EarthCorps envisions a global community of young leaders and engaged citizens working to build strong local communities that support healthy habitats. The flagship corps program brings together up to 50 diverse young adults in a full-time, year-round conservation corps experience. They plant trees, restore salmon habitat, maintain trails, participate in environmental and cross-cultural workshops and learn to lead volunteers. Many of these young people go on to lead environmental projects in their home communities, from Seattle and Federal Way to Armenia, Kenya and Fiji.
The volunteer program engages 10,000 youth and community volunteers in hands-on environmental service projects each year. These projects take place in urban, suburban and rural areas. Activities with K-12 youth include in-school, weekend and summer environmental education and service learning experiences. EarthCorps has a long track record of partnering with youth and community organizations in low-income, ethnically diverse and underserved neighborhoods, for example, the Cheasty neighborhood of South Seattle and White Center in unincorporated King County.
EarthCorps is a leader in the evolving field of community-based environmental restoration. In addition to hands-on habitat restoration and volunteer management, EarthCorps provides ecological planning and management tools including mapping, monitoring and scientific experiment design that help natural resource planners, public agencies and land trusts prioritize and benchmark their stewardship efforts. EarthCorps ecologists contribute actively to scientific and professional knowledge in the field, including our demonstration Coastal Blue Carbon project in the Snohomish estuary.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
EarthCorps' corps program is an innovative "Peace Corps for the Earth" that allows young people from different countries to serve together, building global understanding while creating a healthier environment. For example, Karmila Parakkasi is an EarthCorps graduate who has taken on the challenging work of documenting endangered Sumatran tigers in the wild. She led the first team to photograph these tigers in Sumatra, and is at the forefront of preserving habitat for this iconic species. Karmila consistently defies stereotypes about women's roles and abilities, serving as a terrific role model for young women and men everywhere. She credits EarthCorps' program with giving her the confidence and network to pursue her longtime dream of species conservation.
Funding is needed to recruit, train and support emerging environmental leaders like Karmila who transform natural areas in the region and launch impactful careers by participating in EarthCorps' corps program. We also need homestay families who can host young people like Karmila and volunteers who can serve alongside her. When you support EarthCorps as a donor, volunteer or homestay, you improve the natural areas in our backyard, and you create a ripple effect of environmental improvements across the globe.