Washington Conservation Corps seeks applicants

March 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The state Department of Ecology is seeking 22 people between the ages of 18 and 25 to serve in Washington Conservation Corps positions in King County and elsewhere.

Members receive job training, help restore and protect the environment, offer environmental education and volunteer opportunities for thousands of residents of all ages, and provide assistance to citizens in the Evergreen State and across the nation during natural disasters.

In recent months, corps members assisted in trail restoration and habitat projects near Issaquah. And corps members joined AmeriCorps teams to restore Squak Mountain trails last month.

Members selected for six-month stints earn state minimum wage and a $2,675 AmeriCorps Education Award for repaying student loans or for future tuition expenses.

Established in 1983 as a response to a sour economy, the program became a program under the AmeriCorps umbrella in 1994 and then expanded.

The corps includes 180 positions at more than 35 locations across the state.

“We need to refill some vacancies, and local organizations have stepped forward to help fund and create several new crews,” Interim WCC Manager Nick Mott said. “It highlights the critical service that that our WCC crew members and AmeriCorps provide Washington residents — and our nation.”

The openings in King County include eight positions based in Bellevue, Redmond and Seattle.

Leaders at the Department of Ecology and local organizations created the positions through cost-share agreements.

The funding — plus a federal AmeriCorps grant — gives the corps flexibility to respond to local and national emergencies and to provide year-round environmental service.

Typical work includes building trails, planting trees and other habitat-related projects. Members also attend a series of paid trainings throughout the year in topics such as advanced wilderness first aid, wildland firefighting and botany.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

On the Web

People interested in applying for the Washington Conservation Corps can learn more and download the application at the state Department of Ecology website, www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/wcc.

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