Student Conservation Corps
Come join SCoCo at one of our Fall Volunteer Work Parties! We will be returning to locations of summer restoration to plant native species.
Saturday October 24th: Blakely Harbor @ 1-3:30pm
Sunday October 25th: Blakely Harbor @ 1-3:30pm
Saturday November 21st: TBD BILT location @ 1-3:30pm
If you are interested in applying for the 2016 SCoCo season, fall volunteer work parties are a great opportunity to see SCoCO in action.
If you are a returning 2015 SCoCo applicant, attendance of TWO fall volunteer work parties is required as conclusion of your commitment to SCoCo. Please email with the TWO dates you will be attending.
Listen to a recent Bainbridge Community Broadcasting podcast about SCoCo 2015 below!
2016 Student Conservation Corps Program:
The Student Conservation Corps or "SCoCo” is a field work and volunteer opportunity enhanced with conservation education for local High School students. SCoCo brings the energies and passions of youth to local environmental work through five program components: a spring series of volunteer application-work-parties, a spring-break work program, a summer work program, a Land Trust work program and a fall volunteer program.
SCoCo provides jobs to youth in our community, simultaneously developing new generation of environmental stewards while making progress in the battle against noxious weeds. SCoCo members work to control invasive weeds in our lsland’s Parks and protected open spaces, methodically achieving goals outlined in the Park District’s Invasive Plant Management Plans. In 2016, The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District (BIMPRD) is once again offering 20-24 Student Conservation Corps positions as a part of ongoing stewardship efforts in our parks, in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Sustainable Bainbridge. The Student Conservation Corps aims to foster a new generation of environmental stewards.
The Student Conservation Corps is a successful part of a multi-pronged effort involving hundreds of volunteers, to manage the English ivy, Scotch Broom, and other invasive weeds which threaten the vitality and beauty of Bainbridge Island parks. In the past four years SCoCo has made a significant dent in noxious plant infestation at Blakely Harbor Park, Fort Ward Park and Pritchard Park. We have cleared ivy from over 10,000 trees in over 400 acres. Corps members have worked enthusiastically to make SCoCo the most effective local weed control effort to date. The Park District has adopted this program to encourage youth to make a difference while gaining a paycheck for their contributions and learning the science and methodologies of protecting our habitat. Lunch break presentations bring locally sourced, cutting-edge conservation education to Corps members.
SCoCo is a community sponsored program. Over the past four years The Student Conservation Corps has been made possible with support from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, 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 and the AmeriCorps, as well as with contributions from generous community members.
Eligibility: Open to individuals, age 15-18, who want to work hard to make a difference in our local environment.
Application process: Interested individuals must attend a spring workparty and submit an application. Between twenty and twenty-four students will be accepted for the 2016 SCoCo sessions. The SCoCo members commit to a full BIMPRD and BILT summer session and two additional fall volunteer work parties. Up to 12 interested students from these 24 may participate in the spring break program.
There will be two waves of the application process in order to fill out the spring break program while allowing for others to apply later for the summer session. Interested students must attend one training work party in order to apply. This counts as a volunteer activity and students may get community service credit for their hours. Interviews will occur during these sessions, and applications will be issued to students after these work parties. Applicants should come dressed to work in loose-fitting pants and work shoes, with gloves and appropriate layers for warmth. We will meet and accomplish some great work, rain or shine!
1st Wave SCoCo Application (up to 80% of program will be accepted in 1st wave):
early-March: application work party @ TBD
mid-March: application work Party @ TBD
first wave applications to be emailed to program director (exact date TBD)
late-March: accepted applicants from 1st wave will receive invitation to join the 2016 SCoCo (exact date TBD)
Second Wave SCoCo Application
early-April: application work party @ TBD
early-April: application work party @ TBD
mid-April: deadline for second wave applications to
be emailed to program director (exact date TBD)
late-April: accepted applicants will receive invitation to join the 2016 SCoCo (exact date TBD) A wait-list will be maintained
early-May: All accepted SCoCo members must confirm that they will take summer positions (exact date TBD)
SPRING BREAK Scotch Broom Brigade:
Up to twelve students selected from those hired for the Summer Session will work in 3 or more Parks to clear Scotch Broom. This work is best achieved before the spring bloom and while the ground is still soft from winter rains. The goal: remove all Scotch Broom from our Bainbridge Island Parks.
SUMMER 2015 BIMPRD Student Conservation Corps:
The Program will run for 12 work days with holidays on weekends and July 4th. Field work will take place at two or more parks.
Island Land Trust SCoCo Session:
This program is open to Summer Session SCoCo members as an optional extended work opportunity. Field work will take place at 2 or more sites that may include private Conservation easements in addition to Land Trust owned open space.
Salary information: All SCoCo members will be paid $9.49, for four hours a day in each session. One hour of unpaid break time is dedicated to conservation education during the summer session and Corps members are expected to stay on site to participate.
Fall restoration work parties: Corps members who have not graduated must attend TWO out of four fall volunteer work party sessions for more restoration work and planting native vegetation before the winter rains. This is a volunteer commitment. Corps members assist in outreach efforts and field work.
Director: Emily Helgeson
Emily took over as SCoCo Director in August 2015. She is also the Coordinator of Let’s Pull Together, an initiative of Sustainable Bainbridge 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. This interest continued as she worked with kindergarten-2nd graders as lead teacher at Nature Nuts, an outdoor after school program run by Peacock Family Center in partnership with BI Parks. Emily holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, a B.A. in political science, and a minor in environmental studies, all from the University of Washington. When not pulling or planning to pull weeds she walks in the woods and eats good food with good friends.
Assistant Director: Becca Nissley
Becca relocated from Reading, Pennsylvania to western Washington in 2013, where she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and full-time staff coordinating and leading environmental programs at the Dungeness River Audubon Center in Sequim. She holds a B.S.E in Biology Education from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and is continually interested in environmental education and stewardship. On weekends she can usually be found hiking, biking, and birding the forests and shorelines of the West Sound and Olympic Peninsula. She is very pleased to have the privilege of residing on Bainbridge Island, which offers plenty of places to enjoy the incredible cultural and natural resources of the Pacific Northwest.
Questions: please email Emily at
Quotes from SCoCo members:
"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.”
The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island recently awarded a Community Grant to our organization for the purchase of a full new set of tools and a program canopy using money raised at the 2013 Rotary Auction & Rummage Sale. Click on this link for information about the 2014 event: www.BainbridgeRotaryAuction.org.
Many thanks to our Community Sponsors:
The Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation
The Bainbridge Community Foundation
Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island
The Association of Bainbridge Communities Education/Conservation Foundation
and numerous generous individual donors, like You!