Keeping the Arboretum’s trails clear is skilled work and valuable experience for everyone, but especially for the youth in our communities that will be our next generation of leaders.
We seek opportunities to engage the next generation at Hoyt Arboretum, so our partnership with Northwest Youth Corps and Girls Inc in 2023 was a great fit! With member support, Hoyt Arboretum Friends was able to financially support bringing their crew of eight 14-18 year old girls along with two Crew Leaders to work under Curator Martin’s guidance this summer.
“Working on clearing trails at Hoyt was the first trail work experience for all the youth on our crew,” said Crew Leader Tarryn Dal Santo, “not only were they able to make the trails a bit more accessible for members of the community, but they leaned into learning all they could about the area.”
Along with coaching the crew to safely use tools to prune trees and pull weeds, Martin provided introductory plant and tree identification training so they could connect more deeply with the trees around them while they worked.
While pruning back branches from the understory that were obstructing Redwood Trail, sophomore Lexi rubbed a leaf between her fingers and feeling its soft fuzz recognizes “Beaked Hazelnut!”.
Each crew member was able to take what they learned on the trails at Hoyt, and apply it to their own interests. Sophomore Avree is good at math and would like to be an environmental engineer.
She shared, “I like working out here in the shade, especially compared to the rotation we did last week,” the crew had been planting in east Portland the week before, “it really shows how important it is to have tree canopy in other parts of the city too.”
15 year old Lily aspires to be a theater director, and at her suggestion, the crew sang songs from “The Lorax”, as they worked.
We couldn’t think of a better role-model than The Lorax, and it’s clear that no matter where life takes them, these teens will grow up to speak for the trees.