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Student Conservation Corps


The Student Conservation Corps (SCoCo) is an employment opportunity for High School students with the Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, aimed at limiting the spread of invasive species in our parks.

SCoCo 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 six 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 11,000 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 provide youth with an employment opportunity encouraging stewardship through the science and methodology of protecting our habitat.

In 2017, the Student Conservation Corps will be hiring 18-20 SCoCo crew members as part of ongoing stewardship and conservation efforts in our parks, in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation.

To learn more about the history of SCoCo, see “What is the Student Conservation Corps?”

For more program information, please contact SCoCo leader Emily Helgeson at

If you hear activity off-trail this summer in some of our parks, don’t worry, it’s just the SCoCo crew working hard removing invasive plant species. Keep an eye out for the “SCoCo Working Here Today” sign and come say hello.

SCoCo Summer Schedule

WEEK ONE June 26 – June 30
Monday at Blakely to Fort Ward Trail (behind Pond)
Tuesday at Blakely Harbor Park (Phase 2)
Wednesday at Blakely Harbor Park (Phase 2)
Thursday at Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve (bottom of Knudsen Trail)
Friday at Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve (bottom of Knudsen Trail)

WEEK TWO July 5 – July 7
Wednesday at Fort Ward Park (lower FW near middle bathroom)
Thursday at Williams-Olson Park
Friday at Williams-Olson Park

WEEK THREE July 10 – July 13
Monday at Waypoint Woods
Tuesday at Blakely Harbor Park (3T median)
Wednesday at Blakely Harbor Park (3T median)
Thursday at Blakely Harbor Park (3T median and Phase 1)

For exact locations please contact SCoCo Leader, Emily Helgeson at  or 206-488-8592.

What is the Student Conservation Corps?

The Student Conservation Corps (SCoCo) is a paid Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District employment opportunity enhanced with conservation education for local High School students. SCoCo brings the energies and passions of youth to local environmental work through four program components: (1) a spring series of volunteer Application Work Parties, (2) a paid Spring Break session sponsored by Sustainable Bainbridge’s initiative Let’s Pull Together, (3) a paid Summer Session, and (4) fall volunteer Restoration Work Party sessions.

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 in Bainbridge Island parks. 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. During the Summer Session, local educational speakers present cutting-edge conservation education and career advice to SCoCo members during their lunch hour.

In 2017, the Park District is once again offering 18-20 SCoCo positions as a part of ongoing stewardship efforts in our parks, with support from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation.

The SCoCo is a community-sponsored program. Over the past six years SCoCo has been made possible with support from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, 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, Town & Country Markets, AmeriCorps, as well as with contributions from generous community members.

How do I apply?

Open to individuals, age 15-18, who want to work hard in a group setting to make a difference in our local environment.

Interested individuals must attend an Application Work Party in the spring (dates TBD), after which they will receive an application to be completed and submitted to Emily Helgeson at

Between 18-20 students will be accepted for the 2017 SCoCo sessions. SCoCo members are also committing to participating in two fall volunteer Restoration Work Parties in order to replant sites. Up to 12 interested students may also choose to participate in the paid Spring Break session.

There will be two waves of the application process in order to fill the Spring Break program while allowing for others to apply later for the Summer Session. Interested applicants are REQUIRED to attend at least one Application Work Party in order to apply. This counts as a volunteer activity and students may receive school community service credit for their hours. Interviews will occur during these sessions, and applications will be issued to students after these work parties via email. 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!

2017 Application Timeline - Important Dates

First Wave Application

Early March: Application Work Party
Mid March: Deadline for applications to be emailed to
Mid March: Accepted first wave applicants will receive an invitation to join the Summer Session. Additionally, up to 12 applicants will receive an invitation to join the paid Spring Break Session.

Second Wave Application

Early April: Application Work Party
Mid April: Application Work Party
Late April: Deadline for applications to be emailed to
Early May: Accepted applicants will receive an invitation to join the SCoCo Summer Session (wait-list will be maintained).

2017 Session Details

SUMMER Session

Monday, June 26-Thursday, July 13 from 9:30am-2:30pm

The Summer Session will run for 12 days with paid fieldwork taking place at multiple parks (no work: Monday, July 3 or Tuesday, July 4).

Salary Information

All SCoCo members will be paid $11.00/hour in each session. One hour of unpaid break/lunch time is dedicated to conservation education during the Park District Summer Session. SCoCo members are expected to stay on site to participate.

Fall Volunteer Work Parties

SCoCo members who have not graduated must attend 2 out of 3 late fall volunteer Restoration Work Party sessions (dates TBD) for restoration work and planting native vegetation before the winter rains. This is a volunteer commitment made when accepting summer employment with SCoCo. School community service hours available. SCoCo members are also asked to assist in outreach efforts in promotion of the following year’s SCoCo sessions.

Program Leadership

Emily Helgeson, Park Services Volunteer Specialist

In her role as Volunteer Specialist, Emily took over leading SCoCo in August 2015. In another role with the Park District she also leads the Trails Crew. 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.

For more information please contact Emily Helgeson, at