Meet the King County Parks Youth Conservation Corps!

This summer, King County Parks welcomed its first Youth Conservation Corps for a 7-week paid internship. This brand-new program is an opportunity for local high school students to explore environmental career pathways through hands-on workshops and restoration projects. High schoolers completed applications and interviewed for the 10 open positions.

A group of youth of all races and genders — the first cohort of the Youth Conservation Corps — stand with Sahar, a dark haired woman who is the leader of the program, in the sunshine underneath a large painted wood picnic shelter. Everyone is smiling and the youth hold 2 big hand-drawn signs that read "YCC Year 1."
Year 1 of our Youth Conservation Corps with their fearless leader, Sahar, from our Volunteer Program team.

The YCC worked Monday through Friday, with three days in-person and two days online each week. The interns were excited to work alongside their peers and meet new people after a year of virtual school. For many of our interns, this was their first job!

So, what did the YCC do every day? Well, if you visited any White Center Parks this summer, you may have noticed the group busy working at a restoration site, but that was just one of the activities they did this summer. Each Monday started in the garden at Steve Cox Memorial Park, which became the program’s home. There, the interns discussed solutions to environmental problems and learned more about environmental justice issues impacting King County communities.

A group of masked youth of all different races and genders surround a few members of the Parks crew as they speak to them about a topic. Parks crew members wear fluorescent orange and yellow vests and work clothes. The group is in the middle of a clearing in a forested area.
The YCC group learning from a member of Parks staff.

The interns explored these subjects through weekly topics such as ecological restoration, urban heat, air quality, stormwater, transportation, and environmental storytelling. Guest speakers with expertise in each of these topics joined the YCC and shared more about their personal career paths and current projects. The interns were eager to contribute to these discussions and helped broaden our perspectives as well.

6 masked youth of all races and genders cross a foot bridge in the middle of a green forest. They carry backpacks and clipboards and are dressed for outdoor recreation.
The YCC group crosses a foot bridge in a King County park.

This was an amazing first cohort and each intern brought unique experiences and curiosities. In the next few weeks, we are excited to feature some of their reflections from their summers here on the Plog.

Though the summer went too fast, we are excited to stay in touch with this awesome group 😊. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Sahar Arbab as

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