The first year of the San Juan Conservation Corps was a rousing success, and the second year is building on the first with almost twice as many kids, two additional crew leaders and several new projects and activities.
Six corps members are returning from last year. They’ll work with Sarah Hanson on building a trail on the Land Bank’s west side — a more complex project “that demands a little more from them this summer, so that they remain challenged and learning,” according to Hanson, program manager and crew leader for the Madrona Institute, which founded the Conservation Corps in 2012.
Erin Corra and Mary Beth Herbert are the new crew leaders. They’ll be managing the new crews of teenagers, who will be working on a variety of projects with the National Park Service: invasive species management and monitoring (using GPS), island marble butterfly habitat, fence removal and maintenance, trails. Projects for the Bureau of Land Management include invasive species management and beach clean-up and monitoring.
Hanson says the nine-week schedule is about the same as it was a year ago: “two days per week of working with lots of learning, fun and work to be done.”
The corps will also help with the welcoming and feeding of the Inter-tribal Canoe Journey on Lopez Island, July 18. Corps members are paid $25 per day for their work.
The conservation corps is funded by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, but Hanson says she needs “support from the community” in the form of a vehicle to transport gear and tools. “A truck or van would be awesome,” says Hanson, who adds “any donations are always welcome.”
The three crews are: Corra’s crew: Erick Atwell, Colin Doscher, Brian Fleming, Alanna Halliday, Savannah Hoffman, Joseph Kaden, Daniel Slack, Hanson Wakeman and Miles Williamson. Herbert’s crew: Wesley Clay, Aiken Durham-Guckian, Dakota Gabler-Brown, Zoe Halliday, Gemma Richard, Taylor Sedrick, Weston Warfel, and Corbin Williams. Sarah Hanson’s crew: Amelia Calverley, Jessie Pachuta, Eli Cooper-West, Connor Dederich, Zach Fincher, and Jacob Kaden.
Hanson said the first event of the year was a “great” camping trip to Shaw Island to work on a trail for the San Juan Preservation Trust — and to meet and make new friends with the Lopez Island Conservation Corp. Next week, the two new crews will be at American Camp on Wednesday and Thursday collecting native prairie grass seed and learning to use GPS for monitoring and removing invasive species. The returning crew will be at the West Side preserve working on the trail.
Next for the Madrona Institute: working with interested parents and others on Orcas Island to start an Orcas Conservation Corps.