Youth Environmental Conference

About

The Youth Environmental Conference is a weekend conference geared toward West Virginia youth, ages 13-18. The event is held annually during the fall and typically is hosted by one of West Virginia's state parks. The highlight of the conference is a Saturday field trip during which attendees visit area points of interest, while learning about conservation and the environment. Participants also attend environmental workshops that focus on topics such as recycling, clean water and wildlife. Guest speakers each year highlight careers in environmental fields. The inaugural Youth Environmental Conference was held in 1976 in Beckley.


46th Annual Youth Environmental Conference

For the second straight year, COVID forced us to cancel our in-person Youth Environmental Conference (YEC), which had been scheduled for Oct. 1-3 at Cacapon State Park. Instead, we once again put together a virtual YEC, this year focusing on jobs related to conservation. Maybe by watching our videos you'll discover a career that interests you and learn what steps are needed to work in that field. All videos are also available on the DEP's YouTube channel, "Environment Matters," as well as our Facebook page. The 2022 YEC is scheduled for October 7-9 at Twin Falls State Park. We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Virtual Youth Environmental Conference. This week, we'll be exploring environmentally related careers here in West Virginia. We begin the week with a chat with Craig Pyles - Park Superintendent at Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park in Wood County.

Learn More

Meet Craig Pyles

 
Craig is the superintendent at Blennerhassett Island State Park in Wood County.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The 2021 Virtual Youth Environmental Conference continues its Careers in Conservation Series with a conversation with Carrie Denvir from the Huntington Stormwater Utility.

Learn More

Meet Carrie Denvir

 
Carrie works for the City of Huntington's stormwater department.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The 2021 Virtual Youth Environmental Conference continues with a conversation with Park Ranger Adrienne Jenkins - Volunteer Coordinator at the New River National Park and Preserve.

Learn More

Meet Adrienne Jenkins

 
Adrienne is the volunteer coordinator for the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.


Thursday, October 28, 2021

This week's Virtual Youth Environmental Conference continues with a conversation with Rachel Braud. Rachel is an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pest Survey Specialist for West Virginia and Kentucky.

Learn More

Meet Rachel Braud

 
Rachel is an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the pest survey specialist for West Virginia and Kentucky.


Friday, October 29 2021

The 2021 Virtual Youth Environmental Conference wraps up its Careers in Conservation​ series with a conversation with Kayla Bowyer. Kayla is a State Park Naturalist and Program Coordinator at Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County.

Learn More

Meet Kayla Bowyer

 
Kayla is program coordinator at Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Careers in Conservation

  • Raptor Rescue

    West Virginia resident Jo Santiago describes her work with raptors and educational outreach as part of the Forest Service International Program. She takes care of six permanently injured birds, including two that she has featured in this video: a red-tailed hawk and a bald eagle.

The Migratory Raptor Program: A Red-tailed Rescue
  • DNR Law Enforcement

    Conservation officers with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources do more than enforce the laws that govern the Mountain State’s hunters and anglers. Learn more about their role in West Virginia and the path to becoming a DNR conservation officer. This Careers in Conservation segment is part of the DEP's 2020 Youth Environmental Program Virtual Conference.

    Learn More:

  • Nature Photography

    District Two YEP coordinator Susan Parker interviews Tyler Evert, with the WV Division of Commerce about his exciting career as a nature photographer.

  • Forestry

    Interested in a career in Forestry? Listen in as we talk with Craig Minton, Forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry’s District 6 Headquarters. Craig has over 35 years of experience managing West Virginia’s beautiful forest lands.

  • Water Industry

    Doug and Shanti Amos discuss the variety of possible careers in the water industry.

  • Glenville State

    A promo video for Glenville State College.

  • Jobs at WV DEP

    A video discussing careers at WV DEP.

  • Recycling

    What’s it like to be a scientist in sustainability? Meet Ernie Simpson, Global VP of Research & Development and Chief Scientist at TerraCycle.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Virtual Tour around West Virginia

  • West Virginia Wildlife Center

    Beth Henry-Vance with the Youth Environmental Program takes a trip to the West Virginia Wildlife Center in Upshur County, which is home to native and introduced species such as elk, bison, mountain lions, bobcats, bears, deer and a famous groundhog named French Creek Freddie. The center is open year-round, and features a trail, picnic areas, gift shop and fishing area.

  • Cedar Creek State Park

    Come along with us as we explore Cedar Creek State Park in Gilmer County near Glenville, West Virginia, thru the eyes of Forester, Jesse King. Cedar Creek’s rolling hills and wide valleys covering over 2,500 wooded acres provide the perfect place for exploring nature and having fun in the great outdoors.

  • Tygart Lake

    Located in Taylor County near Grafton, West Virginia, Tygart Lake offers a variety of outdoor activities. The DEP's Shanti Amos is your host for this "virtual" tour, which is part of the DEP's 2020 Youth Environmental Program Virtual Conference.

  • Trout Pond Recreation Area

    The DEP's Susan Parker is our host for this "virtual" tour, which is part of the DEP's 2020 Youth Environmental Program Virtual Conference.

  • Forks of Coal State Natural Area

    The 100-plus acre Forks of Coal State Natural Area, just south of Charleston, is a nature lover’s dream with miles of scenic trails. In 2021, the site will be even more of an attraction when a state of the art education center opens on the property. The DEP's Tom Aluise is our guide for this "virtual" tour, which is part of the DEP's 2020 Youth Environmental Program Virtual Conference.

  • Cathedral Falls

    Located alongside US 60 in Fayette County, West Virginia, Cathedral Falls is both scenic and easy to access. This "virtual" tour is part of the DEP's 2020 Youth Environmental Program Virtual Conference.

Photo Gallery

Below are photos from the 2019 conference, including pictures of the recycling craft winners.

Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house and a robot.
Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house and a robot.
Two YEC award winners pose, each with a bird house.
Two YEC award winners pose, each with a bird house.
Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house and a diarama.
Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house and a diarama.
YEC award winner poses with a model of a forest.
YEC award winner poses with a model of a forest.
Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house.
Two YEC award winners pose with a bird house.
YEP group photo.
YEP group photo.
YEP counselor talking with two attendees.
YEP counselor talking with two attendees.
YEP counselor assisting two attendees.
YEP counselor assisting two attendees.
YEP attendee balancing on a rope ladder course.
YEP attendee balancing on a rope ladder course.
YEP group photo at the rope ladder course.
YEP group photo at the rope ladder course.

Conference History

The inaugural Youth Environmental Conference was held in 1976 in Beckley. The YEC is a weekend conference in the fall filled with field trips and environmental activities geared toward youth between the ages of 13 and 18. The participants attend environmental workshops on subjects such as recycling, clean water, wildlife, etc.

The 2019 conference was hosted in September by Hawks Nest State Park in Fayette County. Conference participants visited the Canyon Rim Visitors Center, Fayette Station and Adventures on the Gorge.

The 2021 conference was scheduled for October 1-3 at Cacapon State Park, but COVID forced us to cancel our in-person conference and put together another virtual YEC.

The 2022 conference is scheduled for October 7-9 at Twin Falls tate Park.


​​​​​​