Each year, KCD hosts a Washington Conservation Corps Crew to implement conservation projects across King County. Crewmembers deepen their understanding of native plants, restoration techniques, and stewardship best management practices through tending plants at KCD’s Native Plant Nursery and habitat improvement projects as well has doing the heavy lift of packing and distributing plants for KCD’s Native Plant Sale.
Crew Lead: Justin LeMay (he/him)
This is Justin’s 4th year as a supervisor of KCD’s Washington Conservation Corps crew. He consistently enjoys seeing new members learn about salmon habitat restoration throughout King County, and the growth in both skills and knowledge members experience during their service year. Working outdoors and having the privilege to revisit old planting sites that are thriving help Justin start each day with excitement. Thuja plicata remains Justin’s favorite native plant. Justin’s golden pup Blakely is KCD’s Nursery mascot and honorary WCC member. Outside of taking care of Blakely Justin enjoys motorcycle riding, basketball and making dad jokes.
Audre Smith (she/her)
Audre Smith is an enthusiastic outdoors woman who recently moved to WA after getting her B.S. in biological sciences. Her hobbies are hiking, camping, snowboarding, climbing, kayaking, painting, and much more. She is passionate about environmentalism and loves to make a positive impact everywhere she goes no matter how small, whether educating people on simple ways they can benefit the planet to her own life-style. Ecstatic to join the WCC team, Audre is working in her element outside and actively contributing to restoration in the PNW.
Austin Casey (he/him)
Austin is a lifelong Washingtonian who was born and raised on the East side, in the Tri-Cities. He moved to beautiful Spokane in 2016 and completed a Bachelor’s degree in History/Social Studies at Whitworth University in 2020. He moved to Sumner, WA in mid-2021 and is still looking for ways to get involved in the local community (and ways to avoid traffic). This job with the WCC is helping him to continue his education and learn a great deal about how to be a better steward of the environment around him. His former jobs include being a mailman, carwash operator, and after-school teacher, and he spends most of his free time watching movies and pro sports, reading, playing old video games, and working on a genealogy project.
Carolyn Heck (she/her)
Carolyn Heck is a Washington Conservation Corps member serving on the Riparian Restoration Crew at KCD. Carolyn grew up in Lansing, Michigan, before attending the University of Michigan. After earning her degree in Geology and Environmental Science with a specialization in Urban Environmental Justice, she moved to Washington to pursue a career in the environmental field. Outside of work, Carolyn enjoys working out, painting, and exploring Seattle.
Magnolia Riley (they/them)
Magnolia is not from Washington State. They come from the Southeastern and Southwestern part of the United States, which they find to be a ruling indication of their nomadic lifestyle. They are always exploring new places because they believe one never truly knows what is out there unless they are experiencing it. They like to tie traveling into their love for nature and hiking by cataloging the worthwhile locations they have visited through photography. They have ventured to over 25 states in the country by road-tripping; a lot of these destinations being national parks, nature preserves, and wildlife refuges/sanctuaries. They are a major animal and environmental rights advocate and have always seemed to be—a huge factor on why they moved to Washington State and they were able to discover WCC along their journey to study environmentalism in their field of choice. They are an avid bird watcher; feeding them and other wildlife in their spare time.
Sarah Stewart (she/her)
Sarah is an AmeriCorp member on the Riparian Restoration Crew. Her professional background includes crew-based environmental work, as well as many years of customer service. She is originally from Indiana, where she recieved her Bachelor of Science from the University of Indianapolis. Her majors were Environmental Science and Sustainability, and her minors were Geology and Biology. A long-time lover of outdoor adventure, moving to the PNW with her husband 3 years ago was a dream come true for Sarah. In her free time, you can find Sarah rock climbing, hiking, thrift shopping, or spending time with friends.