About Us

P-CREW Mission statement:

To develop the next generation of natural resource stewards through work experience, field-based education, personal growth, and professional development.

What we do:

  • Offer a 5-week professional and immersive residential conservation program
  • Hire 44 youth, 10th-12th grade, each summer to work, live, camp, and play in the forests of the northern Sierra Nevada
  • Perform a wide range of conservation projects such as: trail maintenance, fuel reduction, invasive species removal, fencing, and more
  • Engage youth in sustainable outdoor recreation and education
  • Break down social barriers by mixing urban and rural participants
  • Create a safe space for participants to foster personal growth

Why we do it:

  • To increase understanding of public land management
  • To expose youth to natural resource careers
  • To empower youth by encouraging growth outside of their comfort zone
  • To maintain the health of the Feather River Watershed and surrounding forests
  • To develop the next generation of environmental stewards
  • To provide job skills and experience to build a professional resume

P-CREW History

The Plumas Conservation, Restoration, and Education in Watersheds program (P-CREW) was established with funding from Fire Settlement dollars on the Plumas National Forest from lawsuits won by the US Forest Service.  Fire settlement funds are used for costs associated with fighting the fires and projects such as P-CREW that work to restore the fire areas in the years after and educate the public.

Earl Ford, the then supervisor of the Plumas National Forest, envisioned a youth program that engaged students from both the top of the Feather River Watershed in rural Plumas county with downstream student users from the East Bay area of San Francisco. Students would work to restore fire scarred landscapes and learn the importance of mitigating catastrophic wildfires. He approached Sierra Institute and we happily agreed to partner on this project.

After a year of planning, P-CREW launched its first summer of 2 crews in 2015. For the first two summers all projects were done with Plumas National Forest in the wildfire foot prints. Projects ranged from invasive species removal, to building burn piles by hand, to removing deer guzzlers that were destroyed in the fire and installing new ones.

As the demand for conservation crews grew and the word of P-CREW’s success spread, we were able to double the amount of youth participants (now 44) and projects accomplished in 2018 by adding two more summer crews for a total of four each summer.

In 2020 P-CREW will field four youth crews mainly working with Lassen National Forest maintaining and clearing the trails in the Caribou Wilderness. Other 2020 project partners include Plumas National Forest  and The Feather River Land Trust.


P-Crew Staff



P-CREW Manager

Ashley manages Plumas Conservation, Restoration, and Education in Watersheds (P-CREW), bringing rural and urban youth together to perform landscape restoration projects in the northern Sierra. She has a B.S. in Agronomy (Soil Science and Environmental Quality) and a minor in Geology from Iowa State University. She came to California in 2011 to join a conservation corps and immediately fell in love with the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the corps life. She’s thrilled to be in a position that helps youth from a variety of backgrounds have a positive experience living and working in the mountains while connecting with nature. Ashley is also an Indian Valley Recreation and Parks District Board member and helps coach the local 5th/6th grade soccer team.



Financial Manager & Crew Member Experience Specialist

For the past 30 years, Amy has led outdoor education and leadership training trips throughout the U.S., including the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. She serves as the Crew Member Experience Specialist and Alumni Communications Coordinator for P-CREW. In addition to the diverse experience in outdoor leadership programming Amy brings to our youth programs, she has also served as the financial manager for the organization since 1998. In her spare time, you can find Amy hiking with her dogs, working diligently in her garden, and serving as the community mom to the youth of Indian Valley.

Amy Stephens

Amy Stephens

Field Coordinator

Amy joined the Sierra Institute in 2019 as the P-CREW Assistant Coordinator, helping participants gain hands-on experience performing a variety of natural resource conservation projects. Amy received a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Northern Michigan University. Prior to working with youth, Amy has experience working with various organizations performing trail work, data collection, and habitat restoration in the Northern Rockies as well as Northern Michigan. In her free time Amy enjoys hiking, painting, and exploring the northern Sierra Nevada.