Students from the A.C.E. Language Institute at SPU got down and dirty at this year’s Green Seattle Day.
Along with over 1,000 volunteers across the city, A.C.E. students removed invasive plants species and planted over 5,000 native trees and shrubs in order to restore Seattle’s forested parklands.
The event was part of A.C.E.’s ECO initiative: “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.
This restoration work at Seward Park was a star-studded and international effort. Before digging, students heard Mayor Mike McGinn and Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams speak about Seattle’s innovative and community-based approaches to the environment and clean energy. Next we got started, working under international volunteers from Earth Corps, a Seattle-based organization that focuses on environmental leadership training. Qaisar from Pakistan taught us native plant species and planting techniques. His passion for environmental activism and international education was plain and he will lead community organizing efforts focused on the environment when he returns to Pakistan.
After an invigorating morning of removing English Ivy, digging dirt, planting shrubs and mulching, Qaisar rounded us up for a wrap-up game. He asked us to share one important part of our culture to the rest of the group. As we went around the circle, we learned about Taiwanese Dim Sum, the Pakistani celebration of Spring, Basant, and about figs, camels, and fruit harvests in Saudi Arabia. That cultural exchange concluded our day on a high note and truly represented A.C.E. at SPU’s ECO initiative.