High school volunteers participate in a yearlong program dedicated to environmental job training
Many—particularly teenagers—find it difficult to wake up early on the weekends, but for 150 local high school students, recent Saturdays have been spent dedicating a total of 700 hours of manual labor to learn environmental stewardship.
These youth are volunteers through the Earth Stewards Program, which began in October 2012 and is a partnership between the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.
The volunteers, who include students from Kirby and Ponderosa high schools, improve parks through trail development while receiving green job training. For the first project in the Earth Stewards Program, they are assisting with construction of the multi-use Emma McCrary Trail in Pogonip.
The idea for the 1.5-mile trail was born about four years ago, and construction began last spring, once the community support, donations and permits had been acquired, according to Heather Reiter, the chief ranger for the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department.