Washington Conservation Corps—a force to be reckoned with

Since 2007 Forterra has worked with a revolving WCC crew of young professionals—skilled individuals that dedicate nearly 2,000 hours a year to national service through the AmeriCorps.

Forterra’s WCC crew works on rural and urban lands in seven counties in Washington state and 12 cities each year. They provide essential support to many of Forterra’s habitat restoration projects, maintaining established restoration projects so Forterra is able to move forward and continue to pursue new projects without losing ground. Over the years our crews have fearlessly tackled everything we’ve thrown at them, including tasks such as leading large volunteer events, treating miles of knotweed and removing hazardous trees.

With an emphasis on restoring salmon habitat, removing invasive weeds and installing native vegetation, our crew provides on-the-ground expertise while gaining valuable career experience. They’re a force to be reckoned with as they work together to accomplish challenging project assignments.

With a diversity of backgrounds, skills and an abundance of training to pull from, they create an efficient machine capable of carrying out tasks that are often too complex and dangerous for volunteers. The sky is the limit with this hard-working team, and we are so thankful for all that they do.

 

Cary Hoffman is the WCC crew Supervisor and fishing enthusiast extraordinaire. He brings to his team a wealth of restoration experience and an innovative approach to each situation. Cary received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences and has since made a splash in the river world as a respected river guide. The crew appreciates that Cary remains calm under stress and utilizes adaptive management when an original plan fails. When he’s not leading and training his WCC crew, Cary has only one word: fish.

Daniel Bascom is the WCC crew Assistant Supervisor and marine biology professional. With his varied background in agriculture, fisheries sciences and oceanography, Dan provides a unique and valuable view on habitat restoration work and its effect on larger systems. Dan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Environmental Studies and has since put his technical skills to work. In previous positions, Dan performed meticulous tasks such as data analysis, DNA sampling, and smolt identification. Nowadays he enjoys observing the varied landscapes that the Pacific Northwest has to offer while working with his crew mates to improve habitat conditions. The crew appreciates Dan’s ability to stay calm under pressure and the way that he naturally understands various perspectives. When he’s not working hard in the field, Dan enjoys running and getting lost in a good comic book.

 

Derek Blackstone brings to the crew an impressive array of professional skills and talents, and an admirable sense of humor on even the toughest of days. His experience serving as an educator, a musician, and forestry professional provide Derek with the flexibility and focus to keep him and his teammates going. Derek received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Environmental Studies focused on agriculture, oceanography, and sustainability. He has since navigated towards teaching others and working with sustainable building techniques, though for the time being his focus is on preserving natural areas. The crew appreciates Derek’s strong work ethic and optimism as they tackle daunting tasks together. When he’s not attacking noxious weeds, Derek spends most of his time making music with two groups and teaching himself to play guitar.

 

Andy Jackowski is an experienced restoration technician with a strong background in stewardship and riparian conservation. Her time working with farmers in the Snoqualmie River valley to monitor planting projects provided Andy with both the technical and the people skills to thrive as a WCC corps member. Andy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Environmental Studies and has since jumped into the professional world of restoration ecology in the Pacific Northwest, adding an abundance of field skills to her tool belt along the way. The crew values Andy’s calm attitude and ability to handle the toughest situations with grace. When she’s not fighting to save our forests, Andy enjoys diving into a good book, sailing in the Puget Sound, and playing the piano.

 

Tessa Putz grew up in a very different kind of forest down in Southern CA, but her infectious love for the woods only grew stronger when she moved to WA for school. Her solid background in forestry and silviculture provide Tessa with valuable tree identification skills and an understanding of ecological processes. Tessa received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Environmental Science with a minor in Marine Biology and has since put her technical skills to work in various habitat monitoring positions. The crew appreciates Tessa’s ability to think ahead and ask enough questions to allow for complete understanding of the work at hand, and provide opportunities to connect their work to a big-picture context. When Tessa isn’t enjoying a hike through the woods with her crew mates, she’s climbing mountains and backpacking to admire the trees and rivers from above.

Drew Tully is obtaining his expertise in habitat restoration during his time with the WCC. His literary background and experience with the culinary arts provide Drew with an original perspective on the day to day work which he appreciatively shares with his crew mates. Drew received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in Creative Writing and has since had multiple pieces published. The crew admires Drew’s ability to feed the creative thought process and allow for more varied ideas to be considered. As evidence of Drew’s true love for the outdoors, he spent an entire month camping on his road-trip-move from OK to WA, exploring wilderness areas and parks along the way. When he isn’t getting to know Pacific Northwest ecology, Drew spends much of his time writing down his thoughts and playing guitar.

  • Michelle Quast

    Michelle can’t get enough of the beautiful Pacific Northwest and on any given weekend, she can be found outside gardening, running or encouraging her lab “dog of the future” to chase lasers. When she’s not getting her hands dirty, she’s inside baking vegan cupcakes, reading a book with her cat or designing her future tiny house. She is a self-proclaimed plant nerd and is always looking to the ground to identify something new.
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