“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, YCC Alumni, San Juan Island

Youth Conservation Corps

The Youth Conservation Corps provides conservation and stewardship summer programs for youth ages 12-18. The summer program typically runs for 8-10 weeks June-August. There is one 5 to 15 person crew led by 2 adult field guides per island on Orcas, Lopez, and San Juan Island.


This summer program 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 the summer 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.


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

For many of our crew members, this is a first work experience. We emphasize the development of job skills, and the life skills necessary for working as a team. Additionally, the acquisition of responsibilities and skills is interspersed with time for fun and games, which adds joy to the experience not only for our youth but also in our mentors and community partners.

The program looks to provide a range of skills and knowledge for crew members that includes forest stand mapping, technical tree felling, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of native plants, soil testing, silviculture, and wildfire risk reduction, wetland and riparian zone recovery, invasive weed removal, and trail building/brushing.

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.  Through this program, we strive to improve the health of our youth as well as the health of our environment which in turn leads to a healthy and balanced sustainable future. To learn more about our program, contact YCC Program Coordinator, Kelsey Kittleson, at kelsey@sjicd.org.

Interested in working with YCC in 2022?


With increased demand for programming, we are excited to start offering expanded programming outside of our typical summer months. This spring, Alchemy Art Center is partnering with the San Juan Islands Youth Conservation Corps and the Madrona Institute to offer a FREE 10-week art and environmental stewardship program geared toward middle and high school age kids. 

To apply for the Alchemy Art Center Environment & Art program, visit their website here: 

We also look forward to facilitating our typical summer program. Please watch our website for more updates. In the meantime, check out the summer YCC crew member job description and our 2021 season report here.

*Crew members will receive end-of-season stipend. Please note, amount is dependent on funding availability and will vary slightly each season.