Habitat for Humanity hosts AmeriCorps volunteers to build community

May 14, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 14, 2011

Habitat for Humanity of East King County is joining another Habitat affiliate to host more than 60 AmeriCorps members to build homes near Issaquah and elsewhere.

During the weeklong event, 42 Habitat for Humanity International AmeriCorps members participate in construction and community surveying at the La Fortuna construction site. In addition, 25 AmeriCorps members plan to assist at a Habitat site in Seattle. The effort runs from May 16-20.

The event marks the first time Habitat for Humanity International has chosen the Northwest for the annual AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon.

“We are excited to be a 2011 Habitat for Humanity Build-a-Thon host,” Tom Granger, Habitat for Humanity of East King County executive director, said in a release.  “The national service members make a difference every day in the communities they serve, and their work is going to have a lasting impact for affordable homeownership in King County.”

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Moms empower one another at Habitat for Humanity event

May 10, 2011

Houses being built for — and mostly by — women took shape at Issaquah Highlands over the Mother’s Day weekend.

Jahna Smith (left) and Fanessa Ard (right), two Habitat homeowners living in Newcastle, and volunteer Angie Ulrich (middle), of Seattle, a longtime Habitat volunteer in Minnesota before moving to the Northwest, complete an exterior wall to be raised on the Magnolia Village Habitat project May 6 in Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

Several dozen people — the vast majority of them women — raised walls for one two-unit town house and did finish work on four other units through the Women Build event organized by Habitat for Humanity of East King County.

The goal was to empower women while furthering the cause of affordable housing.

“When you think of the construction industry, you think it’s sort of a man’s world,” said Jodi Marmion, a Habitat spokeswoman. “We want to show through Women Build that isn’t necessarily true.”

Builders included volunteers, AmeriCorps members, Habitat staff members and Habitat homeowners.

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Washington Conservation Corps seeks applicants

March 15, 2011

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.

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Volunteers needed for Medical Reserve Corps

March 8, 2011

Medical and nonmedical volunteers with the Public Health Reserve Corps set up shop for a mock alternative care facility, a place where certified volunteers can triage patients during a natural disaster, medical emergency or attack. Contributed

How should Issaquah respond to an earthquake? A terrorist attack? A newly discovered and contagious flu?

Volunteers with the Issaquah Medical Reserve Corps will know how to set up an emergency triage station, vaccination clinic and respond to and treat the public. The same goes for the Public Health Reserve Corps, run by Public Health – Seattle & King County, only instead of staying in Issaquah, these volunteers help across the county in the case of an emergency.

“We do encourage people to cross register with Public Health Reserve Corps, so in case of a disaster where Issaquah is fine, we can go to other areas and help out,” said Brenda Bramwell, a volunteer for both the Issaquah and the Public Health Reserve Corps.

The Medical Reserve Corps movement began in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

In the turmoil following the attacks, regular citizens wanted to help, especially those who were medically trained. At the time, there was no standard way for them to organize, and no way for victims to know if the do-gooders had proper credentials.

In President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address, he asked Americans to volunteer in support of their country. Shortly after, the government formed the Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, with chapters for the organization forming at state and local levels.

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Washington Conservation Corps seeks applicants

February 27, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 27, 2011

The state Department of Ecology is seeking 22 people between 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.

Interested parties can complete the application at the Department of Ecology website.

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.

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AmeriCorps teams restore Squak trails

February 15, 2011

Sam Decker (left), 20, of Seattle, and Kyle Johnson, 21, of Sibley, Ill. (population 300), do two jobs at once as they dig a drainage channel and fill in a trail path during their Americorps project on Squak Mountain. By Greg Farrar

The scrapes from shovels and the metallic ring from pickaxes splitting rock echoed across the morning stillness on Squak Mountain as AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members remade a stretch of trail along a forested slope.

The team from the national service program set up in Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah last week to upgrade trails and carve drainage ditches in the popular hiking destination.

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AmeriCorps teams restore Squak trails / Feb. 10, 2011

February 14, 2011

AmeriCorps team arrives to restore Alps trails

February 1, 2011

Mountains to Sound Greenway trails and habitat received a boost from AmeriCorps in recent weeks, as a team arrived to help on Tiger and Squak mountains and elsewhere in the greenbelt

AmeriCorps has sent 22 crewmembers to assist in trail work in the Issaquah Alps, Mount Si and Rattlesnake Mountain. The group is also participating in ecological restoration in Redmond and the Snoqualmie Valley.

The crew is working alongside Washington Conservation Corps crews to help local land managers restore natural areas, maintain parks and trails, and improve access to recreation.

The greenway is arranged along Interstate 90 from the Seattle waterfront to Central Washington. The greenbelt links natural areas, trails, farms and forests, communities, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities.

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Conservation corps plays important role in maintaining trails, streams

September 21, 2010

Members turn corps stint into eco-centric jobs

Jenn Woodham (foreground) and James Evangelisti, Washington Conservation Corps members, add fencing along Taylor Creek south of Issaquah. By Warren Kagarise

The teams maintaining the trails on state and King County lands near Issaquah often include members of the Washington Conservation Corps — a fresh-out-of-college bunch eager to earn experience in the environmental field.

Like the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, the 21st-century equivalent enlists young adults to tackle habitat and infrastructure projects.

“There are a lot of good public works projects that they’re doing out there,” state Department of Ecology spokesman Curt Hart said.

Members from far-flung corners of the United States populate the program. Some recruits, unable to land a job in a sour economy, turned to the program to burnish their résumés and earn a steady paycheck. Other members brought a background in environmental studies to the role. Many expressed a desire to learn about life in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to trail projects, crews yank invasive plants from public lands, plant native flora and restore creek habitat.

Washington Conservation Corps teams conducted trail maintenance on Tiger Mountain in the past year. Earlier projects included habitat restoration along Issaquah Creek.

Members also race to disaster-stricken areas to render assistance.

“Come rain, floods, shine, fires, they’re there,” Hart said.

In April, the state Department of Ecology dispatched 30 Washington Conservation Corps members and supervisors to clean up debris and set up shelters after a tornado tore through Yazoo City, Miss.

For residents in the aftermath of a natural disaster, “our WCC crews may be the first government people these people see,” Hart said.

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Washington Conservation Corps needs a few good men and women

August 25, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2010

The state Department of Ecology needs outdoors enthusiasts to help protect the environment and offer relief in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Backed by a $1.9 million federal grant, the agency plans to add 180 Washington Conservation Corps members statewide.

The agency needs people ages 18 and 25 years to fill the positions for the upcoming service year — Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2011. Apply for a position here.

Established in 1983 as a response to the sour economy, the program became affiliated with the federal AmeriCorps program in 1994 and then expanded.

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