On an early Saturday morning in June, four A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) students chose to jump out of bed and volunteer in a neighborhood park. Despite the cloudy morning and some rain, Risa Maeda, Yuto Hosobe, Tedo Pranowo, and Abdullah Alkhudhayr joined other service-minded Seattleites for an environmental restoration event at the Southwest Queen Anne greenbelt. Risa, Yuto, Tedo, and Abdullah removed non-native invasive plant species, mulched to prepare recent native plantings for summer, and discussed their experiences with nature in their home countries.
The restoration event took place in the same neighborhood as A.C.E.’s Language Institute at SPU (Queen Anne), giving A.C.E. students an opportunity to directly benefit their community. At a city level, the event was part of a larger restoration effort: the Green Seattle Partnership. The Green Seattle Partnership aims to restore Seattle’s parklands through halting the current decline in forest health (caused by past neglect and the current abundance of non-native invasive plant species). With a goal of restoring all 2,500 acres of Seattle parkland by 2025, the Green Seattle Partnership depends on the hard work of volunteers like Risa, Yuto, Tedo, and Abdullah.
This event was part of A.C.E. at SPU’s new ECO initiative. The name “ECO” represents “Engaging Culture and the Outdoors”; the initiative’s priorities are three-fold: to create opportunities for international students to experience Washington’s incredible natural environment, to educate participants regarding the Seattle area’s world-famous environmental ethic and natural systems, and to facilitate conversations regarding how different cultures relate to nature.
–Ben Kantner, Enrollment Services Coordinator