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Youth Conservation Corps

The San Juan Islands Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) provides conservation and stewardship programs for youth ages 12-18. Our cornerstone summer program runs for 8 weeks June-August, with a 10 -15 person crew led by 2 adult field guides per island on Orcas, Lopez, and San Juan Island. Year-round programs are held in partnership with Lopez Family Resource Center, Orcas School District, and Wolf Hollow Rehabilitation Center. 

Youth Conservation Corps Summer Program

Youth crew members will work closely with program staff, conservation professionals, and partner education programs on stewardship/restoration projects, inquiry-based experiential outdoor education, and professional development. In doing so, YCC members gain applied job skills and training that can help propel them into their future.​

The program looks to provide a range of skills and knowledge for crew members that includes weekly educational themes during the summer program:

  • Team building & anti-bullying (training week)

  • Sense of place

  • Localized food systems

  • Land management ethics

  • Marine ecosystems & nearshore environments

  • Endangered species preservation

  • Forest & fire ecology

  • Art & environmentalism ​

Daily activities can include: forest stand mapping, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of native plants, and wildfire risk reduction, wetland and riparian zone recovery, invasive weed removal, and trail building/brushing.

What will students gain from YCC? 

Whether interested in the summer program, or one of our year-round offerings, YCC is an excellent resource for kids and families living in the San Juan Islands. The YCC is an opportunity for youth to not only spend time outdoors learning about local conservation and stewardship efforts, but actually improving wilderness areas across the islands. Our program is dedicated to establishing an ethic of care and stewardship among youth while also providing mentorship and professional development training from local environmental professionals.

By the end of each season every crew develops a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing not only that they have grown and changed themselves, but that they have contributed in important ways to their community and to the environment. Students receive a financial stipend at the season to celebrate and thank them for their hard work.

Do you know of a student who may be interested in YCC?

YCC crew member applications for the summer 2024 program are currently available and accessible by clicking here. If a student is not able to fill out the application for whatever reason, please contact us to schedule a zoom conversation where we will walk through the application verbally.

The 2024 season will run June 24th through August 15th/18th, typically Monday - Thurs 9am-3:00pm (this may vary slightly due to special projects). Activity fees for 2024 will be waived due to generous donations from the local community. For any other questions, please contact Program Coordinator, Mike Rosekrans at

Student Testimonial

“Throughout my journey through the YCC, I have grown in many ways (not just height!). Being in this program has been an incredible experience, and it has given me an even greater appreciation for these beautiful islands that I get to call home. There is an indescribable feeling that I get knowing I am making a difference, and I just feel absolutely connected with the world around me."​

- Luke Fincher (He/him), YCC Alumni & Crew leader, San Juan Island

Luke joined the San Juan Island Youth Conservation Corps crew in 2016, at age 12. In 2022 he completed his seventh year in the program and 2nd year as a crew leader, mentoring and leading YCC crew members.

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To learn more about the YCC program, please contact Program Coordinator, Mike Rosekrans []

More Information

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Top: Luke holds a massive Tansy Ragwort plant that he pulled in 2020. Bottom: A 12 yr old Luke ventures through the forest.

This program is funded through grants, contracts with local land management agencies, and private donations. Thank you to our local community for making this community program possible.

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