This July, four team members had the adventure of a lifetime. Shelly Banks, Cedrick Burton, Zharia Bowles and Ella Humphries joined GWJax’s program manager Shanell Davis-Bryant for a week at Glacier National Park in Montana where they joined the Green Team Youth Corps from Groundwork Milwaukee. As part of the Groundwork USA’s efforts to maintain our National Parks and engage youth in learning by doing, the teens helped with maintenance by rebuilding garage doors that had been damaged by snow and ice. That work made a lasting impression on Cedrick Burton, a Robert E. Lee High rising junior. “The whole trip experience was great, but my favorite part was construction,” he said. Cedrick is grateful for the opportunity and especially for the park staff he worked with. “They showed us what to do and then let us do the work…and I was good at it! It made me think that I want to study engineering and construction.”
Another fascinating project was participating in a study of Loons, a bird that is Native Species of Concern in Montana. Loons are migratory birds that winter in the salty ocean waters along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, but then breed in the fresh water lakes of Canada, Maine, and Montana each summer. Although Loons look like ducks, they are more closely related to penguins and puffins. The team got to track the bird and record their findings.
Many thanks to the Groundwork USA, National Park Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, and a generous community supporter for making the trip possible, and to REI Jacksonville for their guidance in outfitting the youth.