Some 40 teens spent their summer vacations working with the Park District’s Natural Resources team, helping to manage invasive species, installing boot brush stations, spreading mulch, and improving habitat in nine island parks. Along the way, each of them earned a paycheck to boot! It was the 13th season that the Parks District employed summer help.
Over nine weeks and three summer sessions, teen crews removed 175 yards of invasive species like ivy, holly, Scotch broom, Herb Robert, blackberry, and more. Thanks to a Community Grant from the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, crews also installed two new boot brush stations at Blakely Harbor Park and Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve, helping curb the spread of invasive weed seeds from our boots and shoes.
One crew member shared that the most rewarding part was knowing “we were doing work to help the environment in a meaningful and impactful way.” Another added, “I learned how to work with people I don’t know and work with everyone’s special skills to get tons of work done!”
Lunch hours were spent learning from conservation professionals, including an introduction to studying salmon habitat in Kitsap County with Hannah Brush and Theo Suver from the Suquamish Tribe, forestry and geometry with Andrew Wodnik from Silva Solutions, and a special visit from biologist Mike Pratt and Orion the owl.
Speakers introduced crew members to work, “I wouldn’t have found otherwise,” shared one crew member, with many adding that their experiences over the summer shaped their future college and career goals.
Along with the Park District and Parks Foundation, the Student Conservation Corps recently completed season was made possible from funding provided by the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, and the Bainbridge Island Community Foundation.
Student Activity By the Numbers
— Employed 40 teens through four spring break and summer sessions.
— Spent 3,200 hours working in island parks.
— Worked in nine parks across Bainbridge Island.
— Removed 175 yards of invasive weeds, including ivy, Scotch broom, holly, blackberry, butterfly bush, Herb Robert, and more.
— Learned from 19 lunchtime speakers on working in the conservation field.
For more information on this program, visit: www.biparks.org/student-conservation-corps/
*Image credits: Bainbridge Island Park & Recreation District.
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