The Washington Conservation Corps will begin accepting applications next month. The program gives young people ages 18-25 the chance to gain experience for future work in conservation careers.
"I love being outdoors and it's really cool to reclaim spaces and that's what it feels like we're doing," Shelby Vander Molen said.
Tuesday, she worked on land in Carnation owned by Amy Paoletti, organized and partly funded by King Conservation District.
"We couldn't afford it. We could never have afforded to do what King Conservation has done for us on our own," she said. "It was really overwhelming to step foot here. It was covered in blackberries and invasive weeds."
A dozen of next year's WCC participants will work with King Conservation District on shoreline spruce-ups, removing invasive species and restoring native plants. Restoring native vegetation prevents shoreline erosion and protects spawning salmon.
But to do that, they need access to private property.
"Probably two-thirds or more is in private domain. We can do all the restoration we want to do on public property, but if we don't have cooperation with private landowners we're really not getting the entire ecosystem," explained Jacobus Saperstein.
King Conservation District is looking for 20 projects in the coming year. Landowners pay for 10 percent of the cost.
"We'll be maintaining these sites for five years. Three to five years is what they need," Saperstein said.
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