Desert Restoration Corps

The Desert Restoration Corps (DRC) is a partnership between the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and California Off-Highway Vehicle Commission (CA-OHV) which has produced a decade of monitoring, preserving, and repairing fragile habitat in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of Southern California.

The first eight months of the DRC are based out of Ridgecrest, CA. Each team will live and work out of remote tent camps for 10-day periods while undertaking projects, allowing members to fully experience the lands being served. While the majority of the season is devoted to mitigating the impacts of Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation in the desert surrounding Ridgecrest, Teams will take on additional projects elsewhere in California as the heat of the desert summer encroaches on the final two months of the DRC season. Projects typically include habitat restoration, fence/barrier construction, public outreach, trail work/assessment, invasive species management, and resource (i.e. water, wildlife) monitoring.

Members of the Desert Restoration Corps receive or have the option to receive the following trainings or certifications:

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Course
  • S212 Chainsaw Certification
  • Advanced Off Highway Vehicle training
  • Peer Leadership
  • Restoration Philosophy and Practice
  • Trail Skills

During the 10-month DRC season, members will restore, protect, and monitor thousands of acres of desert wilderness and will complete a number of other conservation projects. The Peer Leadership model will also provide leadership experience for all members.   

Applicants must be between 18-25 years of age and must pass a background check.

The DRC is one of SCA’s most challenging programs. Members should be prepared to live and work as a small community in very remote locations. Environmental conditions can be harsh, and the projects themselves are physically and mentally challenging. However, those able to meet these challenges will receive an incredible experience!

Related Posts & Program Information

We just got back from Hitch 3, where we found ourselves on our own for the first time – just the five of us in the Rands! It was our first time experiencing peer leadership and its new freedoms and challenges, as well as the new dynamics of a small crew. On the Rands crew was Dan, Hailee, Tori, Kyle, and me, Natalie, as Hitch-Leader.

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"This can only be one." Tyler decompacting the incursion.

354 vertical mulch, 382 seed pits, 1,297 m2, 7 incursions, 5 cinnamon rolls, 1 fire, 424 people hours, and 10 days later, we have successfully finished our first actual full hitch out in the field. Although physically demanding, we pushed through and accomplished more than we had originally planned. It felt great to be in the full swing of things and have our project leader hand off the reigns to us.

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WE ALL WORKED IN RANDS! This hitch was especially special because it was the first hitch we spent the majority of our time doing restoration! Yes!

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Day 1- Hitch 1 began with both the Jawbone and Rands crews preparing meals and gear for the 8 days in the field. Many of us had never prepared meals for 12 people before and we quickly realized that it was a lot more work than it initially seemed. We also ran into difficulties with money allocation and multiple grocery visits were a consequence.

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For the six strangers who became a family for me over these past eight months. Thank you for service. Thank you for believing. Thank you for being the six strangers who became family for me. It is to you that I dedicate this report. The Rands Crew spent the 2012-2013 season serving the Rand Mountain Management Area (RMMA) as a part of SCA’s Desert Restoration Corps (DRC).

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Parents Corner

Your child is about to embark on a life-changing experience, where they will have the opportunity to meet new friends, explore potential careers, gain leadership skills, and accomplish hands-on conservation work that will have a lasting impact on the planet.