Colorado Youth Corps Association Participates in Natural Resources Career Fair

Story and photo taken from the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) Facebook page.

On Wednesday, May 15, more than 75 students, eight teachers and nine natural resources organizations gathered at the West Generation Academy in Denver for the Exploring Natural Resources Careers Fair. The goal was to inspire youth to pursue natural resources careers and educate “career influencers,” such as educators, school counselors and nonprofit staff about these exciting career paths. Tony Dixon, national director of the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps, kicked off the event by giving an inspiring speech about his early exposure to the outdoors and his rise in the field. 

Unlike typical job fairs, students had the opportunity to circulate in groups and spend 20 minutes at each of four stations designed to engage students in interactive activities. Students had the opportunity to take distance measurements, look at survey equipment, and pass around fossils and examples of types of dinosaurs found on public lands. At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service station, students participated in an interactive card game related to career qualifications. Stations were hosted by the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service – Job Corps, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Southwest Conservation Corps, Ecotech Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Colorado State University. 

The students were impressed with the setup. When asked what he learned, one student exclaimed, “I learned that I can get paid for having fun!” We love hearing this kind of feedback – and find it to be true ourselves! 

Katie Navin, executive director of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, which was instrumental in the implementation and creation of this fair, said, "Nationally, we know we need to engage more students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), but rarely do we think about natural resources professionals in that category. This is such a unique opportunity for students to get an interactive look at a day in the life of natural resource and STEM-based careers, and help students build a pathway to pursue those opportunities." 

This fair was hosted as part of the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative led by CYCA and the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education.