Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI)

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute(YCLI) is a recognition program for High School (9th-12th) students that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship. YCLI offers high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues. Students choose projects that they are interested in to carryout in their community. The program is open to any Virginia high school (9th-12th grade) student committed to the entirety of the program including:

  • Completion of at least 20 community service hours to be approved by the VASWCD staff.
  • Submission of one interim and final report/presentation on the community work completed.
  • Attendance at the final recognition program to be held in Spring of 2022
  • Read an assigned book on environmental leadership for a group discussion

Look for the 2022-23 program year application in September 2022.

Lexi Howard, a senior at Heritage High School, participated in YCLI during the 2020-21 school year by creating “Project Pollinate”. She used a variety of ways to educate schools and the community about the importance of pollinators (video, website, education tables, handouts, posters) as well as participated in multiple restoration plantings in local parks in the spring to help plant native plants in support of pollinators. Visit her website to learn more!

Other YCLI Projects Include:

  • Building birdhouses for Warblers
  • Teaching elementary students about watersheds
  • Developing and Installing Trail Signage
  • Litter Clean Ups
  • Clothing Drive
  • Education Outreach about being an Intern with the Elizabeth River Project
  • Conservation Education Outreach to Elementary Students
  • Stormwater Education Outreach
  • Pollinator Gardens
  • Soil Compaction Education & Outreach to Homeowners

What past participants have said about YCLI:

“My favorite part was teaching others and sharing my message.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant

“Being able to help my community while having support.”-2019-2020 YCLI Participant

“Being able to present about my project to my peers from across the state and compare similarities and differences.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant

“I liked being able to come up with my own project about something that was important to me, as well as the sense of accomplishment at the end.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant

“My favorite part of the program was implementing the project I helped plan and organize. I loved being able to see my ideas become a reality and I loved seeing how my project beneficially impacted students and adults in my community.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant

“Getting to make a change in the community for the better.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant

“This is one of the only programs in our area that allows students a one-on-one experience with people working in conservation.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant

“My favorite part of the program was meeting a mentor from the SWCD. This gave me insight into the filed of conservation and a way to stay involved. ” – 2016-2017 YCLI Participant

Questions? Please contact our Education Specialist:
(571) 918-4530 ext.109