California Conservation Corps and the UC California Naturalist Program

Oct 18, 2019

California Conservation Corps and the UC California Naturalist Program

Oct 18, 2019

Over 3,000 Corpsmembers graduate from the California Conservation Corps (CCC) every year. Some jump right into the workforce, but many enroll in college courses or seek additional training and professional development.

The CCC Brad Duncan Scholarship provides $2,000 to Corpsmembers who complete a full year of service and the core training program requirements. An additional second year scholarship of $2000 is available to qualified Corpsmembers.Until recently, Corpsmembers were not able to use their scholarship toward a UC California Naturalist certification course. That just changed. Now, California Naturalist courses offered by all our partners are eligible to accept the CCC Brad Duncan Scholarship as long as our partner organization completes a standard form from the State of California. The CCC Brad Duncan Scholarship can only be used to further education or training after completion of one year in the CCC. It expires two years after a Corpsmember leaves the CCC. The scholarship can be used to cover tuition, books, supplies, transportation, room, and board.

The California Naturalist course is a perfect opportunity for Corpsmembers to continue their learning. Like the CCC, the California Naturalist program emphasizes experiential learning with lots of hands-on and field based activities. The California Naturalist Certification is increasingly recognized as an asset for job-seekers in environmental education and natural resource management fields. In addition, Corpsmembers can access four general education credits from UC-Davis Extension (now Continuing and Professional Education) if they are interested in furthering their studies. 

The California Naturalist program was recently awarded a UC ANR Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) grant that will help us tailor certain aspects of the California Naturalist course to the needs of Corpsmembers. A pilot course hosted by UC ANR's Hopland Research and Extension Center will serve Corpsmembers based at the CCC residential camp in Ukiah. Three other residential camp representatives will also participate with the expectation of replicating the course in other regions of the state in subsequent years.

With over 45 California Naturalist partners around the state, and new partners joining every year, Corpsmembers will likely find a course within an hour of their current residence. We hope all our California Naturalist partners will unlock this new opportunity for young Corpsmembers. We think it is a perfect match that bodes well for the future stewardship of California's natural resources.


By Gregory Ira
Author - Director, UC California Naturalist Statewide Program