By Margie Doyle
Nothing beats completing a good project in Orcas’ summer rain! Just ask local teens, members of the Orcas Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC), who spent last Wednesday and Thursday replacing the roof of the Stage on the Village Green with a sedum roof.
The project was overseen by OYCC Program Manager Marta Branch. Roofing contractors Clyde and April Duke worked along with OYCC adult volunteers Phil Branch and Nathan Hodges, who is working at Orcas High School with Marta Branch’s class, through an arrangement with the local ecology non-profit, Kwiaht.
Funds for the Stage on the Green’s sedum roof project came through the County Conservation District, and were approved at the July meeting of the Eastsound Planning Review Committee (EPRC).
The following students worked on the Stage on the Green Raingarden Roof Project:
Kupono (Pono) Anuenue; Rahchel Brim; Olivia Brunner-Gaydos; Liam Griskey-Watson; Zack Kostechko; Rowen Lister; Kellen Maier; Jessica (Jessi) Nichols; Maggie Toombs; Solana Zobrist.
The Orcas branch of the county Youth Conservation Corps was organized earlier this year under the leadership of Morgan Meadows. According to OYCC literature, “The local Youth Conservation Corps provide county-wide environmental conservation activities for youth. Life skills and camaraderie are built through service. Trail building, restoration plantings, and biological monitoring and other land and beach projects are in the works. ”
But the kids say it better:
Olivia Brunner-Gaydos: OYCC teaches us responsibility. … It gets us prepared for jobs when we get older and actually need one. We can learn how to work together and learn from each other.
Rahchel Brim: OYCC stnds for Orcas Youth Conservation Corps. It’s where we, the young people, get together and help with planting and conserving the environment…We have OYCC swagger, I always say. All of us can benefit from OYCC.
Rowan Lister: There is one, and only one word that describes the OYCC, “utterly and totally awesome.” We work together, but we enjoy it; we hang out, but it’s productive. It’s not just another job…. We are the exact definition of a corps: we have each other’s backs at all times. And we work in style. It’s also very helpful and friendly toward the community.
In addition, other crewmembers who worked during parts of the summer: Owen Thurman; Koppany (Koppi) Kolyvek; and Max Brandenburg.
According to Marta Branch, this has been a busy summer for the newly formed Youth Conservation Corps: “In all the crew put in 14 work days on various Wednesdays and Thursdays between June 27th to August 29th. We worked on projects for Moran State Park; Bureau of Land Management; San Juan Preservation Trust, Land Bank; Deer Harbor Project; Kwiah’t; Indian Island Marine Health Observatory; Woodlawn Cemetery District; Library Park; Duke Contracting; San Juan County Parks and San Juan Conservation District..”
The OYCC students researched, organized and documented the sedum roof project, providing a complex description of their work and the benefits of “green” roofs:
1) look nicer than a normal roof
2) cools temperature in the air
3) succulent plants act as a sponge to absorb water and make [the roof] less susceptible to fire
4) plants absorb most rainfall and reduce runoff from the roof
5) plants help create habitat for insects and birds
6) reduced runoff means less erosion on roofs and puts less stress on septic systems
7) the plants allow the roof to last a significant time longer than normal.
The sedum roof for the stage at the Village Green was the last project of OYCC’s inaugural season. Group leaders asked the kids,”How will OYCC influence your year to come? “ Here are a sampling of their answers:
Kellen: It encourages me to make new friends.
Solana: I will have skills that I can use to help others.
Zack: I can help keep the earth clean.
Pono: I will treat the earth with more respect.