Outdoor Youth Corps (OYC) is an education and workforce program that connects individuals from ages 16 to 24 from all over the St. Louis region. The goal of this program is to engage the participants by introducing them to environmental careers, stewardship projects, and community engagement all while getting paid.
“I hope to see the world different for the new knowledge I am hoping to learn from all of this” -Kenzie
“Working together with OYC brings a sense of family and it really shows” -Carter
With OYC only three weeks in its two-month program Summer Crew Program, it is easy to tell that the group has left an incredible impact through their work and dedication to environmental stewardship.
Recently, OYC had a memorable visit to Litzsinger Road Ecology Center (LREC) where they collected grass and wildflower seed to help LREC restore a disturbed area with native vegetation. OYC learned more about land restoration practices through monitoring and removal of invasive species such as honeysuckle to improve habitat by the stream.
“I noticed a real improvement when we were removing honeysuckle. It felt good to be able to see more of the native plants that were growing” - OYC Summer 2023 Participant
The OYC participants also learned how to sample water quality in our local Deer Creek Watershed through recording the pH of the water and identifying macroinvertebrates. Lastly, our participants were asked to lend a hand in surveying the vegetation around LREC by collecting plant specimens and taking note of ones they saw in their field notebooks. The plants they collected eventually were used in a plant press and stored for records that can be used for hundreds of years!
“I felt like I had left a real impact on the spaces we worked in” -Nora
This was a glimpse into just three days of OYC, with so much time left in the summer for our participants to learn and grow. Join OYC’s summer experiences on our Instagram page @outdooryouthcorps where you can find frequent posts of the sites we visit and the work we do! We are happy to say our participants learn so much from each experience by taking away key skills, knowledge, and inspiration for their future careers.
Outdoor Youth Corps offers programming year-round including a fall and spring Weekend Work Series, Alternative Spring Break, and its Summer Crew Program. Learn more and apply!