Mount Tahoma High School, Tacoma Washington

I stopped in to visit Eric Knight, who took over for me at Mt. Tahoma HS. He was in class so I stopped into see how the garden the students and I created last year looked. Steven Shreves, President of Mt. Tahoma’s Green Team was there, proudly wearing his sweatshirt and watering the garden. Eugene Lantz, a fellow student had watered through the summer, but there are always a few weeks when no staff is there to allow student access. Consequently, the blueberry plants and the plum tree died (or appear to have died). Steven said that if there was any life in them left to save, he was determined to do so. We talked about the need for jobs for students. I apologized that I wasn’t able to start a job program for Tacoma students this summer. He told me how valuable he saw such a program, explaining that he believes it would: give students something meaningful to do during a long summer; give students job experience; teach them skills; provide food for needy families; care for school and community gardens and more. I came away determined that I would try to find grants for such a program on a national level starting with pilot programs at the farm in Allegan, the nursery/food bank in Port Orchard and Mt. Tahoma in Tacoma. Seeing how much he cared helped fuel my desire to do this important work. I was inspired to learn that fellow Green Team member Kurt Davis and Steven had already set out the recycling units in the school. I told him about the water catchment grant I won and we talked about how they would further the work of the composting grant. It is so gratifying to see youth so engaged and excited about environmental stewardship.