The CCC runs a wide range of activities in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, all designed to support young people’s professional development in the conservation field and contribute to surrounding communities.
Read on to learn more about each of the following:
- Volunteer Program
- Crew Leader Training Program
- Professional Development
- International Exchanges
- Community Outreach
In each country, we run local volunteer programs that provide an introduction to trail building & maintenance, camp life, minimizing your ecological impact, and large-scale conservation projects.
The structure and timing of CCC volunteer programs vary from country to country, but they all provide opportunities to experience the outdoors in a new way and to make a tangible difference in nearby communities by helping to maintain and improve local trails.
We welcome volunteers of all skill levels, whether you’re an experienced trail builder or simply looking for a fun and active way to give back. With the help of volunteers we have already built, improved, and maintained hundreds of kilometers of trails in all three countries of the South Caucasus region.
Crew leader training program
The Caucasus Conservation Corps aims to train future conservation leaders who will take the lead on land stewardship, trail design and maintenance, and other conservation initiatives happening in the region.
Each year, we provide training opportunities for new trail crew leaders to join our team. New crew leaders undergo a curriculum in sustainable trail design and maintenance, trail building skills and ergonomics, teamwork and crew management, tool maintenance and safe use, outdoor camping and cooking, risk management, effective communication and conflict management, Leave No Trace practices, and wilderness first aid.
Our curriculum was developed by our local team, taking best practices from conservation corps programs in the U.S. and adapting them to the local language and context in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
Once new crew leaders graduate from the program, they are eligible to lead crews of volunteers. Many crew leaders return for a second season or more. Experienced crew leaders are eligible to apply for the position of Crew Leader Trainer, who train the new cohorts of crew leaders.
In addition to working with the TCT and Trails For Change longer-term, CCC crew leaders have gone on to a wide range of positions in guiding, ecotourism, and graduate studies in the environmental field.
Crew leader applications for 2023 are now closed. Check back for opportunities in 2024.
Through the year, we work to support the professional development of our crew leaders and staff through a variety of activities:
Wilderness medicine training
In 2023, we hosted the region’s first Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course in Georgia for crew leaders and staff from Armenia and Georgia – a a major step forward in professionalization that increased the preparation and responsiveness of our trail crews, and strengthened the overall safety culture that we work to instill in our crews.
The WFR course is the gold standard in wilderness medicine training for outdoor educators and wilderness guides. The 10-day course provides essential training in wilderness medicine, leadership, and critical thinking for professionals and leaders working and traveling in outdoor, low-resource, and remote environments. During the course, students learn the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary.
In addition to the WFR course, we incorporate regular, shorter wilderness medicine training components into our other crew leader training and volunteer programs.
We partner with a variety individuals and organizations to supplement our trail work training with other perspectives on the natural world. Trainings have covered topics such as basic plant ID, eco-education on trails, interpretive planning for trails, and learning from protected area staff and rangers.
We are actively seeking more partnerships to expand this part of our program, so please get in touch if you are interested in collaborating.
As a core part of the CCC, we work to connect conservation leaders from across the region. We use trail crews as a platform for international exchange – creating opportunities for cross-border collaboration that can help build a more sustainable future for the Caucasus.
In 2023, we are hosting bilateral exchanges for trail crew leaders from Georgia-Armenia and Georgia-Azerbaijan.
In future years, the CCC aims to provide a forum for trilateral exchanges bringing together youth from all three countries of the South Caucasus to build relationships in a setting through which young people can explore their interests in nature, sustainability, hiking, and trail building.
We partner with communities around the regions on projects that will improve their environment, ecotourism infrastructure, and business opportunities. We aim to provide opportunities for young people from around the region to experience new parts of the Caucasus as well as opportunities for local people to participate in and help shape projects in their own region.
We also partner with protected areas, land management agencies, and tourism agencies on infrastructure projects.
We are working with a wide range of partners to understand current needs and skill gaps in the land management, ecotourism, conservation, and business sectors around the region. We aim for the CCC to be a vehicle to help fill those skill gaps and address our partners’ needs, so that our graduates can help advance the environmental field more broadly.
Partners & Sponsors
The Caucasus Conservation Corps program is funded with the generous support of the U.S. Forest Service International Programs and individual donors to the Transcaucasian Trail Association. The CCC is a collaborative partnership between the TCT and Trails For Change NGO, our core implementing partner in Armenia.
Together, we work with a wide range of partners across the region to implement high-impact projects related to trail development, environmental restoration, and sustainable tourism.
To become a TCTA member and support the CCC’s efforts to connect and inspire conservation leaders from the Caucasus, join here.