The Student Conservation Corps (SCoCo) is a paid fieldwork and volunteer opportunity enhanced with conservation education for local high school students. The program is provided through a partnership between Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District (BIMPRD), Sustainable Bainbridge and the Parks Foundation. The Parks Foundation was the first organization to fund SCoCo and has helped to support the program for seven continuous summers.
SCoCo brings the energies and passions of youth to local environmental work through four program components: a series of spring volunteer application work parties, a paid spring break work program, a paid summer work program, and a fall volunteer planting program.
The employment SCoCo provides to youth in our community simultaneously develops a new generation of environmental stewards while making progress in the battle against noxious weeds on Bainbridge Island. SCoCo members work to control invasive weeds in our island’s parks and protected open spaces, methodically achieving goals outlined in the Park District’s Invasive Plant Management Plans. In the past 5 years SCoCo has made a significant dent in noxious plant infestation at Blakely Harbor Park, Fort Ward Park, Pritchard Park and Waypoint Woods. We have cleared ivy from over 11,000 trees in over 400 acres. Corps members have worked enthusiastically to make SCoCo the most effective local weed control effort to date. During the Summer Session, local educational speakers present cutting-edge conservation education and career advice to Corps members during their lunch hour.
2018 SCoCo Summer Sessions
- 1723 hours of invasive plant species removal in 8 parks
- 24 employees; 13 employees worked both sessions
- 807 trees cleared of English ivy
- 8 yds English holly hauled out
- 16 yards of Himalayan blackberry roots hauled out
- 13 yds English ivy hauled out
- 2 yds Scotch broom hauled out
Blakely Harbor Park – 12 days
- 89 trees cleared of English ivy
- 15 yds Himalayan blackberry roots hauled out
- 11 yds English ivy hauled out
Waypoint Woods – 2 days
- 21 trees cleared of English ivy
- 6 yds of English holly hauled out
- 2 yds of ground English ivy hauled out
Williams-Olson Park – 2 days
- 107 trees cleared of English ivy
Hawley Cove Park – 1 day
- 141 trees cleared of English ivy
Hidden Cove Park – 1 day
- 120 trees cleared of English ivy
Fort Ward Park – 1 day
- 125 trees cleared of English ivy
Moritani Preserve – 3 days
- 45 trees cleared of English ivy
- 2 yd English holly hauled out
- 1 yd Himalayan blackberry roots hauled out
Fay Bainbridge Park -2 days
- 159 trees cleared of English ivy
- 2 yds of Scotch broom hauled out
“SCoCo manages to employ kids, get them outside, and care for parks all at the same time.”
-2018 SCoCo member
The 2018 Student Conservation Corps Program:
In 2018, TWO summer sessions will be offered: Session A and Session B. SCoCo Applicants will have the option of applying for one or both summer sessions.
Dividing summer employment into two 12-day sessions rather than lengthening a single session will allow interested participants to extend summer employment without disregarding those who prefer the 12-day session structure. Session A will maintain a hiring limit of 18 participants, while Session B will be slightly smaller with 13 participants.
This additional session will add an estimated 700 hours of invasive species removal to the existing summer program and support the program’s goal of educating future environmental stewards on conservation sciences and related career opportunities.
Application Work Parties
March 3 from 10:00am-12:00pm at Pritchard Park (Spring Break Session applicants MUST attend this Application Work Party)
April 7 from 10:00am-12:00pm at Pritchard Park
April 15 from 10:00am-12:00pm at Pritchard Park
For more information, please contact SCoCo Leader Emily at [email protected].
Eligibility: Open to individuals, age 15-18, who want to work hard to make a difference in our local environment. Between 18-20 students will be accepted for the 2018 SCoCo sessions. The SCoCo members commit to a full paid Summer Session and two additional Fall Volunteer Work Parties in order to replant restored sites. Up to 12 interested students from these 20 students may also choose to participate in the paid Spring Break program.
Salary Information: All SCoCo members will be paid $11.50/hour during the Spring Break and Summer sessions. One hour of unpaid break/lunch time is dedicated to conservation education during the summer session and Corps members are expected to stay on site to participate.
Application Process: The Application process will take place in two waves, with those applying in the first wave receiving priority as well as the potential to participate in the paid Spring Break work program through Let’s Pull Together.
Interested students are REQUIRED to volunteer at at least one Application Work Party in order to apply for a position with SCoCo. Applicants should come dressed to work in loose-fitting pants and work shoes, with gloves and appropriate layers for warmth. After attending a work party, interested applicants will receive a 2018 SCoCo application via email from Emily Helgeson at the Park District.
Emily Helgeson, BIMPRD Volunteer Coordinator
Emily took over as SCoCo Program Coordinator in August 2015. She is also the Coordinator of Let’s Pull Together, a Sustainable Bainbridge innitiative focused on Scotch broom management. Her interest in land conservation and stewardship on Bainbridge Island was sparked during her attendance of the 2013 Graduate Program at IslandWood. Emily holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, a B.A. in political science, and a minor in environmental studies, all from the University of Washington.
Emily Helgeson, BIMPRD Student Conservation Corps Program Coordinator.
Email: [email protected] Phone: 206-842-2306
What SCoCo participants say about the experience:
“This program definitely tested my physical endurance/stamina, but also was immensely satisfying. I enjoyed getting to know people I’d never met before and working hard with the knowledge that what I was doing did make a difference…Thanks again for giving me this amazing experience!”
“Thanks for another great year of SCoCo! I think we had an awesome group this year . . . I enjoyed all of our speakers and I also enjoyed being able to work at different parks this year – it made the program more interesting and allowed us to tackle a greater variety of projects.”
“The Student Conservation Corps is AWESOME! Also, we’re saving the earth and all that, rather than flipping burgers.”
A Community-Sponsored Program
The Student Conservation Corps is a community-sponsored program. Over the past seven years SCoCo has been made possible with support from the following partners:
Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation • Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District • Bainbridge Island Land Trust • Sustatinable Bainbridge • The Bainbridge Community Foundation • The Associated Bainbridge Communities (ABC) Conservation/Education Foundation • The Washington Foundation for the Environment • Bainbridge Ace Hardware • Bay Hay and Feed • AmeriCorps • The generosity of many individual donors