The weeds were flying at Hickman Park Friday morning as a group of a dozen 7th and 8th graders from Kings Middle School pitched in to help the Edmonds Parks Department clear an overgrown area of unwanted vegetation.
Leading the group were mentors Alexander Marshman, a staffer for Young Life, and Ryker Young, a University of Washington student and 2010 Kings High School graduate. “We’ve been working with this group since September as mentors,” explained Marshman. “Ryker and I meet with them regularly to talk about what’s going on in their lives, questions and issues they may be facing, and particular challenges and successes they’re having. Middle school is a challenging time, and being part of a group like this can be very helpful.”
Part of the group’s mission is planning and carrying out public service projects. “Today’s work at Hickman Park is the culmination of one of our public service projects,” said Young.
But it’s not all work for this group. Fun is an important part of the experience too. “We had a great field trip to Wild Waves a few weeks back,” he added.
On hand to direct the work was 17-year Edmonds Parks Department horticulturalist Jesse Curran. “We really value volunteer groups like this who are willing to help with park maintenance, but it’s especially important with vegetation clearing projects like this,” he said. “It fits right in with our efforts to implement a policy of integrated pest management, which in this case means minimizing our use of chemical weed killers. It’s far better to pull them than spray them, but without the volunteers we simply wouldn’t have the resources to do it. The volunteers help us save money and save the environment at the same time.”