New Start Students: Park Stewards.
By Kyla Woodall, New Start student
Over the course of six weeks, my classmates and I worked together to learn about the world around us. We discovered all about invasive plant life and how they affect our community. We broadened our minds in learning about new ways to help our environment by composting, recycling, and picking up the garbage that litters the streets. Even during the summer Samantha Rost came up to Ann Magyar (a teacher at New Start) and said “You know I am almost annoyed with you because now that I learned about native and invasive plants I really see them everywhere”, It was an engaging experience that helped us to develop an interest for improving our community. I feel that by attending this program, we have become more aware of our surroundings and how we make an impact on our global community and the future for our children and our children’s children.
This all started when Mark Farrell, a King County Education Employment Specialist and New Start partner, received a grant from the King County Natural Resource Stewardship Network with funds from The King Conservation District, the Forest Service and King County. As a class, we identified the invasive plants in Salmon Creek Park and removed them. Besides removing the invasive plants, we also did a lot of our own planting in our school’s raised bed planters. Soon New Start and its neighbors will have a crop of tomatoes, bush beans, turnips, beets, and other produce. Throughout the program we worked with people whose careers focus on the environment. People who came to see our final presentation stated, “In the beginning it looked as if it would take five years to finish what you guys accomplished in 6 weeks.” I feel that we really did quality work. We did everything by hand; it was very hard but rewarding at the same time.
Also in the class, we learned about this wonderful thing called compost. Before the program many of us had no prior knowledge as to what compost was, and after completing the program, we were all motivated to have our own compost at home. It was satisfying knowing that we could help to improve our environment just by separating our garbage. We did our part by reusing plastic bottles to drink water from, and when we were down at Salmon Creek Park we looked for trash to separate and recycle.
Some of us are going to return this summer and help build the native plant nursery, to help benefit the community even more than we already have. The New Start nursery will be part of the classes, and the plants will be transplanted to Salmon Creek Park. The students are also going to be doing a composting program on the school campus.
This program has really helped to shape us as individuals, as well as team members. It was a very engaging and worthwhile course that opened our eyes to new experiences and different ways that we could help our community, in more ways that we ever thought possible.
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