NRC Youth Conservation Council now accepting applications

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications from youth ages 14 to 18 who are interested in a position on the Natural Resources Commission Youth Conservation Council. The council provides an academy-like structure offering youth an opportunity to gain leadership experience, explore outdoor recreation issues and participate in activities under the guidance of the DNR.

Applications will be accepted through Friday, April 28.

“Youth participation in outdoor activities continues to be a priority for the Department of Natural Rescources,” said Ray Rustem, the DNR’s Youth Conservation Council adviser. “The council provides a great opportunity for young people to discuss and share input and perspective on all aspects of Michigan’s outdoors and current and future recreation opportunities and involvement.”

The appointment is for two years, and members will be expected to participate in four meetings each year. At least two of the meetings will be offered as weekend training sessions at a conference facility; other meetings will be shorter with possible attendance through teleconferencing and/or web-based applications. Members also meet with local DNR staff to enhance their learning experience.

During the meetings, members participate in discussions, conduct research and brainstorm ideas about ways to protect, promote and enhance outdoor recreation and the use of Michigan’s natural resources.

In addition, members will be expected to:

Attend a Natural Resources Commission meeting.
Write and submit three articles on outdoor activities for the Youth Conservation Council blog.
Help develop and participate in local events to encourage kids to get outdoors.
From these meetings, it is hoped that members will develop recommendations for both the NRC and the DNR about policy, programs and even legislative changes that can boost young people’s interest and involvement in the outdoors, including hunting and fishing.

During their time on the council, members forge new friendships by working side by side with their peers, and Rustem said that’s a positive both for the members and for Michigan’s natural resources. “These kids have developed new friendships that, hopefully, will continue into the future,” he said. “It is these associations and the shared passion for hunting, fishing, camping and exploring Michigan’s woods and wildlife that provide a strong base for growing and sharing our state’s rich outdoor traditions.”

Rustem said the council also continues to explore the best uses of social media to engage youth, and already has developed a Facebook page, established a youth blog, and an Instagram photo-sharing site (#yccoutdoors) for youth to connect over their favorite outdoor photos.

Applications are available on the DNR website, along with a roster of frequently asked questions offering more detail about the Youth Conservation Council. Visit the DNR website at and find the NRC Youth Conservation Council under Youth Programs.

Completed applications must be postmarked by April 28, 2017, and mailed to:

NRC Youth Conservation Council
ATTN: Raymond Rustem
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909