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Happy Girl

By Anna Malik
Northwest Service Academy
Anna Malik, Outreach and Youth Associate for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust talks about working for the organization in this blog post for Northwest Service Academy.

What a trip! Making the change from sunny California to rainy Seattle has not been easy. However, my heart grows fonder of Seattle everyday.  On a clear day I can see the North Cascades from my living room window; with gorgeous snow covered peaks that always make me stop and stare. The Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier views are incredible. Where else can you see three different views of mountains in each direction? Nowhere I’ve ever been, that’s for sure.

Today is a calm day for me.  Sitting at my desk watching the rain outside and listening to the constant quiet buzz of the city strangely makes office work easy.  I spend about half my week in the office working for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust as their Outreach & Youth Associate. Could I have asked for a better job? The Greenway, as I like to call it, works to inspire others to take action to conserve and enhance the natural areas from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Central Washington, ensuring a balance between the built and natural landscape (you can tell it’s my job to talk to people about the Greenway).

I spend the other half of my week in the field teaching, working, and learning.  I never thought I would enjoy having a class of fifth graders out working with me so much!  We have competitions about who can dig out the biggest ‘alien baby,’ also known as the invasive Himalayan blackberry root ball.   On the weekends I get to lead volunteer events where we teach about native plants, show volunteers how to remove invasive weeds and plant native trees at some beautiful sites.  For some reason at these events I work the least, but out of 30+ people I get the dirtiest.  At a recent event, right after I finished giving a speech about safety on the site and not twisting ankles in mud holes, I repeatedly fell three times in a row in a mud infested swamp.  At least the kids seemed to enjoy laughing at me.

My summer is going to be beyond awesome.  I am so excited!  Through mid-September a co-worker and I will be leading four sessions of youth summer camps.  This job has really helped me realize that I love working with kids, and I hope to continue so after my AmeriCorps term is finished.

In the beginning of July I get the opportunity to be included in the activity of a lifetime!  A nine day event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Greenway where we get to bike and hike 130 miles from one side of the Greenway to the other!  If I’m lucky *fingers crossed* I’ll get to be in charge of one of our youth only teams.  I mean really… this is my job?  I couldn’t be more thankful to be working for this organization, it makes my heart warm.

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