Caldera has a special partnership with the United States Forest Service called the Natural Resource Stewards Program. Caldera high school students can apply for paid summer internships with the USFS Sisters Ranger District, and gain firsthand experience of professions in the field of natural resource management. The videos and article below highlight student experiences in the Natural Resource Stewards Program.
Natural Resource Stewards 2016
Natural Resource Stewards 2015
Natural Resource Stewards 2014
In order to strengthen the connection between teenagers and the environment, and to introduce youth to professional pathways in natural resource management, Caldera launched its Natural Resource Stewards Program in Spring 2014.
Based on the ideas that nature inspires art, and that art is a profound tool for developing compassion and interest in the natural world, this program builds on six years of collaboration with the USFS Sisters Ranger District. Our partnership introduces Oregon youth to a unique intersection of arts and science learning. Students explore a range of topics, including archaeology, native seed planting, interpretative site planning, federal photography projects, and ecology.
The Natural Resource Stewards Program represents a major step forward in this partnership by offering Caldera high-school students and recent graduates a series of professional development opportunities and in-the-field, direct service learning on public lands. A group of eight Caldera students from Portland and Central Oregon became the first cohort of this program in 2014. These students met with natural resource management professionals from the USFS and the organization Discover Your Forest for an overnight immersive training at the Deschutes National Forest. Students learned about governmental roles and careers and natural resource politics, and attended workshops in résumé writing, job-interview skills, and group leadership. From there, four youth participated in full-time summer internships at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and in the forests of the Sisters Ranger District.
Student interns Dough Boy from Portland and Narwhal from Sisters spent eight weeks learning ecological concepts through fieldwork on trails and rivers. The duo successfully removed invasive species from more than 4,000 acres of forestland. Interns Pop Culture and Kiwi, both from Portland, spent four weeks in guest service roles in the offices, caves, and open expanses of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Bend.
In fall 2014, Caldera’s Natural Resource Stewards Program gained membership in the USFS 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a federal initiative to engage young people to protect, restore, and enhance America’s great outdoors. With an inaugural year of successes to build on—and additional support of community partners, such as Discover Your Forest, Oregon Natural Desert Association, Oregon State University-Cascades, Trout Unlimited, and Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area—the 2015 program offers year-round activities that will engage even more Caldera youth.
This year, spring activities kick-off in late May with ten Caldera youth attending USFS Career Field Days hosted by the Sisters Ranger District. Youth will explore a variety of career pathways through field trainings and professional development workshops, while experiencing an overnight at a Forest Service bunkhouse.
Thanks to this internship I gained social, environmental and personal skills. I now have a greater understanding of the habitat around me and I know how to make positive changes and observations. I gained friendships with my co-workers and I gained a better sense of self. – Narwhal, 11th grade, Sisters Rangers District Intern
An internship was an entirely foreign experience to me, and before this I had yet to even to the formal application process in order to get a job. Being able to work through the process successfully, and work alongside the Rangers was one of the biggest confidence boosters in my entire life. – Pop Culture, 12th grade, Newberry National Volcanic Monument