Young Conservation Stewards
The YCS Program is focused on building conservation leaders of tomorrow who will empower others and increase environmental justice in their own communities. The Stewards hired for the YCS Program will learn watershed management, forest health, and ecological restoration skills. In addition to contributing to significant restoration outcomes, this opportunity will build leadership and outreach skills and give learning opportunities not afforded by traditional classroom settings.
The YCS Program intertwines two objectives: to restore a unique and vital urban conservation property in the middle of Athens, Georgia; and to provide summer employment, conservation education, and leadership training to promising youth from communities in Athens. Purchased by the Rowland family in 1910, and acquired by Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCUG) over the past few years, “Beech Haven” consists of over 100 acres along the Middle Oconee River watershed, 76% of which is composed of Piedmont Region High Priority Habitats as described in the State Wildlife Action Plan. These habitats include medium/large rivers, rocky river shoals, streams, bottomland hardwood forests, and oak-hickory-pine forest.
Currently, the YCS program operates during the summer, and is a partnership between ALT, Athens Clarke County, KACCB, UGA, UOWN, Oconee Rivers Audubon Society and others.