Conservation Crew FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money should I bring?
This is our most common question and a difficult one to answer because most people have different spending habits. If you plan to cook in the house, don’t spend a lot of time downtown, and don’t plan on taking a lot of road trips, you can easily get by on $50 per week. If you will rent cars and take road trips to places like Vegas, LA, San Diego, or San Francisco most off periods, count on spending closer to $150 per week. And if you go out a lot, plan on at least $200 per week. This does not include initially purchasing your sleeping bag, backpacks, sleeping pad, work boots, etc.
What are the costs involved?
There is no fee to join the program. ACE provides housing, transportation, tools, safety equipment, and food during work days. The Corps Members pay for their insurance and travel expenses to the designated meeting location. We recommend that those who need insurance contact www.bestshorttermplan.com.
How long can I serve for?
Individuals are welcome to serve with ACE anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months or longer. The minimum stay is 12 weeks.
Will I receive a stipend during my term of service?
Conservation Corps Members will receive a stipend and Education Award.
Is there an age limit?
Yes, we only accept those aged between 18 to 30 and update to age 35 for veterans.
Are there any physical requirements?
Projects will be in the outdoors in all types of weather. Extensive hiking is often involved, sometimes in extreme conditions such as elevations above 9,000 feet (3,000 meters), 100 degree F heat (35C), freezing temperatures, steep terrain, rainstorms, high winds, etc. Corps Members should be generally fit, comfortable with living outdoors and flexible enough to enjoy the challenges presented by fickle weather conditions. Reasonable fitness is definitely a necessity. Due to the high elevations and the rigor of the tasks involved, ACE is NOT recommended for individuals with respiratory problems such as asthma.
Do I need any previous conservation experience?
Corps Members need no experience in practical conservation. The only requirements are a sense of adventure, a passion for environmental conservation, and a willingness to remain flexible and positive through ever changing project work, locations, and weather conditions.
How many days per week are the projects?
The typical ACE schedule is 8 days on and 6 days off, however it can vary quite a bit. If you are on a more local project you could work 4 days on and 3 days off. Or, if you are on a more distant project that requires extensive travel you might be on a project that lasts from 4-8 weeks and off-days will be spent at or near the project location. Please prepare to be flexible regarding project location and duration.
What are the accommodations during projects?
Most projects are in remote locations and virtually all involve camping. Corps Members should bring warm sleeping bags and sleeping pads to use during projects. Most projects are in remote locations without any developed facilities such as showers or toilets. However, occassionally we stay at developed campgrounds with warm showers and pit toilets.
Is food provided?
Food is only provided on projects. When ACE Corps Members are on projects they cook with their teams, taking turns preparing meals for the group, washing up and keeping camp clean.
Can I choose my projects?
Corps Members often have the opportunity to be on a wide variety of projects, however some projects require the same crew for multiple weeks. Corps Members are not able to choose their projects, but ACE staff will be more willing to accommodate project requests if you have proven yourself to be an invaluable Corps Member.
Projects are dependent on weather, nesting and migrating seasons of native wildlife, immediate needs of project partners, etc. Friends and couples that come to ACE together should keep in mind that they cannot count on ending up on the same projects, or even have their days off at the same time.
What are the accomodations between projects?
Corps Members stay in either student apartments or one of the volunteer houses in Flagstaff, Santa Cruz, St George, or Asheville on days when they are not taking part in projects. The apartments have a washer/dryer, and the houses have a laundromat just a few blocks away. Housing is communal, with up to 3 bunk beds per room and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. This is where volunteers store the luggage they’re not bringing on projects, such as suitcases and sport bags. There’s also a safe in the office for passports, tickets, and other smaller valuables.
What do I need to bring?
These are items you MUST bring on every project:
- HEALTH INSURANCE (You will not be permitted to serve without health insurance)
- Sleeping bag (rated 15F/ -10C or below)
- Thermarest or comparable sleeping pad
- Large backpack (3,000 cubic inches/50 litres or larger)
- Leather hiking boots or work boots (they must end above your ankles)
- Long work pants (jeans or Carhartts)
- Water resistant rain jacket and rain pants
- Pullover, sweatshirt and other warm clothing. Do not make the mistake of bringing only summer clothing unless you intend to buy warm clothes in Flagstaff
- Warm gloves and hat
- Daypack (smaller backpack for work days. You’ll put your lunch, water and whatever else you’ll need during the day in it)
What to do during your free time?
ACE Corps Members enjoy up to 6 days off every two weeks. One of the benefits of ACE is the ability to use this time to travel with new friends, explore endless beautiful areas, and to socialize.
Members, Keep in mind that ACE has a zero tolerance policy towards alcohol, drugs, and weapons in all housing locations. If you are under 21 and do not want to spend months without drinking alcohol, unfortunately you will not be able to participate in ACE. But we fully expect that the type of person interested in conservation service will enjoy plenty of recreational activities not involving alcohol.
I've been accepted as a Corps Member, but I am having trouble navigating the my.americorps.gov website, do you have any resources to help with this?
We sure do! Please check out this Guide to My AmeriCorps presentation.