C.R.E.W. provides technical skills training in fire prevention, forestry, habitat restoration, wildscaping, and creating/maintaining our backcountry trails. Environmental work offers an outdoor classroom for life skills as well: C.R.E.W. staff learn how this physically demanding work creates a lasting positive outcome on our local natural spaces. They develop friendships and meet leaders in related fields who offer career ideas and opportunities.
As we are often the first or second formal ‘job’ for many of our young staff, C.R.E.W. embraces educational opportunities out of the field as well. Workshops in communication, conflict resolution, resume writing, critical thinking, and so much more, provide skills that empower our staff to become stronger leaders, in the workplace and in the community.
RECREATIONAL TRAIL MAINTENANCE
The C.R.E.W. began with a partnership with the US Forest Service, under which The C.R.E.W. has maintained, improved and reconstructed more than 600 miles of Forest Service trails. These trails are in several Ranger Districts including Ojai, Santa Barbara and Mt. Pinos Districts.
C.R.E.W. staff have gone on spike-outs nearly every year since 1991, with teams hiking far into the backcountry to camp out while performing trail work over multiple consecutive days. For these trips, C.R.E.W. members receive advanced training in safety, personal work ethics, campsite responsibility, job skills, cooperation, leadership and backcountry survival skills.
Each year The C.R.E.W. performs trail maintenance several private and public groups such as Thacher School, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Ventura Land Trust, and private landowners who have made their property available for recreational use.
The C.R.E.W. does substantial year-round fire protection work. This includes creating over 40 miles of fuel break on the notorious Ojai Fuel Bed, as well as another 7 miles of above Frazier Park and Pine Mountain Club. The C.R.E.W.’s fire protection activities provide a proven career track for those wishing to pursue fire fighting positions.
The Ojai Valley Chipping & Fuel Reduction Program, in partnership with Ventura County Resource Conservation District, reduces the risk of wildfire for the high-risk Ojai Valley by removing woody debris and reducing this high-hazard fuel to wood chips (which can be reused in habitat restoration). Our backyard clearance program strives ensure defensible space for residents who are in need of additional support, including low-income seniors.
HABITAT RESTORATION PROJECTS
The C.R.E.W. takes pride in its role in habitat restoration projects, which contribute to the vitality of our wildlife and human communities. Projects include: