Department of Ecology enlists teenagers to clean up litter

February 16, 2012

By Staff

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NEW — 9:40 a.m. Feb. 16, 2012

Newcastle teenagers can join the effort to clean up Washington parks and roadsides soon.

The state Department of Ecology’s Northwest Regional Office in Bellevue plans to hire about 72 teenagers to help clean up area roadsides, parks and recreation areas during the summer. Ecology Youth Corps members also learn how to better care for the environment through the program.

Youths ages 14 to 17 can apply through April 10 to work with one of Ecology Youth Corps crews cleaning up litter this summer in King, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. Crews work Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in a four-week session.

Sessions run from June 28 through July 25 and again from July 26 through August 21. Participants earn $9.04 per hour.

Teenagers can pick up applications through area school counselors and online.

Dollars for the Ecology Youth Corps program comes from a dedicated fund called the Waste Reduction, Recycling and Model Litter Control Account.  The account is funded by a voter-approved tax on items related to the litter problem.

The program has been cut back due to the state’s reduced budget. In recent years, litter programs, including the Ecology Youth Corps, lost about a one-third of funding due to the downturn in the economy. The cutback means the agency can hire about 100 fewer youths statewide.

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