Pathways for Youth is an effort to create the next generation of public lands stewards and National Park Service employees. By deliberately connecting existing programs and partnerships, North Cascades is creating a continuum of meaningful park-based experiences. Follow Grace and other youth as they discuss their own unique pathways through educational programs, internships and seasonal employment.
Mike: It started with just the desire to answer the kid that said, "what do I do next?" We literally had people saying/ "what do I do nex/t?"/ And/ it/ made sense to start/ to provide answers.
SECTION BREAK: Educational Programs
Grace: Uh, my name is Grace and I'm 18 and I'm from Shoreline, but originally from Cameroon./ It was really really cool / when I did NCWild./ I'm actually surprised that I even signed up for it b/c I was/ still trying to learn the language and just kinda adjust to the culture and you know there were all these/ things going on. Um, so I was really nervous on my trip, (for the) first couple of days at least.
Laura: A lot of my other friends, when they you know ask me what I did over the summer, and I tell them you know about PCC and SCA, all those things, they just go woah b/c (like they) they can't imagine doing that kind of thing, but/ kind of what I've learned from that is that anyone really can, you know like/ I didn't know that I would be really interested in cc, or public lands, or NPs before I did PCC, but just taking that leap definitely opened the doors to so many new opportunities.
Chris: So my first experience up here was with Mtn School, then I went on CCC for 21 days up here, then I did and electronic fieldtrip/, and finally I'm back here for a youth leadership conference./ Everytime I come back here it just calls me back almost. I need to come back up here./ (Sigh) I gotta be here.
Michael: PFY is a deliberate effort to create the next generation of Park stewards./ The way that we achieve that/, is through our educational programs, our internships and our seasonal employment./ These programs have always existed but what we're doing through PFY (are) deliberately connecting those dif exp (such) that a youth could have a defined, designed pathway.
SECTION BREAK: Internships
Grace: Yeah, after NC Wild and NOLS and all the /outdoor stuff I had/ done, I was like hey, I want to come back and work for the Park. And it was just perfect b/c/ you know they were offering positions for students.
Laura: Um, last summer I went with SCA, which is the Student Conservation Association, up um to Mount Rainier for a trail crew that lasted two weeks.
Jennifer: Um, spending all of (all of) the summer in the NC as a ranger really placed me in my um first individual national park experience. All of the other times were with um my family on road trips or with student groups camping and just having fun. Um, but this was a deeper kind of learning where I could reflect on all of the past times that I've been to parks. (And um) where I wasn't with family. I wasn't with friends and other students. I was identified as myself and as a ranger.
Amy: PFY is/ based on the assumption, and actually research supports this, that students need more than one experience to engage them. And we do a great job with the programs we have, especially like mtn school is one of our flagship programs./ But they need another program, another step to keep that connection going or else it's just an isolated exp.
SECTION BREAK: Employment
Michael: Our park partners, The North Cascades Institute the Student Conservation Association, through their programs are creating this alumni base of incredibly enthusiastic, passionate people./ NCNP wants to hire incredibly enthusiastic, incredibly motivated people for their positions. So who better to pull from than alumni from our partners programs?
Joseph: (Sigh) The first time I ever put my uniform on?/ You know the patch really got to me,/ That's been a really big goal of mine to have that on my left shoulder./ And I think I sat in front of the mirror for about a half an hour/, just looking, and then I'd show my wife and show my daughter.
Grace: It's so funny that you mention this b/c my step-mom and I were watching a movie the other night and the park rangers always look the same. They were tall, thin, Caucasian, obviously. And that's what I usually picture but it's starting to change b/c I've seen park rangers that are not my typical image of a park ranger.
Gerry: You know, for me growing up, the Park came to me. Like how many young people get to have all of a sudden a NP made in their backyard? And then the next thing that happened to me, and I never would have believed this, but then the world came to me in these youth programs. And these are kids from all over the world that are now (come) to this park. It's not limited to one culture, one anything, it's limited to being a human on this planet.
Michael: Pathways For Youth isn't necessarily anything revolutionary. It's not this new concept. It's not this new program. It's certainly not funded. It's essentially taking existing programs, existing pieces, existing relationships with our partners and just aligning those so that there are deliberate opportunities for our youth.
Mike: I find it very very energizing to work with kids. So that's one of the straight answers. It's fun! These are people with fresh perspectives, different ways of approaching things, lots of energy/ God, I have a job where I can have fun, I can be creative, I can work with the next generation to address problems./ It's a really good job./ I think that more people should try it.
Hozomeen chert is a locally abundant and distinctive tool stone found exclusively in the northern Cascade range of Washington and British Columbia. Over the last two decades, archeologist Bob Mierendorf has studied quarries near today's Ross Lake reservoir that reveal a 10,000 year long record of indigenous involvement with this rugged, high-mountain landscape.
The word Hozomeen means "sharp, like a sharp knife." Its story cuts across time and place, cultures and borders, archeology and oral histories, connecting us all as human beings. As Bob says, we're all descended from people who used stone to make their tools. "It's what put food on the table for thousands of years."
Bob Mierendorf: I didn't see it at first. I heard it.
I heard the tinkle of flakes underneath my boots and I looked down and said, "Oh, look at this. It's everywhere. It's dense. Nobody's going to believe me."
Larry Campbell: So, I didn't learn a lot about Hozomeen as a young person. There were some of the things that our families decided to just kind of let drift off.
I first learned about Hozomeen actually, you know, through Bob Mierendorf the National Park archeologist, who took us out there after he discovered it and did some studies on it.
And you know you find it amazing, I guess, to know that our people used this resource for thousands of years.
Bob Mierendorf: Another piece of Hozomeen chert. And in a minute you're going to see many pieces.
Chert is flint, basically. And so we have mountains in the North Cascades, mountains made out of flint. And this is what the original people knew and why they were coming here.
The idea that Northwest coast people really didn't spend much time in the rugged interior of the mountains, and therefore wouldn't even have accessed the tool stone in places like the mountains, is a bias that developed because most of the archeology in the Northwest coast has been done close to salt water.
I knew that if I could find descent tool stone material in the mountains it was likely to have been exploited. And once I found the ribbon chert, then it was immediately obvious that that was the source of some of the tools that I was finding in archeological sites. Once I found the first chert quarry, then that link became indisputable.
Dave Schaepe: What's archeologically significant about Hozomeen chert is we can trace it quite readily. We can identify it. We can see where it's ended up. We know where it started from. And that's often times a very difficult thing for us to get a handle on.
Bob Mierendorf: Now, what's kind of interesting though, is you've got the chert bedrock, and there you've got the mountain. Part of that mountain is made of this bedrock. The Lower Thompson word, Hozomeen means "sharp, like a sharp knife." Well, you saw how the rock fractures to make sharp knives.
Dave Schaepe: And the oral history again. The mountain is sharp. The Hozomeen chert itself is sharp. It's an excellent material for cutting.
So, you know, carrying that meaning with those tools is a constant attachment. If you were to put yourself in the mind of the people collecting and using that material, it's a constant attachment to the place, even though that material might be hundreds of kilometers away.
Bob Mierendorf: How often do things come together like that? It's just really really cool to have the social, linguistic, archeological history, all different lines of evidence, just all come together.
Sonny McHalsie: Well, place names are important to me and, I think, to all of the Stolo because it gives us an indication of the use of the land and the connection that we have to places.
So we have Maltoles, which is Nepopekum Mountain, and it means "help one another." And then the creek that comes down there is Lexwpopeqwem, means "always foaming." And right behind Nepopekum Creek, you can see that mountain there. That one there is called Sleha:wetem, meaning "hunting place."
Bob Mierendorf: I wish we had that knowledge from all these other bands that came into the Valley.
Much of that knowledge was lost as a consequence of the diseases brought to the new world by old world populations. So today, we rely on archeology that comes from places like this to fill in where we've lost that traditional elder knowledge.
Larry Campbell: They say that a lot of our elders went to their grave crying because they took a lot of information that they had to the grave with them, because we as young people didn't show an interest into it.
So in talking with archeologists and trying to be open minded about what they're doing and what they're trying to figure out, it has provided me with questions that I've taken back to the old people and ask them if they know anything about this.
And sometimes they say to me, "Ha! I forgot all about that. I'm glad you asked. That happened so long ago I forgot about that."
Bob Mierendorf: People were here. Somebody might have gotten born here. Probably somebody got conceived here. Probably somewhere here, if it was used for thousands of years, somebody died and got buried, but we won't find them because the soils are too acidic.
So you know, you want to reconstruct that whole life history that is in the ground at this place, and of course you're going to be largely unsuccessful because all you've got is stone tools.
This summer, 19 high school students from Chicago, DC, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle spent a month in the North Cascades. For many, it was their first time camping. They hiked to glaciers, swam with bull trout, dodged thunderstorms, taught fifth graders about CO2, and went canoeing for days. It was an opportunity to both connect with a national park and witness impacts of climate change. The group was provided with an audio recorder and two cameras to document this experience and tell their story. -NCI
Mountain School (6:52)
Omar Garcia and Michelle Tamez
North Cascades Institute
Mountain School is a nationally recognized environmental education program offered by North Cascades Institute in cooperation with North Cascades National Park. Mountain School students come to the North Cascades with their school class, teacher and chaperones to learn about the ecosystems, geology and natural and cultural history of the mountains. Mountain School gives young people an experience they will remember forever – a chance to increase their knowledge of the world with their bodies, minds and spirits. -NCI
Family Getaways (4:45) Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele
North Cascades Institute
From canoeing and hiking adventures, to bat-watching, bunkbeds and campfires, North Cascades Institute’s Family Getaways provide a unique three-day opportunity for families of all shapes and sizes to gather in the North Cascades. -NCI
Examining the sublime landscapes of North Cascade, Mount Rainier, and Olympic National Parks, researchers shed light on emerging indications that climate change is real and predict how warming temperatures will affect the natural resources and timeless beauty of the region. As glaciers melt and the winter snow-pack decreases, what is the fate of the aquatic ecosystems and cold water fish that depend on runoff during the hottest and driest parts of the year? How will enormous amounts of unstable sediment exposed by retreating ice-sheets on Mount Rainier affect the roads and infrastructure of that park and beyond? Will pine beetle infestations and larger forest fires become widespread in the approaching future? -Terra
Did You Know?
North Cascades National Park is uploading its digital image library to Flickr! Be inspired, download your favorite images, or even add your own vacation photographs to the group pool: Friends of the North Cascades.