Students pitch in at Edmonds parks

Students on the trail.

“I got a big root” an excited voice yelled out as I made my way down the trail leading from Yost Park to Pine Ridge Park on Thursday. The voice belonged to a young person holding up a thick root. He and the other four young people were working on the steep bank, pulling out blackberries, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants. Having spent the past year working with Edmonds School District environmental clubs to put on the Edmonds Youth Environmental Summit, I was curious.

Their T-shirts announced their group — SCA, or Student Conservation Association. This nonprofit hires young people for summer jobs to work in cities and counties throughout the U.S. It was like meeting myself on the trail almost 50 years ago when I supervised and taught environmental education to students in the government Youth Conservation Corps in the Alaskan wilderness.

This group has been working for the City of Edmonds Parks Department in Yost Park and Hickman Park, removing invasive and maintaining trails for four days a week. On the fifth day they have environmental education and often go on field trips.

SCA staff leader Ken Newlon, an Edmonds resident, and Aiden Curran, a recent Edmonds-Woodway High School graduate, taking a short break.

SCA is apparently very active on the East Coast with just a few groups working in the Northwest. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have more of these young people working in our parks and learning about stewardship? I was pleased to see Edmonds involved in creating this opportunity.

— Story and photos by Gayle Leberg

  1. I am glad that the parks department seems to no longer be turning away volunteer efforts, due to a claimed lack of a coordinator.

  2. Mr. Alexander, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) is actually a contracted service the city pays for each year to provide additional maintenance services in our parks system and support a worthy organization.

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