Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

P-CREW Youth Corps Crew Members backpacking in Lassen Volcanic National Park. P-CREW provides youth participants with service and recreation experiences!
Gensee Valley is one of Plumas County's most secluded corners but is only minutes from our home base in Taylorsville!
Sierra Institute partners with the Plumas National Forest to survey and monitor Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged frogs in the headwaters of Spanish Creek, a tribuatary of the East Branch of the North Fork Feather River.
Our beautiful home - Indian Valley, CA
Members of Sierra Institute's Wilderness Fuels Module use crosscut saws to fell hazard trees in the wilderness of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
At our biomass utilization campus in Crescent Mills, CA, Sierra institute is innovating uses and processes for woody biomass generated from restoration projects.
Now thats a whole lot of public land!! Quite the view looking east from Grizzly Peak!

Watershed Restoration, Youth Stewardship, and Community Development in California's Lost Sierra!

Sierra Institute promotes healthy & sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource decision-making and management.

Sierra Institute operates crews throughout the Feather River watershed and beyond, with a focus on the northern Sierra Nevada. Our home base is located at the juncture of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains in Taylorsville, CA.

About Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

Sierra Institute has a long legacy as an advocate for rural forested communities and their headwater mountain landscapes. First established in Westwood, CA as Forest Community Research, Sierra Institute set to work exploring the social, economic, and ecological factors contributing to community health and wellness in the northern Sierra Nevada.

At our core, we strive to promote healthy & sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource decision-making and management. We achieve this by managing triple-bottom-line values throughout our organization and by establishing strong partnerships with regional land managers, Tribes, community leaders, researchers, and educators.

Today, Sierra Institute is based out of Taylorsville, CA, a rural community nestled in the southern corner of a large mountain meadow locally known as "Indian Valley". From our humble headquarters, we facilitate watershed collaborative groups throughout the state, including the South Lassen Watersheds Group (a 1 million-acre watershed collaborative) and are developing an innovative wood products campus in nearby Crescent Mills, CA.

Out in the woods, we have a number of crews working hard and getting dirty performing crucial on-the-ground stewardship of our forests. We are growing our capacity to implement restoration work and we operate seasonal restoration crews, natural resource field technicians, and a youth corps program. These include but are not limited to a Wilderness Fuels Module crosscut sawyer crew, a Wilderness Trail Crew, a Timber Marking/ Forestry Crew,  wildlife biologists, botanists, and our flagship youth program P-CREW (Plumas Conservation Restoration and Education in Watersheds).

The Employee Experience

Working at Sierra Institute will be both challenging and rewarding as you work with our capable team to innovate and implement new strategies for land management in some of the most diverse, beautiful, and quiet forest ecosystems found in California.

Sierra Institute heavily values the investment made in our staff members and we provide our crews with professional certifications needed to accomplish their job duties (including USFS chainsaw and crosscut, Basic 32 Wildland Firefighting training, Timber Cruising certification, and Social and Emotional Learning), training in Wilderness First Aid, and opportunities to grow and develop professionally within our organization.

Sierra Institute is involved with regional efforts to train and develop a restoration workforce in northern California and we reflect our commitment to workforce expansion by creating pathways across disciplines in conservation so skills and perspectives are shared between our various crews and staff members.

We have built close partnerships with regional education institutions including Feather River College, the University of Nevada Reno, and CSU Chico and strive to provide students opportunities to enter the workforce through our Social Science, Collaborative Forestry, and Field Crew Apprentice positions.

Our region is rural and predominately Caucasian, but our crews draw people from across the state and country to work together towards collective objectives. Your time with Sierra Institute will be enriched by the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of your fellow crew members and the knowledge and expertise of our permanent staff.

Ideal Candidate

Sierra Institute is driven to serve rural, forested communities and lends direction, purpose, and knowledge, expertise when needed to assist in natural resource and community-based decision making. Successful employees of Sierra Institute are those who can be adaptable and resilient to change, are capable of accepting and managing challenges and uncertainties, and possess an earnest willingness to listen to and respect multiple perspectives.

We expect our field staff to meet these same standards while being capable of adapting to field settings and remaining passionate for the physical and rewarding work they perform. Field staff should be safety-conscious and spatially aware and capable of communicating and working closely with their crew members, leaders, and managers.

Those interested in working with our P-CREW Youth Corps program should also bring to the table past experience working with youth, considerable patience, and a willingness to work with the needs of each student. Ideal candidates also possess empathy and compassion towards the perspectives and feelings of youth and the emotional and social intelligence to guide them through what they are experiencing.

Room and Board

At this time Sierra Institute is unable to offer to house our seasonal field staff, though we will make every effort to soften your landing in Plumas County by connecting you with local homeowners and renters. 

Employee Perks

Sierra Institute believes strongly in developing well-rounded professionals in conservation and our team listens to the interests and needs of our Field Staff, then works with each individual to identify opportunities for professional development within the organization.

Field staff will have the opportunity to pursue trainings in wildland fire fighting, chainsaw use, and forestry practices to help lessen learning curves so future transitions between forestry, sawyer, hydrology, etc. are easier.

Our organization is located in one of the quietest corners of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Here you will not find the long lines and congestion of Tahoe, Yosemite, or the Eastern Sierra. Plumas County and the Lost Sierra region are defined by solitude and the quaint rural communities of the Feather River watershed. If you find yourself joining us in Indian Valley, you might just end up staying a while!

Getting Here and Getting Around

Taylorsville is 1.75 hours north-east of Chico, CA and 2 hours north-west of Reno, NV. It is highly encouraged that seasonal field staff brings a personal vehicle to help them explore the region and travel beyond the county when needed. Public transportation does exist in Plumas County but has been made somewhat unreliable due to post-fire road work along many of our highways. Depending on where you settle, it could be anywhere from a 5-30 minute commute via car to Taylorsville. It is also encouraged that you bring a bicycle if you have one - riding around Quincy or Indian Valley is a great way to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

For Fun

Even among the diversity and grandeur of the Sierra Nevada, Plumas County is uniquely wild. Situated in a large mountain meadow known as “Indian Valley”, Taylorsville, CA is at the epicenter of convergence of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains to the north and south, and the Great Basin to the east. This landscape is the ancestral and present-day homelands of the Mountain Maidu peoples and we encourage all visitors to respect and hold space for the Mountain Maidu worldview and ways of knowing.

In this region, ecological and geological boundaries soften. The merging of snow-capped mountains, foothill-esque valleys, and expansive high-desert compacts a variety of plant and animal life into the margins. Plant communities jam together in unlikely spots, emerging above or below their typical locales and existing in unusual proximity. As an example, Jeffrey and ponderosa pine intermix in Red Clover Valley, a high plateau in the headwaters of Indian Creek while at the same elevation less than fifteen miles to the west cool, deep, shaded stands of red fir blanket the slopes of Mt. Hough - Indian Valley’s craggy sentinel whose summit broods three thousand feet above the valley floor.

Across this rugged terrain traverse elk, mountain lions, bears, and even wolves. In the spring and summer sandhill cranes nest here, and in the fall and winter countless hurried migrations expose the season's end. The area’s human residents mimic the indifference to bureaucratic boundaries held by their non-human neighbors and embrace a larger regional community defined by rural values, mountain identity, and topographic familiarity.

Taylorsville hosts many community events throughout the summer such as the annual rodeo and Fourth of July Parade, while across the valley Greenville is known for its Pioneer Days Festival celebrating the town's Gold Rush roots. Over the hill and down the canyon is the small city of Quincy which boasts several community farms, a lively downtown with quaint local eateries and Quintopia, the local brewery, as well as typical services such as larger grocery and hardware stores, automotive repair, health services, and Feather River College, our local community college and education hub. The Lost Sierra Music Festival is hosted here and is an annual staple that draws visitors from across northern California, Nevada, and Oregon.

There are ample opportunities to recreate outdoors, no matter your preferred activity. Quincy has an incredible network of mountain bike and hiking trails and Taylorsville is less than one hour from Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Caribou Wilderness. The North and Middle Forks of the Feather River offer endless whitewater pursuits and Bucks Summit and nearby Plumas-Eureka State Park have excellent access to higher elevations and snowy terrain for those interested in skiing, climbing, or mountaineering. 

This region was heavily impacted by the Dixie Fire in the summer of 2021. This event was catastrophic and redefined the notion of community for many Plumas Counties residents. Here you will find a close-knit and supportive network of people where everybody knows everybody and everybody is willing to help you. There are significant efforts underway to re-build lost structures in Greenville and improve the capacity of this impoverished region to support its community members. 

How to Apply

To apply to any of our seasonal positions please email your resume and a cover letter to jobs@sierrainstitute.us. Please include the position you are applying for in the subject line of your email.


Contact Sierra Institute for Community and Environment