Lopez Youth hard at work all summer
by Emmett J. Lawrence
The Lopez Island Conservation Corps had another successful summer program in 2015. Buoyed by a strong turnout of motivated youth, the crew exceeded expectations. In total, there was a crew of seven this season Jana Gruenwald, Alyssa Hamlin, Claire Roberson, Marvin Snapp, Tyler Sovelove and Galen Westervelt. With a balance of different personalities, genders and skills the crew grew into a great team as the summer progressed. It was the first season for all of the crew members, as well as crew leader Emmett Lawrence, so there was a natural learning curve, but after a couple weeks of working together things really started jelling. The crew worked in six different locations throughout San Juan County, ranging from Watmough Bay and Iceberg Point, to Patos Island and Moran State Park. In total, they served nearly 920 hours, cumulatively, in public recreation areas this summer. In 2015, the LICC improved close to 8,000 feet of trails, filled 25 fifteen-gallon trash bags with the flower buds of invasive thistles, and constructed a variety of different trail structures within SJC. Another valuable part of the summer schedule was the environmental education curriculum. This portion of the program relied on the knowledge, skills, and generosity of local community members who came out to share with the crew. They learned about archaeology and oral history of native people, local ecosystems, invasive species, poetry and art in nature, leave no trace outdoor ethics, and basic First aid and CPR. There was also a series of visits to farms, where the crew learned about the processes of making milk, bee keeping, compost production, and seed saving. The crew wishes to extend its thanks to the LICC board members, the Bureau of Land Management, and all the community members who worked with them.