Conservation Corps
North Bay

Across the big red bridge from the bustle of San Francisco lie the rolling hills of redwoods and wildflowers of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This outdoor paradise is packed with tourists seeking “that shot” of the bridge. Less represented here are residents of the many diverse communities who live right next door.

The Conservation Corps North Bay teaches young people from these communities how to help conserve the natural spaces around them. We spent a day with one of the Corps’ work crews as they removed invasive plants from the hills overlooking the Golden Gate.

Conservation For All

Listen to a Conservation Corps trail crew at work, and you will hear mostly Spanish. By design, the Corps works with primarily Latinx high school students. Many crew members are from the Guatemalan neighborhoods in Richmond and San Rafael, just outside GGNRA.

The Corps teaches crew members about trail maintenance. How to remove invasive species and restore native plants. They also get school credit towards graduation. The goal is to not only involve BIPOC youth in conservation, but to show them how they can make a living protecting the nature in their own backyards.

A Day On the trail

This Land is Your Land

Spend a day in GGNRA, and you probably won't see many people from the neighborhoods that these Corps members call home. Lack of representation in the outdoors and conservation worlds in general are striking. This is especially true in areas like the Bay that also exhibit growing inequality between white and BIPOC communities.

This makes the work of the Conservation Corps North Bay all the more important. The training that they provide breaks down barriers. It inspires the next generation. If a kid from Richmond sees a ranger who looks like them, they see a world that they can be a part of.