ICC Crew on Turtleback Preserve

Greetings! I am home, ready and rested, after a lovely break in Mexico and grateful for sunny days to aid re-entry.

The Islands Conservation Corps invited the OICF Board and Staff on a site visit on the Turtleback Preserve, where they are working on fire mitigation and restoration projects. The ICC was started in 2020 with grant funding from OICF through the Community Emergency Response Fund in an effort to invest in expanding employment and education opportunities for local workers. Through a collaboration with Western Washington University, crew members are employed by AmeriCorps and can enroll in WWU to earn up to 20 credits towards a degree in ecological restoration. The program also earns funding through contracts with State Parks, DNR, and the Land Bank, providing needed forest management services throughout the County. Over the past 2 years, the program has taken root and is now being cited as a model for Conservation Districts around the country. Great work!

The EDC is also providing work training programs. They currently are offering a Home Care Aide training open to all, 18 years and older. Learn more about the program here.

Part of the plan to train locals for more skilled positions relies on the hope that they will already have secured housing. While this is true for some, the persistence of housing insecurity was noted as an ongoing issue for the ICC program. One crew member mentioned that he had moved five times over his two years in the program. The Conservation District is hoping to create some long term housing opportunities for crew members on Orcas and San Juan. If you would be interested in hosting a crew member, contact Kai Hoffman Krull.

I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Love is well worth celebrating!