Hello from SEKI!

Ive been here at Sequoia and Kings Canyon for just about two months now, and I’m still getting into the swing of things. I’m running volunteer programs 2-3 times a week, driving around and exploring the park, and getting situated here at the office. It has definitely been a slow process, but I’m getting there!

I’ve been doing micro-trash pickup a few times a week with various volunteer groups throughout the park. Yes…picking up trash isn’t exactly the most glamorous project, but I try to have as much fun with it as possible. I put the kids in bright orange NPS Volunteer vests, give them these cool trash-pickers and trash bags, then we roam around different campgrounds, picnic areas, and popular spots in the park to pick up garbage. I’ll have competitions like “who can find the nastiest piece of trash” “..the coolest piece of trash” or “who can find the most trash.” It’s actually super fun! You would not even believe the amount of trash we collect in just a couple hours; it’s actually super upsetting and frustrating knowing people come visit this beautiful National Park, then leave behind all their garbage. So, even though walking around the park picking up garbage isn’t the most fun activity, it’s absolutely necessary. Once we’re all done, all the kids sort of have an “aha” moment, which is awesome to see. We’ll put all our trash in one big pile at the end, and they all say “wow, that’s nuts!” or “I’m going to start picking up trash wherever I go!” I can say that whenever I go out into the field now, or go on a hike, I always have a trash bag with me. Every little bit helps!