The Forest Preserve Leadership Corps (FPLC) program engages youth ages 18-20 who were previous participants of the SCA’s Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) program for high school students. The FPLC is designed to be the next step for young adults to gain extensive conservation, leadership, and communication skills needed to pursue a career in conservation and related fields.

This program is managed by Friends of the Forest Preserves (FOTFP) and SCA in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC). Five interns and one adult crew leader participated in the seven-month FPLC program during its first year. Participants worked 25 hours per week to encourage part-time attendance at college. All program participants had successfully completed at least one summer in the Chicago CLC Program and some had been a part of the SCA’s year-round high school programming.

The FPLC crew worked as a team and traveled across the county to perform a variety of conservation work at 33 different sites. The majority of their work consisted of invasive species removal. However, the crew had the opportunity to collect, process, and disperse native seed for ecological restoration projects. They also performed trail maintenance work and assisted FPDCC staff with the implementation of prescribed fires; helped lead volunteer workdays at forest preserve sites; and built and increased social networking opportunities for alumni of the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps Programs.

Trainings Offered: 

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Aid Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Outdoor Ethics
  • Chainsaw certification
  • Prescribed burn training – Chicago Wilderness Midwest Ecological Prescription Burn Training
  • Invasive Plant training including herbicide applicators liscense – State of Illinois Pesticide Public Operator License
  • Trail Skills

Eligibility Requirements: 

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must pass a background check. Other requirements vary by position. Members receive monthly living stipends and a housing and commuting allowance, and commute back and forth to the worksites each day.