Introducing the SJI Conservation Corps!
It’s always great to see people getting involved in keeping our island the beautiful place that it is, but it’s even better when you see youth become passionate about our home. Sarah Hanson, the project leader for the San Juan Island Conservation Corps, has all the info about this dedicated and engaged group of young islanders:
The San Juan Island Conservation Corps would like to introduce ourselves to the community. We are Lauren Ayers, Amelia Calverley, Will Christison, Eli-Cooper West, Connor Dederich, Zach Fincher, Jacob Kaden, Max Kessler, Jessie Pachuta, Iella Parker, Eric Sable, Rick Smith, Emma Wickman, Celeste Young, and our crew supervisor is Sarah Hanson.
Our intent is to act as stewards for our public lands, and so far, we have partnered with the National Park Service, the San Juan County Land Bank, and the Bureau of Land Management. We currently attend Spring Street International School, Friday Harbor Middle School or Friday Harbor High School. Since June 20th, we have been meeting two days a week to learn from each other, and perform a service project while we develop our leadership skills. Thus far, we have cleaned up South Beach, removed several patches of Himalayan Blackberry at American Camp, cared for orchard trees at English Camp and built two retaining walls in Lime Kiln Preserve. Our log retaining wall was 16 feet long while our rock retaining was 8 feet long, both of which were created entirely without power tools. We encourage you to enjoy our work.
We’re modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps, a group initially established by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930′s, most likely with the strong influence and support of Eleanor Roosevelt. The CCC had a hand in many trail, road and ranger station structures still in use in the National Park system today. We are not alone in our work; several national, regional and state conservation corps exist nation-wide, engaging youth in the outdoors, providing hands-on experience in conservation, environmental ethic and community service. Our sister group, the Lopez Island Conservation Corps has provided a successful, local model for us, and we’re grateful to have their partnership as well.
We aim to continue with a year-round program, and we ask for your support as financial donors, volunteers, and partners for community projects that fit our mission. If you can help, or would like to know more, please contact Sarah Hanson, sarah(at)madrona.org, Ron Zee, ron(at)madrona.org, or visit http://www.madrona.org. A big thank you to Friday Harbor Drug and San Juan Island EMS for stocking our first aid kit, the San Juan Island National Historical Park, San Juan County Land Bank, and the Bureau of Land Management for our pilot season projects and guidance, and the Madrona Institute for sponsoring our program.