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Photo Gallery | Our Youth Responds to the American River Parkway Foundation! Three Hours Commitment Will Live On A Lifetime!

American River Parkway Foundation’s request was met with smiles from those on bended knees, perhaps a shovel in hand, garden gloves, and a love of nature.  Our community youth participated in their three hour commitment, February 22, 2012 at the Elmanto access.  All were there to help with Oak Grove maintenance, as Program Manager, Ken Myatt, of the American River Parkway Foundation, introduced the art of caring for the native Valley Oak.  Student volunteers assisted in removing weeds and non-native species from in and around the oak grove cages as Ken spent time with each volunteer, describing how to locate the fragile tree within a bed of tall grass.    

“This is a branch right there and you can kind of feel around the grass.  This is the feel of the tree and this is the feel of the grass and when you feel around and it’s like of stiff and pokey, this might be the tree.”   As Ken had students reach in and take the grass out, he asked them to feel everything that is there and take out everything that is not the tree.  “Tug it gently.  If you feel like the tree is coming out with it, though, you want to back off because you don’t want to uproot the tree, as the roots have grown together.  Keep an eye on and feel for what is the tree,” Ken advised.   Ken went on to demonstrate:   “This branching is the tree, so get all of the grassy stuff.  The stiff sticks that are in there, this is the tree.  This does not have any leaves right now.  It is a deciduous tree.  It’s a Valley Oak. “    

The student volunteers, teen community volunteers, as well as an older generation worked harmoniously, as there was a sense of unity with the beauty of planting a new tree, with a shared delight in knowing one day, it will stand tall and majestic.   

Phuong Tran, age 15 from Mira Loma High School representing the Key Club, when asked if she was enjoying this time replied, “Yes, I am actually.  I actually like digging this up, because I am not a ‘get down on your knees and work in the soil kind of girl; but, you know it’s fun, because you learn something new.”  Phuong plans on coming back for future events with the American River Parkway.   

Sydney Ford, Rio Americana High School, age 15 is doing this for a National Charity League.  It is a mom and daughter charity league.  “I’ve done this one before and will come back out” said Sydney smiling. 

“I do a lot of work for the Parkway.  I am currently stewarding a grove at Ancil Hoffman with a couple of other people and I am helping another person with another grove down by William B. Pond Park,” Gavin White, age 15 of Rio Americana High School informed News10.net My Neighborhood.  Gavin, a tall young man, spoke with a purpose in his voice.  He sees a need for his devotion to the ARPF and is quite proud to be here. 

Ben Soloman, Winston Churchill Middle School, age 13:  “In my school, we have to do community service, so I live by the parkway and just came over here.  I will be back and do more things,” Ben smiled. 

A father-son team, bent side by side, toiled the soil and made preparation for the planting of a Valley Oak.  Matt, age 14 of Orangevale Open School said this was not his first time here and probably plans on coming back.  His father, Dan, said he was just “A volunteer.  I’ve done it before and it’s good stuff.” 

Emily Kotcher, Mira Loma High School, Key Club (Community service-based club) said with pride, “This is just one of the events we do.  I did the Great American River Clean-Up last year.” 

Alex Weis, 15, Mira Loma High School said this is her first American River Key Club Event.  “Sounded like a cool idea.” 

Dana Roach, 14, Mira Loma High School Key Club stated, “I’ve done multiple events all over the Sacramento area, but this is my first American River Parkway event.” 

Thomas Douglas, Options for Youth Charter:  “I am enjoying.  This is my first event.” 

Saran Poisner, 16, Mira Loma High School said this was her second event.  Her first event was last year for her youth group. 

Carina McMillan, 15, Mira Loma High School:  “This is my first event.” 

Emily Hansen, 16, Rio Americana High School is from the Civitas Program, a four year class in government and community service.  “Glad I am here and probably will come back.” 

Carlos, age 15 when asked why he volunteered, had a big smile as he replied, “My mom told me about this.” 

Brandon Young, Options for Youth Home School:  “I am getting credit for this.  It’s nice out here.  This is my first time.  I may be coming back.” 

Angela Phung, 14, Mira Loma High School Key Club said, “This is my first time volunteering in American River area.” 

Vlora Suma, 15, Mira Loma High School Key Club said this was her second event for the American River Parkway.  “I plan to come back next year.” 

Alizebeth Tuch, Pasteur Middle School in Orangevale found out about this day through a girlfriend. 

Barbara Perry, mentioned this is her fourth event.  “Love it and I am going to continue.”   

Al Paso, an older gentleman whose passion is working with the soil, and as a referee for youth soccer, enjoyed working alongside the teens, aiding in the planting of new seedlings. 

Stacy Springer of American River Parkway Foundation summed it up: 

“We are implementing “Student Days” throughout the year so as to involve students and get them out on the parkway—into nature, etc. So far we’ve had two events and both have been very successful.

Ken Myatt, our Program Manager, is nothing short of amazing. He knows what he’s doing—for sure!!”

I am in love with the green earth.
- Charles Lamb

Please note:  as photographer, I apologize for any photo misnamed

Lisa O'Hara