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Loyalhanna Watershed group seeks 6 conservation interns

Jeff Himler
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Loyalhanna Watershed Association
Interns with the 2018 Loyalhanna Watershed Association’s Youth Conservation Corps program repair a pedestrian bridge along Lookout Trail in Forbes State Forest.

The Loyalhanna Watershed Association is looking for six student interns to help with conservation and improvement projects this summer at Forbes State Forest.

High school seniors or older students who are enrolled in a college program have until March 1 to apply for a local 2019 Youth Conservation Corps internship, an eight-week program that is co-sponsored by the watershed group and the state Bureau of Forestry.

In operation for more than 30 years, the Loyalhanna program is one of the few remaining YCC efforts in the state, according to Susan Huba, executive director of the Ligonier Township-based watershed association.

Each student who successfully completes the program receives a $2,500 stipend that is sent to the school the student attends, to help pay for educational costs. “It’s a little bit more than they would make at an hourly rate,” Huba said.

In return for the scholarship, the interns complete supervised projects such as improving streams or ponds, painting signs and constructing or maintaining trails, pedestrian bridges or observation platforms.

“It’s anything that’s trail-oriented or involves public access,” Huba said of the tasks that may be assigned to interns.

“We add nice educational opportunities for them,” she said. “They get to work with experts in forestry,” while taking part in experiences such as caving, rafting and monitoring wildlife.

The program “provides an opportunity to develop a unique understanding and appreciation of our local natural resources and encourages students who are interested in pursuing a career in an environmental or related field,” according to a watershed association press release.

The watershed group is looking to get funding squared away for this year’s edition of the program, which is privately financed, Huba said.

In 2018, the program provided internships and work experience for five students.

To apply or for more information, contact [email protected] or 724-238-7560.

The Loyalhanna Watershed Association was founded in 1971 to conserve, protect and restore the natural resources of the 300-square-mile Loyalhanna Creek Watershed in Westmoreland County.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.