Edmonds-Woodway High junior Max Pearson has been working up a sweat with other teen Student Conservation Association recruits this summer.
“I like being outside a lot,” he said. “I feel it’s better to do a job that helps the environment and save the planet than do some retail job.”
Pearson was part of the last crew of SCA volunteers that spent a week working to remove invasive blackberries and other vegetation from the Washington Park Arboretum; there were two other crews before that. He participated in the SCA program last year, but that work was contained to city parks.
“This work, it feels like I’m making a bigger difference,” Pearson said.
The students made the first dent in what will be an 18-month effort to clear invasive vegetation and enhance collections belonging to the University of Washington along the Lake Washington Boulevard and new Arboretum Loop Trail corridors, which is being funded by a gift to the Arboretum Foundation.
SCA team leader Quena Batres has spent two Americorps tours with an environmental nonprofit prior to her work with SCA. She worked with high schoolers from Edmonds and Lynnwood on the restoration efforts in early August.
“A lot of them have never done this work before,” she said, “and a lot of them didn’t have an interest necessarily in environmental work when they started.”
On top of the restoration work they performed at the arboretum, the SCA students helped build trail structures at Heather Lake Trail near the Mountain Loop Highway, Batres said.