Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) crews have been working with the City of Bellingham to protect and enhance local environmental resources for people and wildlife since 1999. Crews coordinate with City staff to plant, monitor, and maintain more than 155 acres of habitat in Bellingham. Starting with restoring Whatcom Creek after the 1999 pipeline spill and fire, WCC crews now manage 71 restoration sites including areas along Padden Creek, Squalicum Creek, Whatcom Creek, the Lake Whatcom Watershed, and the marine shoreline.
In addition to the community benefits provided by this program, serving with AmeriCorps and the WCC creates immense opportunities for participants such as, personal and professional development through on-the-job trainings in CPR and First Aid, Disaster Response, Leadership, Diversity, Forestry Basics, Wildland Saws Certification, Wildland Fire Fighting Certification and many others.
“Being involved in water quality monitoring has provided me with a plethora of learning and job advancement opportunities.” – Sarah Hirnyck, City of Bellingham WCC Crew 2016.
Crew members also help meet community needs related to disaster response, economic opportunity and education. City WCC crews aided in response to the Oso Landslide in 2014, the Stewart Mountain Fire in 2015 and the Louisiana Flood in 2016.
“Being able to help out the folks in Louisiana has not only opened up me as a person but has allowed me to truly see how strong a community can be with hope when all are united in a similar cause.” – Nicholas Holmquist, City of Bellingham WCC Crew 2016.
The crews are sponsored by the City of Bellingham’s Public Works- Natural Resources Division, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Ecology and the federal AmeriCorps program. Each crew consists of a crew supervisor and five corps members who serve one-year terms.