MCC Expedition Crews work on a variety of conservation projects, all while camping together as a crew in locations throughout Montana, and occasionally Wyoming and Idaho. Expeditions are for Montana high schoolers ages 14 to 18 and run during the summer months of June - August. We run these expeditions as 2 or 4-week sessions. Learn more about Youth Expeditions and the benefits for MT teens!
Here is what a normal day looks like: Wake early to make breakfast for the crew, head to the project site to do stretch/safety circle, complete a full day or project work, lead an afternoon stretch, then head back to camp for CORE lessons and dinner.
Below are some of the things you can expect to do when leading a youth expedition.
Trail Maintenance and Construction
Our crews maintain the hiking, biking, stock, and ATV/Motorized trails the public loves to enjoy. The demands on our recreational infrastructure are at all time highs and the work we do is critical for the public to enjoy quality experiences on public lands. This work includes:
- Clearing trails of downed trees
- Cleaning out drainage structures such as waterbars and drain dips to keep the trail dry and help with erosion control
- Building bridges to help transport user groups across waterways
- Building turnpikes & puncheons to raise the trail surface in wet/muddy areas
- Brushing the trail corridor
- Building retaining walls to support the trail surface in vulnerable areas
Our crews do a variety of large landscape conservation work with the goal of protecting intact ecosystems in the face of dramatic climate changes. This includes:
- Managing invasive weeds (hand pulling, applying herbicide, biological control)
- Planting trees and shrubs for erosion control and habitat improvement
- Seed collection
- Fencing - this could include replacing barbed wire with wildlife friendly fencing or removing fencing all together
- Improving Sage grouse habitat through conifer removal
Group Camp Management and Cooking
Expedition Leaders are responsible for setting up clean and wildlife safe camps, managing group chores, and cooking for their crews. MCC provides funds to shop for food for expeditions and all dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
One of the most rewarding aspects of leading an Expedition Crew is the opportunity to mentor the next generation of land stewards. You will need to be patient, kind, supportive, and sometimes creative in your approach. Expedition Leaders have the chance to be a significant part of a young adult's life, while also having a positive impact on pubic lands in Montana.
Behavioral Health Management and Discipline
Leading Youth is a rewarding yet challenging experience. MCC will provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your crew. Expedition Leaders will have the opportunity to receive training in facilitative leadership, behavioral health support, and managing behavior using restorative justice to ensure they are adequately prepared to lead Montana teens!
Teamwork and Curriculum Facilitation
Expedition Leaders will lead a crew with a co-leader and must utilize teamwork and co-management skills to create a successful expedition for their participants. Leaders will also be responsible for facilitating educational and leadership lessons that compliment the work we do in the field. At MCC, we believe that when we meaningfully connect to a sense of place, to other people, to a sense of personal power, and to pathways into the future, we connect to a sense of purpose. These 4 Ps (place, people, power, and pathways) provide the foundation for our field curriculum.
Want to learn more about specific expedition crew projects? Check out these projects from previous years to get a sense of the great work that has been accomplished by our crews!
Mesic Restoration with the National Wildlife Federation
This Expedition Crew spent several hitches working alongside the National Wildlife Federation and several of our Big Sky Watershed Corps Members. Mesic restoration involves utilizing low tech process based techniques to restore habitat. Structural-starvation of wood and beaver dams in riverscapes is one of the most common impairments affecting riverscape health. They were installing BDA (Beaver Dam Analogs) and PALS (Post Assisted Log Structures) in order to create long lasting watershed improvements.
Trail Maintenance in the Pryor Mountains
This Expedition crew spent a hitch working on trails in the Pryor Mountains with the Bureau of Land Management Billings Field Office. The Pryor Mountains, just 40 miles south of Billings, are a unique island range rising out of the prairie formed by the erosion of uplifted sedimentary rock. This crew worked to re-establish tread on trail in the area, so others can safely enjoy this ecologically unique place!
Campground Maintenance and Weeding in Glacier
This Expedition crew got to spend a few hitches in Glacier National Park doing campground maintenance, weeding, painting picnic tables, installing fire rings, and may other essential tasks to keep campgrounds clean and open for the public. They even got to do Huckleberry surveys!