Invitation to Apply: Certificate in Ecological Restoration in the San Juan Islands, 2023-24

Submitted by the Islands Conservation Corps

The Islands Conservation Corps, a program of the San Juan Islands Conservation District, is accepting applications to the 2024-25 Certificate in Ecological Restoration program in the San Juan Islands, offered in partnership with Western Washington University’s College of the Environment. This certificate combines academic coursework with hands-on fieldwork performing the fundamentals of ecological restoration. Working with regional land management agencies, students proactively address imminent threats to our environment through restoration, conservation, and adaptive management. Students will gain skills in ecological theory, conduct technical fieldwork, and collect and analyze field data using software such as ArcGIS and R studio. The ICC also recognizes the displacement of Coast Salish people from their ancestral homeland and fosters education in Tribal treaties and Co-Management to help members advocate for Tribal rights and indigenous land management in the conservation field.

First-year members are eligible to apply to be second-year crew leaders in the program and receive a tuition waiver for their enrollment in the Western Washington University M.A. in Environmental Studies. Up to 10 credits of applicable coursework from the Ecological Restoration Certificate may be approved towards the graduate degree pending approval by WWU Graduate Faculty. Admission to the M.A. in Environmental Studies program is conducted by Western Washington University faculty, separate from the ICC program, and students are accepted on a competitive basis. Graduate courses are provided a hybrid model of online and place-based learning, with students taking courses remotely and traveling to Bellingham for on campus coursework. The program connects students to real-world challenges in conservation where research and inquiry can shape restoration planning and practices on public and private lands.

ICC enrollees participate in an average of 24 fieldwork hours per week, receiving an AmeriCorps payment of $1,600 per month for first year members and $1,650 per month for second year members, and a $400 per month housing stipend. In addition, members receive a $3,697 education award that can be applied to their coursework throughout the year. To take the certificate courses for credit, the program requires an associate’s degree or two years of college coursework completed.

The program runs from September 2024 through June of 2025. To learn more about the program and apply, please visit Applications will be open until April 30, 2024.

The program is grateful to the generous support of the Orcas Island Community Foundation, San Juan Community Foundation, Career Connect Washington, Washington Fire Adapted Communities Network, the WA Department of Natural Resources, and our land agency partners.