If you are a high school student seeking a paying summer job that promises fresh air and work in the great outdoors, Liz Karas wants to hear from you.

If you are a high school student seeking a paying summer job that promises fresh air and work in the great outdoors, Liz Karas wants to hear from you.

She is the spokeswoman for the Eugene-based Northwest Youth Corps, which is looking for 16- to 19-year-olds to do trail work in Jackson County from mid-June through mid-August.

"They don't have to have any experience to apply," she said. "In addition to the fresh air, they will receive good job training in a variety of conservation skills."

Their work will include areas ranging from building trails and rock walls to removing invasive plant species and restoring wildlife habitats, she said.

"On top of the experience they gain, they receive a paycheck and can get high-school credits," Karas said. The jobs pay about $1,000 for five weeks of work, plus a $200 bonus.

However, there is tuition of $195 per person.

Founded in 1984, the nonprofit youth corps hires more than 900 youth each spring and summer to work on projects for land management agencies in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Patterned after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Great Depression era, the corps' mission is to create leaders through teamwork, education and work experience.

Participants meet at a designated site each morning, then work an average of six hours a day.

Each young person is trained in necessary skills, she said. All that is needed is a desire to learn and ability to work as part of a team, she added.

"We take good, old-fashioned teenagers," she said. "That includes from prom queens to kids not doing so hot in school. We take all types of kids."

Given the high unemployment rate, the jobs provide a niche for youth looking for a career in conservation, she noted.

"A lot of people are looking for jobs, and a lot of young adults are now doing jobs high school kids would ordinarily do," she observed. "That leaves them (youth) without a lot of job opportunities."

The Northwest Youth Corps is focusing on youth in rural areas because that is where jobs are often harder to find, she said.

"But we hire kids from all over the state," she said. "We try to have local youths in local projects."

Following the trail work, youth can also apply to serve as support crew for Cycle Oregon from Aug. 27 to Sept. 18, she said. The pay is about $735, with bonuses up to $150. There is no tuition fee for that work.

For more information, contact the corps' office at 541-349-5055 or check out www.northwestyouthcorps.org.