North Cascades Wild's service in Seattle

September 25th marked a special day for North Cascades Wild.
It was a day of reconnection—seeing the friends that were made over the past summer’s 12-day trips in North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. It was a day of remembering—recalling the beauty of the locations visited, the dedication of the people met, the laughing at silly photos. It was a day of reestablishment of a sense of place—reminding each other of the value of remaining stewards of our public lands and giving back, whether it be a Wilderness or a public park.
The 2010 North Cascades Wild Reunion was held at Seward Park in Seattle on a beautiful fall weekend day. Students from Skagit and Whatcom counties, Shoreline, Seattle, and Tukwila all gathered together at the Seward Park Audubon Center with the intention of connecting, yet again, but in a new time and setting.
For most of the 2010 NC Wild students, it had been between one and three months since their experience on Ross Lake or Baker Lake had ended, and the expressions on one another’s faces as they laid eyes upon their trip-mates for the first time since, was priceless. Gasps for joy, leaps into each others’ arms, giggles over the “clean” look everyone was sporting—versus the 12-day aromas we departed with in the summer—all contributed to the excited atmosphere at the Reunion.
After a game of re-introductions, NC Wild joined forces with staff from Seward Park & Recreation and students from the local Student Conservation Association to give back to the park by removing invasive Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. With that many hands to work, the area was cleared in no time, and a celebration ensued. Students from both groups were able to share with each other their outdoor experiences as a means to encourage youth leadership and stewardship in the future.

Introductions on the Seward Park lawn
Seward Park & Recreation staff give a tool talk to students
Aleazar, Harmony & Michelle give back to their community by digging up ivy
Karleigh & Thao pose for a photo while helping give back as stewards of Seward Park
Janae & Shan Hua are all smiles at the Reunion

A competitive game of NC Wild Jeopardy took place, rekindling fond memories and knowledge gained from the summer trips, and was concluded by a slideshow of all the trips’ pictures. In addition, Trip 5’s Cyprus Richardson’s birthday was celebrated with an honorary “trowel” as a gift by his instructors, Kelsi and Rebecca.

NC Wild jeopardy with instructors Mike, Rebecca & Corey
Students celebrate their connections at the Reunion

As this year’s NC Wild students say “see ya” to the summer and greet the fall season, their imprint on the North Cascades will never be forgotten. There is no doubt that we will be seeing their inspiring leadership again in this landscape, and we look forward to it.

Photos courtesy of Kelsi Franzen & Rebecca Ryan.

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