The Student Conservation Corps (SCoCo) is a partnership between the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, Sustainable Bainbridge, and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.
The 2016 Student Conservation Corps (SCoCo) season was a great success!
The SCoCo crew was hard at work this spring and
summer removing invasive weeds and restoring native vegetation on BI Parks and
Land Trust properties. The Spring Break Scotch Broom Brigade, focusing solely
on the removal of Scotch Broom in Bainbridge Island Parks, took place between April
3-7. The Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation District SCoCo program ran for
a total of 12 days between June 20-July 8. The Bainbridge Island Land Trust
session ran for 8 days this year between July 11-21.
Six students participated in the Spring Break Scotch Broom
Brigade this spring, removing Scotch Broom from the Hilltop meadow, Sands Ball
Fields, Strawberry Hill Park, and the Sakai Property. Twenty-one students participated in the BIMPRD SCoCo
session, visiting five parks: Blakely Harbor, Blakely Harbor-Fort Ward Trail,
Fort Ward Park, Waypoint Woods, and Hidden Cove Park. Nineteen students participated in the Land Trust SCoCo
session, visiting five private conservation easement properties over the span
of eight days.
The Land Trust session is unique in that private conservation easement
owners are invited to participate in a cost-share with the Land Trust to hire
the crew to work on their properties. This partnership offers a prime opportunity
to support our landowners' efforts to tackle larger-scale invasive management
issues in an affordable and effective way, and helps fulfill the Land
Trust's and our landowners' shared responsibility to protect the conservation
values of these special properties.
2016 BILT SCoCo Session By The Numbers
of 10 acres improved on 5 BILT conserved properties
trees were cleared of ivy
41,000 square feet of ground ivy was removed
30 cubic yards of fruiting plant debris was removed
total person-hours dedicated to the removal of invasive species
The BIMPRD SCoCo session includes of an educational lunch hour dedicated to highlighting current environmental issues and careers. Ten volunteer speakers were invited to discuss with SCoCo members their educational and professional backgrounds and interests and how they are related to the health and well-being of the environment.
Speakers from the area represented the following organizations and institutions: Wildlife Conservation Society, Bainbridge Island School District, Bainbridge Island Watershed Council, West Sound Wildlife Shelter, IslandWood, the United States Coast Guard, and more. Thank you to our volunteer speakers!
More About the Student Conservation Corps:
The Student Conservation Corps or "SCoCo" is a field work and volunteer opportunity enhanced with conservation education for local high school students. SCoCo brings the energies and passions of youth to local environmental work through five program components: a spring series of volunteer application-work-parties, a spring break work program, a summer work program, a Bainbridge Island Land Trust work program, and a fall volunteer program. SCoCo provides jobs to youth in our community, simultaneously developing a new generation of environmental stewards while making progress in the battle against noxious weeds.
SCoCo is supported by the Bainbridge Island Land Trust by providing matching funds for projects on Land Trust conserved properties and managerial assistance through BILT's AmeriCorps Volunteer. In addition, a private conservation easement landowner may choose to hire SCoCo to assist with restoration work on their property.
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. In 2015, The Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District (BIMPRD) is once again offering 24 Student Conservation Corps positions as a part of ongoing stewardship efforts in our parks, in partnership with the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Sustainable Bainbridge. The Student Conservation Corps aims to foster a new generation of environmental stewards.
The Student Conservation Corps 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 five years, SCoCo has made a significant dent in noxious plant infestation at Blakely Harbor Park, Fort Ward Park, Fay Bainbridge, and Pritchard Park. We have cleared ivy from over 8,000 trees in over 200 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 encourage youth to make a difference while gaining a paycheck for their contributions and learning the science and methodology of protect our habitat. Lunch break presentations bring locally sourced, cutting-edge conservation education to Corps members.
If you are a private conservation easement land owner interested in having SCoCo on your property, please contact Avery Bowron, BILT's Stewardship Coordinator at (206) 842-1216 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quotes from SCoCo Members:
"This program definitely tested my physical endurance/stamina, but also was immensely satisfying. I enjoyed getting to know people I'd never met before and working hard with the knowledge that what I was doing did make a difference ... Thanks again for giving me this amazing experience!"
"Thanks for another great year of SCoCo! I think we had an awesome group this year . . . I enjoyed all of our speakers and I also enjoyed being able to work at different parks this year - it made the program more interesting and allowed us to tackle a greater variety of projects."
"The Student Conservation Corps is AWESOME! Also, we're saving the earth and all that, rather than flipping burgers."
SCoCo is a community sponsored program. Over the past four years, The Student Conservation Corps has been made possible with support from the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, 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 and AmeriCorps, as well as with contributions from generous community members.