Reviewing Our Summer Environmental Justice Program

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As summer is coming to a close we want to highlight DNDA’s Environmental Justice Summer Youth Program, celebrating the amazing teens who participated and all of the wonderful partner organizations who helped make this program a success!

This summer DNDA was able to expand our EJ Summer Youth Program by hosting two sessions, one in July and one in August. This allowed us to engage 20 total youth interns who are residents here in Delridge. Based at Roxhill Park, each program session covered a wide variety of topics related to local environmental issues, understanding the history of the land, and meeting other organizations and community groups who are actively working to build community and improve the health of the local environment.

During the July session we focused on water, exploring topics related to urban waterways, local watersheds, and different water-related ecosystems. The youth interns participated in a variety of activities including a hike around Roxhill Park where they learned about the history of the peat wetland, a kayak tour of the Duwamish River with the River Access Paddle Program through Heron’s Nest, a cleanup day with Puget Sound Keeper Alliance, a beach walk to learn about marine ecosystems with the Environmental Science Center at Seahurst Park, a tour with SR3 Sealife, Response and Research, and a tour of the Seattle Aquarium where they spoke with staff biologists.

During the August session we explored topics related to food justice, art, restoration, and medicine. Similar to July, these youth interns explored Roxhill Park and the Duwamish River to learn about the local landscape and its history. They also visited Seahurst Park where they connected with Sea Potential and they got a chance to learn about food access and sustainability while visiting Nurturing Roots, the Beacon Food Forest, and Marra Farms and Solid Ground and their Community Food Education program. Lastly, the youth participated in restoration work near Camp Long in the Longfellow Creek watershed where they helped remove ivy from the forest and tested out their plant identification skills.

To conclude both program sessions, the youth helped host a final celebration event where they presented on their independent projects. With an audience of family, friends, and DNDA staff, the youth taught us about a variety of topics ranging from the history of the Duwamish River, Impacts to Longfellow Creek, Pacific Salmon, and Local Plants.

Overall this summer program was successful in connecting local high school-aged youth to different places and spaces in their community where they learned more about a wide range of environmental justice topics. We want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this program possible, including to the program funders at King County Parks, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the Green Seattle Partnership. We can’t wait to see what next summer has to bring!