Hosted by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in collaboration with multiple federal, Tribal, and non-governmental organizations, the Native Youth Climate Adaptation and Leadership Congress (NYCALC) is an experiential, youth-driven conservation leadership training program for Native high school and college-age youth. 

The goal of NYCALC is to empower Native youth to become Tribal conservation leaders by supporting their existing cultural practices and resiliency while offering leadership development and adaptive skills training that will help them address future environmental challenges in their communities. The congress also offers an opportunity to reshape the relationship between Tribes and federal agencies, and to support Tribal sovereignty in conservation practices. 

This event is held each year in July at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. 

Mission Statement

The mission of NYCALC is to develop future conservation leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools to address environmental change and conservation challenges to better serve their schools and home communities.

Program Goals

  • Provide a unique, meaningful, and inclusive experience in a safe learning environment for all participants
  • Provide training for Native youth, Jr. Faculty, community mentors, and conservation professionals (conservation, leadership)
  • Increase awareness of environmental issues
  • Motivate and inspire ownership and empowerment related to the future well-being of their tribe and community
  • Cultivate and nurture emerging youth leaders
  • Learn from each other and their respective cultures
  • Empower communities to implement or continue existing programs via mini-grant opportunities
  • Make personal and professional lifetime connections
  • Broaden the awareness of the roles and responsibilities of conservation agencies and organizations
  • Improve federal employee and Native leadership cultural competencies and relationships through training

Program Partners

NYCALC is possible thanks to partnerships with Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, South Central Climate Science Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey, and New Mexico Wildlife Federation. 
Photos by U.S. Fish and Wildlife
This program is created in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service,
Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, and New Mexico Wildlife Federation.