direct action, then CCLC is the perfect opportunity for you! CCLC is a six-week, paid summer program that will teach you about environmental restoration while learning about team work and responsibility. Partnering with the Student Conservation Association, CCLC began in 2009 and has grown every year. In 2016, we hired over 70 students and leaders and we plan on hiring more in 2017!

Palos Crew, Roving Crew, and Fox River Crew

For individuals ready to explore a professional career in restoration, apply to our Palos Crew, Roving Crew, or Fox River Crew. As a corps member in one of these crews, you will work year-round to remove invasive species and restore native plants throughout the forest preserves in Cook County. The Palos, Roving, and Fox River Crews also have a focus on professional development, and encourages corps members to pursue careers and education in conservation. Please visit the “Jobs and Opportunities” page for current openings.


Christy Webber Landscapes


Christy Webber Landscapes proudly supports Friends’ Conservation Corps by hosting their equipment and vehicles. Thank you CWL for all your help!


CCLC Dan Ryan Woods Crew, 2013

Want to learn more about the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps?

Check out our blog series:

Crew Member Spotlight- Alec Alving: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader and Forest Preserve Leadership Corps member Gloria Orozco

Crew Member Spotlight- Anna Westmoreland: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader Jenny Kulb

Crew Member Spotlight- Kyana Harrod: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader Dyrell Williams

Crew Member Spotlight-Haider Baig: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader Jaime Davila

Crew Member Spotlight- Jose Dondiego: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader and Forest Preserve Leadership Corps member Jesse Hernandez

Crew Member Spotlight-Kacper Mierzejewski: interview by Apprentice Crew Leader and Forest Preserve Leadership Corps member Eduardo Paz