American Conservation Experience (ACE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewarding environmental service opportunities that harness the idealism and energy of a volunteer labor force to help restore America’s public lands. ACE is grounded in the philosophy that cooperative labor on meaningful conservation projects fosters cross-cultural understanding and operates on the belief that challenging volunteer service unites people of all backgrounds in common cause.
Founded by Chris Baker in 2004 in Flagstaff, Arizona, ACE was originally formed under the conservation corps model, providing a range of voluntary service programs for both American and international participants.
The creation of ACE had humble beginnings. Operating with a three-person staff and one crew, Chris expanded ACE’s service footprint into a nationally recognized organization offering direct service in 42 states and 3 territories, providing countless conservation opportunities and member placements.
With the help of a dedicated team, Chris developed enduring, nationally-scaled partnerships with multiple federal land management agencies and dozens of federal, state, municipal, and nonprofit partnerships to grow ACE to where it is today.
Chris’ vision and passion for the natural world and volunteerism has and will continue to inspire our staff, our members and our organization for years to come.
ACE remains a nationally recognized leader in the conservation community engaging thousands of young adults in the accomplishment of practical environmental restoration projects in America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
ACE offer's various programs with our main focus on 2 main programs: ACE CREW and ACE EPIC
ACE CREW: ACE’s Conservation Crew program is for American participants, aged 18-35 who are considering land management as a career path or potential course of study. Members serve in professionally supervised teams as they explore future outdoor careers, learn practical field skills, and develop confidence as emerging leaders in the field of conservation. Working alongside staff from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and many other public land agencies, members gain invaluable career perspectives and mentorship in a variety of areas. Crew members may apply for 3, 6, 9 month or longer terms, with opportunities for extensions, as well as possibilities to move up in the program to become Assistant Leaders or staff as Crew Leaders, Project Managers, and beyond.
Members are supported during their service terms with a cost of living allowance, transportation and food on projects, and free common housing on off days in most locations. Participants are also able to earn Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards commensurate with their chosen term of service. Education awards can be used post-term for expenses such as tuition, student loans or fees, and a breadth of study or certification courses, including many offered by NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). ACE Conservation Crew offers a variety of terms at our different locations. Please visit our Locations page for more information on what adventures each of our Crew division locations have to offer!
ACE EPIC: ACE EPIC individual placements and fellowships provide recent graduates with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers. The EPIC Program not only provides an invaluable step for those seeking a link between the academic and professional worlds but also allows members to explore, connect, and preserve America’s natural and cultural resources as they gain professional skills and cultivate their careers in the resource management field. EPIC operates in coalition with partners such as the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other conservation focused groups. Positions available through EPIC and its partners are spread across a wide range of specialized conservation oriented vocations and typically last 2-12 months.
EPIC members often have degrees and/or experience in disciplines such as, but not limited to: conservation or wildlife biology, botany, ecology, entomology, forestry, geography, archaeology, paleontology, geology, environmental sciences, recreation or natural resources management, or cultural resources. Members earn a cost of living allowance and are provided with either dormitory housing at their service location or a housing allowance. ACE is a proud partner and supporter of AmeriCorps, and many EPIC positions allow members the opportunity to earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.