Kauai News

Conservation-based summer program accepting applicants on Kaua‘i

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Kupu, a leading conservation and youth education nonprofit in the State of Hawai‘i, is preparing to host its 2023 Hawai‘i Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program.

The program offers an intensive hands-on experience in the world of conservation on Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island, according to Kupu organizers.

But the deadline to apply is quickly approaching: those interested must submit their application by Friday, Feb. 17.

The program runs for seven weeks from June 5 through July 23. If selected, participants are partnered within a team of like-minded individuals. Each week, they will explore and serve within a different partner site, which holds new adventures, challenges, teachings and opportunities for personal growth. Participants will get to learn about a variety of ecosystems, natural resource management techniques, and cultural practices unique to Hawai‘i.


“We’re looking for motivated individuals to join us as either Team Members or Team Leaders,” explains Kupu Recruiting Specialist Anna Garcia. “Team members are typically between the ages of 17 and 22 and often complete the program between school semesters. The ideal applicant is someone with a positive attitude, curious about nature, interested in learning, and a desire to strengthen their community through service.”

  • Kupu team members smile in the forest of Kalalau on the northwest side of Kaua‘i. Photo Courtesy: Kupu
  • The Kaua‘i Natural Area Reserve on the Nā Pali coast offers breathtaking views. Photo Courtesy: Kupu

Team member benefits include the Volunteer Service Award that members receive upon completion of the program, which has been raised to $1,000 this year. In addition to the monetary award, the program offers First Aid & CPR certification and a $1,374.60 AmeriCorps Education Award (similar to a scholarship). Most importantly, it also offers the chance to gain valuable experiential environmental education, build close relationships with their peers, and strengthen life skills relevant to any career.

“Participating in HYCC-Summer is such a great way to not only give back to the environment, but to truly grow as an individual,” Garcia said. “You’ll gain a broader perspective, become more knowledgeable about the world around you, and you’ll form such strong bonds with your peers. On the professional end, visiting so many different host sites will help you figure out what type of work you enjoy most and would like to pursue in the future.”


Team Leader benefits include compensation raised to $15 per hour in 2023, plus overtime as applicable and fringe benefits. Team Leaders will have the chance to network with conservation professionals and potential employers. 

“Team Leaders hold a greater responsibility and will have the opportunity to really strengthen their leadership skills throughout the program,” Garcia explained. “The Team Leader role is available to those 21 and older. They are the backbone for the team, responsible for assisting, coordinating and inspiring the members each day. Ideally, applicants have experience in leading groups and have knowledge pertaining to unique Hawaiʻi native plants, and customs. They play an integral role in the success of the program and forming the experience the members have.”

Host Sites: In order to provide the participants with a wide range of experiences, Kupu partners with nonprofit organizations and government agencies that mentor the teams and guide them through conservation projects. As a Kupu partner, the organization will receive extra support at an affordable rate, with the option to host teams for 1-6 weeks.


Team Members and Leaders may apply online here. The participant application deadline is Feb. 17.

Host Sites may apply online here. The host site application deadline is Jan. 28.

For more information, Kupuhawaii.org/hycc-summer/.

For questions, email hyccsummer@kupuhawaii.org or call 808-735-1221 Ext. 2001.

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