“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 & Crew leader, San Juan Island

Youth Conservation Corps

The Youth Conservation Corps provides conservation and stewardship summer programs for youth ages 12-18. The summer program runs for 8 weeks June-August. There is one 5 -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, 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.

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.

To learn more about our program, contact YCC Program Coordinator, Kelsey Kittleson, at

Interested in learning more about YCC activities?

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2021 End of Season Report

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2022 End of Season Report

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