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Youth Work At Conserving Energy In National Parks

Valley Forge National Historical Park

National Park News

As part of the focus on youth programs, climate change, and sustainability, Valley Forge National Historical Park recently launched a regional Youth Conservation Corps Energy Conservation Corps (ECC) pilot program.   The YCC participants work with staff from the divisions of maintenance and interpretation in parks where they were assigned, providing energy audits and weatherization, as well as energy conservation presentations and outreach to park visitors. This is the first year for the program and the first of its kind. 

The pilot program involved six young adults from the Philadelphia area.

Program participants spent two weeks attending training at the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help people save energy and to promote a sustainable and socially equitable energy future for all in the Philadelphia region.

Participants learned about building science, weatherization and energy audits. They then took these skills and performed basic weatherization projects on buildings at Valley Forge National Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site, and Independence National Historical Park.

Also, the participants visited Hampton National Historical Site and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine to see first hand how geothermal principals and other new-age conservation methods and alternative energy sources are being used to conserve energy in historic structures.

In addition, participants provided the visiting public information on energy efforts that they can do in their own homes to reduce energy consumption in order to preserve resources for the future and reduce environmental pollution.  Outreach programs were also conducted at a local state park, area zoos, partner organizations, and corporate stewards such as REI and the North Face stores.

Nathan Gilbert, a member of the YCC-ECC Team, says that the program's training taught him how to do energy audits in homes which he found valuable.      

"It was surprising just how much air can leak through a small crack surrounding a window. These small leaks can add up, making your heating and cooling system work harder which adds up to a big cost with your energy bills” Nathan stated.

This fall, the program will be reviewed by management to be considered for future development. 

For more information on this program, including photos and videos, visit the Energy Conservation Corps’s blog at


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