EarthCorps in Seattle founded by Dwight Wilson (Chile & Honduras)

EarthCorps family kids volunteers

Join EarthCorps on MLK, Jr. Day to plant trees and restore park space.

By Cheryl Murfin

Young adults and those who mentor them at the Seattle-based nonprofit EarthCorps have a big vision: an equitable world where all people and nature thrive together.

The EarthCorps mission sets out the organization’s role in bringing about this world.

How EarthCorps fulfills its mission

The organization brings young adults from around the country and around the world who are passionate about preserving the environment to participate in a year-long leadership training program in Seattle. Their class? The diverse ecosystem of Puget Sound.

Each year, 40 new program participants between the ages of 18 and 25 join EarthCorps as crew members. Thirty crew members come from across the United States and their positions are funded by the national Americorps, while 10 crew positions are filled by young people from around the world. They follow best practices in environmental restoration and stewardship by actively participating in field projects that protect and restore local ecosystems, increase access to nature, and address the effects of climate change on local environments. All of this work is grounded in a commitment to racial equity and environmental justice.

What participants/crew earn

Crew members learn to work collaboratively, lead community volunteers and guide technical restoration projects along shorelines, trails and in forests. The hope is that they will take what they have learned during their year in Seattle and use it to tackle pressing environmental issues in their own communities and around the world – climate change, pollution, environmental justice and ecological degradation.

Britt Le served on an EarthCorps crew for a year right out of college when she was unsure of the direction she wanted to go with her life and work.

“I was young and didn’t know what job I wanted to do and I thought, well, I’ve always wanted to work outdoors and I’ve always wanted to use my hands to shape the world. ” Says it. Now, years later, Le is a senior EarthCorps executive.

“EarthCorps crew was and continues to be entry-level work,” says Le. “People entering the program don’t need any kind of background in environmental restoration or science or any kind of technical skill, which is very beneficial for people who are just trying to get in. So despite the fact that I had no experience in any of these fields, EarthCorps recognized that I had a passion and interest in the outdoors and working in the outdoor industry.

For more family activities, news, events and travel, sign up for Seattle’s Child newsletters

EarthCorps History

Dwight Wilson (Chile & Honduras) 1981-83)

The idea for EarthCorps came to founder Dwight Wilson while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and Honduras 1981-83. He wanted to create a Peace Corps for the Earth. In 1993, Wilson and several friends started what would become the year-long EarthCorps program, bringing young environmentalists from many different countries come together to plant trees, exchange views, learn through service, and return home to implement projects and share what they have learned.

Since then, more than 1,000 young leaders and 200,000 community volunteers have worked together to improve the waters and lands of Puget Sound.

School partnerships

EarthCorps partners with schools throughout the region, customizing outdoor environmental projects and service-oriented environmental curriculums. To find out more about how your school can collaborate with the organization, go to school partnership page on

How volunteers can help

Each year, more than 10,000 youth, business leaders and community members step up to volunteer as part of EarthCorps’ efforts to maintain and restore public parks for future generations. Volunteer events are open to all ages, although children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Le says that entire families often join events to volunteer together and spend time outdoors. EarthCorps provides all the tools needed to participate, including gloves and smaller tools if needed.

“One of the best ways for people to engage in environmental stewardship is to get involved when they’re young,” says Le. “I’ve seen kids let go of worries about being outside in the rain, cold or mud and have fun.

“The goal of the volunteer program is not to do work, it’s for volunteers to enjoy their time outside.”

Volunteers are welcome to come as long as they wish and to do as much or as little as they can.

“If a child spends all of their time rolling around in mud, as long as their parent is comfortable, that sounds great to me,” Le says.

Schoolchildren stand in a mulching line as part of an EarthCorps partnership.

To be involved:
  • Volunteer:EarthCorps welcomes volunteers of all ages to help keep the city’s parks and forests healthy. Staff and volunteer leaders teach everything volunteers need to know, including tool safety, forest health, and the importance of specific tasks that help improve forests and parks. Tasks include activities such as: remove aggressive weeds like English ivy and Himalayan blackberry, plant native trees and shrubs, spread mulch and more.
  • Hhostan international participant in your house.
  • Join special EarthCorpsevents.

Contact: 6310 NE 74th St., Suite 201E, Seattle, WA 98115; Phone: (206)322-9296; E-mail:

Getting Dirty with EarthCorps on January 15

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a day of service in the 105-acre Wilburton Hill Park. By planting native shrubs and trees, volunteers will help protect the health of Wilburton Forest, which is crucial to healthy ecosystems in Bellevue.

All ages

No experience is necessary for this EarthCorps event. Tools, gloves, snacks, coffee, tea and water will be provided. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult. Volunteers between the ages of 14 and 17 need a City of Bellevue Disclaimer if a parent or responsible adult is not present.


Volunteers will meet at the park, located at 12400 rue Main in Bellevue, starting at 10 a.m. For all the details, see the event page.

Dwight Wilson is a Bay Area social entrepreneur and co-founder of six entities whose work has focused on areas such as participatory democracy, digital inclusion, environmental restoration, and international development.

His latest nonprofit, CrowdVoting.World, gives organizations and jurisdictions access to the wisdom of the global crowd so they can make more inclusive, transparent, and effective decisions.

A graduate of Yale University and the Peace Corps, Dwight has spent five years total living and working in Chile, Honduras, India, Spain, and Uzbekistan.

He puts democracy first before matters Democratic or Republican. This may be a legacy of family dinners featuring energetic discussions between two beloved relatives: his father, who was deputy press secretary for the Kennedy campaign in 1960 (and then served in the administration), and his grandmother who, that same year, put Henry Cabot Lodge’s name in nomination as Vice President at the Republican national convention.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2022. Peace Corps Worldwide.