Ecology Club Trip Renewed my Inspiration to Create Change


Jessica Abraham

Ecology club members Ivy Ewing (’20) and Nadine Christensen (’17) examine the aquarium at the Youth Earth Summit at the Padilla Bay Reserve in Mount Vernon on Friday, January 6th.

As one of the fortunate members of Arlington’s ecology club to attend the Youth Earth Summit at Padilla Bay Reserve in Mount Vernon, I spent my Friday away from school, indulging in lectures and discussions about our environment. While to some this may seem like an boring endeavor, it inspired me and other club members to take more action around our school.

Meeting with other schools in the region, we shared our past successes, current goals, and the problems we faced at our different schools. Mostly focused on brainstorming solutions to our differing conflicts, I realized we all had diverse issues. Sehome faces the problem of not having convenient spots for their water bottle filling stations, making them underutilized. Anacortes exhibits worry for their new school and the lack of possible greenness. However, they do not seem to lack support from their community, which is what I believe Arlington’s weakness is.

I know our student body aren’t the kind of kids who pull spinach of a glass container and start munching on it during a discussion. While we might have a wide array of students here at Arlington, we weren’t like this. This is why I’m not surprised everyone isn’t wholly focused on living sustainably and protecting our nearby ecosystems. We all have different passions we follow, and that’s okay.

With Ivy Ewing (‘20), I attended a panel about how to be an activist. With a Western Washington University PE teacher, a member of Whatcom County’s city council, and a representative from Students of the Salish Sea. They gave great advice. They informed me I should tailor my conversation towards their interests, so sticking that away into my notes app on my phone, I prepared to present it in our club meeting at the end of the day.

However, being with some of the most Earth-friendly schools inspired to really evaluate what my high school was all about. What could I do for our student body that could help the environment? We had so many ideas as a club, but some of them were absurd. We knew this. Our most practical and well-liked idea was to get funding for our second water-bottle-refilling station.

We applied for a grant earlier in 2016, and while it was denied, our club is dedicated to establish another one of these popular machine. By doing this, we hope to raise awareness of the harmful effects plastic water bottles have on our environment as well as our pockets.

In the spring, the ecology club will ask for a grant for a water-bottle-refilling station in the gym foyer. Members of the club will also be asking for sponsors from local businesses in order raise money, and while we cannot promise it will be built this year, it is a supported dream we have as a club.