Local High School Students Make a Difference at the Niobrara Valley Preserve

Youth Conservation Corps Participants Worked to Improve Trails, Remove Invasives

Johnstown, NE | August 30, 2011

Marissa Grooms, Tayler McPeak, Marcus Nelson, and Scott Rupe made up a crew that worked alongside biologists, educators, labor and service managers, organization leaders, and law enforcement officers. These experiences taught them a great deal about the unique resources in their own backyard and helped them to work as a team.

These young people are part of a long tradition of service called the Youth Conservation Corps. The Youth Conservation Corps (or YCC, as it’s more commonly known), is an employment program for dedicated individuals between the ages of 16 and 18. They work throughout the country to help repair structures, build trails, fight invasive species, and assist with other projects to maintain and improve public lands.

The Niobrara NSR YCC Crew worked on private and public lands within the Niobrara National Scenic River boundary. Much of their time was spent at The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, Smith Falls State Park, and Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. Projects included performing much-needed maintenance on trails and boat landings, compiling slash piles for burning, assembling and painting picnic tables, cleaning waterways, building fences, oiling saddles, and helping to eradicate invasive species.

“Their assistance has proven invaluable to our organizations. We greatly appreciated their hard work, and have enjoyed having them around for the summer,” said Park Ranger Andrew Branum, who led the crew.

The YCC crew not only made a big difference in their own backyard, they also earned money for college and gained marketable skills for the future. For more information about working for the YCC next summer, contact the National Park Service Niobrara National Scenic River at (402) 376-1901.


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global. To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Adrianne Johnson, CIG
Niobrara National Scenic River
Valentine, NE 69201
(402) 376-1901

Jill Wells
The Nature Conservancy
Omaha, NE 68102
(402) 342-0282 x 1002


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