Veterans Corps connects veterans to the outdoors and provides a continued sense of community as they transition from military to civilian life.
Veterans participate in non-military AmeriCorps service as Conservation Field Crews restoring habitat, managing natural resources, and occasionally responding to natural disasters or community needs. The program prioritizes personal and professional growth while teaching hands-on conservation skills in the field.
Members develop technical skills throughout their term while completing challenging and impactful conservation projects. Members will be trained in a wide variety or skills and receive nationally recognized certifications and opportunities to network with professionals.
Natural resources projects vary by region and crew location, but may include:
- Invasive species management
- Stream bank stabilization, erosion control
- Prescribed burning
- Trail construction & maintenance
- Tree planting
- Basic carpentry
- Wild land fire suppression
- Emergency response
Serving with our Veterans Corps program is a full-time AmeriCorps experience that requires a six-month (2022) or 11-month (2023) commitment.
AmeriCorps is a national service program that addresses challenges in our communities through the dedicated service of its members. AmeriCorps members serve directly with nonprofit organizations (like Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa) to tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges. Members join to give back to their communities while gaining a foundation of marketable skills for natural resource careers. Veterans who join our Veterans Corps program are enrolled as AmeriCorps members, volunteering to serve their community through environmental stewardship.
Jump to Section
Members value hard work, community service, and environmental stewardship and join the Corps to give back to the community while gaining life-long skills.
Training & Certifications
Members receive formal training in power and hand tool safety and use, First Aid and CPR, defensive driving, trailer safety and operation, leadership and communication, wildland firefighting and prescribed burning, and other skills pertinent to regional location and projects, such as GPS or ATV training.
Transition to Civilian Life
Members will have opportunities to attend sessions on transitioning to civilian life and connecting to veteran services and resources.
Student Loan Forbearance
Qualified federal student loans may be put on forbearance during an AmeriCorps service term. Individuals should check with their loan-holder to determine if their loans are eligible.
AmeriCorps Education Award
After successfully completing an AmeriCorps service term, members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be used to pay for college or technical school or to pay back qualified student loans.
Other benefits include:
- Monthly living allowance
- Health insurance
- Housing allowance
- Member assistance fund
- Childcare assistance
Life in the Field
Members serve in three to six-person crews for 10-hour days, 40 hours each week. In general, service hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm with occasional Friday service or education days. Some projects require travel and overnight camping near the project site for several days at a time.
Members must secure their own housing within a reasonable commuting distance to their shop location. Staff can provide some resources to assist members in securing lower-cost housing if needed.
Spike trips are out-of-town service projects throughout the Midwest. During spike trips crews camp or stay in motels, depending on the weather. Food expenses, lodging expenses, and camping supplies are provided by the Corps during these trips. Spike trips vary in length from 4 to 12 days.
Veterans Corps Crew Locations
The Veterans Corps program is based in Rochester and Mankato, MN for the initial 2022 season with plans to expand to additional locations in 2023 and beyond.
Who to Contact
Questions? Contact Scott Schue, Veterans Corps Program Manager, at 763-276-3493.