Riverview School District, in partnership with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and Pacific Education Institute (PEI) saw 13 students, in grades 10, 11, and 12, participate in the Youth Engaged in Sustainable Systems (YESS!) internship program. This wonderful opportunity gave a cohort of students the chance to learn about ecology, sustainability and natural resources, earn a stipend of $1,800, receive 1.0 credit towards graduation, and invaluable, hands-on learning experiences.
From June 27 through August 5, Riverview students worked 30 hours per week in a variety of locations, in and around King County. As part of a restoration crew, students worked alongside professionals from the U.S. Forestry Service, Washington Department of Natural Resources and representatives from King County Environmental Services. While providing an opportunity to explore green careers, students studied conservation, ecological restoration, land use management, and the difference between invasive species, native species and an overall familiarity with Northwest plants.
The program was supervised by Dana Koukol, teacher with Riverview Learning Center’s CLIP program, and arranged, in part, by Riverview’s CTE Director, Scott Petersen. Once the internship was complete, students came together, with many of the professionals and agencies they worked with in attendance and gave summative presentations on what they learned.
The presentations came in the form of a “pitch,” asking those in attendance to consider funding a restoration project. This added a project management component to the learning that students elevated to an imaginative and creative space. In addition to developing work plans, supply needs and funding and budget proposals, students took questions from audience members about their presentations.
Koukol praised the partnership. “The collaboration with Riverview School District and all the great partners we worked with in the process of this summer school program was phenomenal. Each partner played an important role in enhancing the lives of these students!”
Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is an environmental non-profit who works to conserve and restore natural lands, open spaces, and historic sites; maintain recreational trails; engage with students through environmental education opportunities; advocate for stewardship of public lands; and so much more. They also are the coordinating entity for the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area, encompassing more than 1.5-million-acre landscape that connects Central Washington, the Cascade Mountains, and Puget Sound.
PEI is an educational non-profit aiming to deliver high-quality professional development and consultation services for educators in an equitable, locally relevant, career-connected, outdoor STEM education.
Click the video above to see a showcase of both the summer internship and the final presentations. Again, we congratulate these students on their hard work this summer, making memories and sharing experiences which will last a lifetime.