As new service year begins, WCC teams deploy to Florida to help after Hurricane Ian

This month, more than 200 AmeriCorps members started their new term of service in the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC).  

Our field-based AmeriCorps program offers young adults and military veterans hands-on environmental service opportunities including restoration, trail building, and local and national disaster response.

 Five WCC members pause for a group photo in a yard outdoors, wearing white Tyvek suits during a disaster response project

For field-based disaster response projects, WCC AmeriCorps members and staff wear Tyvek suits and other personal protective equipment to ensure safety. 

Through the years, WCC has responded to natural and human-caused disasters across the nation. Members have helped communities respond to and recover from wildfires, floods, tornadoes and windstorms, oil spills and hazardous material releases, and hurricanes.

“We train our members how to organize and train volunteers, set up camps and shelters, support emergency operation centers, and be safe and proficient with a wide variety of equipment from safety ropes to chainsaws,” said Bridget Talebi, Ecology’s WCC Director. “When disasters strike, our national partner, AmeriCorps, often requests our teams.”

WCC AmeriCorps members and staff work busily around a table indoors, wearing masks while planning AmeriCorps assistance for Hurricane Ian.

Six WCC AmeriCorps members and staff arrived in Florida on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, to start initial planning as part of AmeriCorps' Incident Command Team. Photo by WCC member Xitlali Herrera. 

This month, AmeriCorps requested WCC to lead the entity’s Disaster Response Team to respond to hurricane Ian which devastated parts of Florida in late September. Twenty WCC AmeriCorps members and six crew supervisors have deployed to Fort Myers, Fla., where they will help communities in some of the hardest hit locations: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee, and Osceola counties.

Alongside damage assessments, our teams will use chainsaws to give affected people access to their homes. Through a process called “muck and gut,” teams will also remove water-damaged materials from dwellings so they can be cleaned and hopefully rebuilt. These services focus on residents with limited resources.

Our WCC members are expected to spend four weeks in Florida.

WCC seeking to fill 65 member positions

Many WCC members have just started their service terms — but it’s not too late to join in! We have opened 65 additional AmeriCorps member positions for nine-month terms beginning this winter.

WCC is seeking young adults ages 18-25, and military veterans with no age restriction. There also are no age limits for applicants with mental or sensory disabilities.

Nine-month terms begin Dec. 19, 2022, or Jan. 17, 2023, depending on crew locations. Prior experience is not required. View our web map for position descriptions — we have exciting opportunities across the state, including central Washington (Ellensburg, Wenatchee and Yakima), eastern Washington (Clarkston and Spokane) and the Puget Sound region (Lake Stevens, Sedro-Woolley, Sultan, and Tulalip).

Our members benefit from daily skills training and career development opportunities while serving on teams that consist of five AmeriCorps members and a crew supervisor.

Former WCC Individual Placement member Juhi LaFuente and a colleague look at the sediment grab on a boat as part of a field project.

In addition to field crews, we offer an internship program called the Individual Placement program. IPs assist with restoration and trail projects in addition to monitoring and research.

“Our WCC is helping build the next generation of environmental leaders and the rewards for serving can be endless,” Talebi said. “Many members have gone on to secure influential positions across the state and country, including at multiple state agencies and environmental or disaster services organizations.”

She shared that partnerships with state and federal agencies and Washington Tribes offer additional benefits through networking opportunities for our AmeriCorps members. 

Our members earn one of the highest living allowances offered among AmeriCorps programs in Washington: $2,506 a month, an increase of 12% over last year. Other benefits include health care, premium level enrollment in AmeriCorps’ Member Assistance Program, interest payment and forbearance for qualified student loans, along with an AmeriCorps scholarship to use for education or to pay off existing loans.

Join WCC

WCC is committed to providing a high-quality AmeriCorps service experience where everyone’s unique abilities can shine.

Do you love being outdoors? Do you know someone looking for entry-level, hands-on environmental experience? We are now accepting applications for our three-quarter term positions on field crews statewide. Learn more and apply on our website.

AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at