State seeks adults to aid conservation projects

August 16, 2011

By Staff

The state Department of Ecology needs 245 people between the ages of 18 and 25 to plant native shrubs and trees, restore salmon-bearing streams, respond to emergencies and more.

The agency is seeking applicants to the Washington Conservation Corps, a program to put young adults, including military veterans, on the job at projects in 16 counties statewide.

For the 2011-12 service year, the Department of Ecology intends to hire 150 Washington Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members using a $2 million AmeriCorps grant from the state Commission for National and Community Service.

 AmeriCorps Education Awards received through the Corps Network, a national service partner, support the remaining positions.

On the Web

Washington Conservation Corps

The state Department of Ecology is recruiting the next crop of Washington Conservation Corps members. Potential applicants can find the application and more information about the program on the agency’s website, wcc/index.html.

AmeriCorps members sign on for a year of service from October to September 2012. Members work on environmental and community service projects, as well as disaster response.

Members earn $8.67 an hour and receive a $5,550 AmeriCorps education award upon completing the service year. The award may be used for student loans or future tuition expenses.

The state created the Washington Conservation Corps in 1983 to provide jobs and work training for about 1,600 young adults. In 1994, the program started receiving federal AmeriCorps funding, allowing crews to carry out on-the-ground projects across the state.

In the past year, Washington Conservation Corps members restored streams in the Issaquah area and built trails across the Issaquah Alps.

“In a tight economy, the WCC is making a critical difference for our young adults, our communities and environment,” Washington Conservation Corps official Nick Mott said in a news release. “By providing practical job experience and critical professional training, more than half of our members continue on to full-time employment or go on to further their education.”

State lawmakers recently created the Puget Sound Corps as a partnership between the Department of Ecology and the state Department of Natural Resources.

The legislation calls for the Puget Sound Corps to support the Puget Sound Partnership’s agenda to restore, protect and preserve the sound by 2020. The official rollout of the Puget Sound Corps is due to occur soon.

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