Thursday, October 8, 2009

High School and REI - Oh My! (Part 2)

Hello again, I’m back for part two of my blog post. As you many remember, in my previous post, I talked about the closing of the season at Mount Rainier National Park, the steadily changing weather, and the two volunteer groups that visited the park last week. Volunteers from MEAD Alternative High School and volunteers from REI Adventures joined Will Arnesen and his Revegetation team in sprucing up the newly renovated Paradise Lower Parking Lot.

REI Adventures is based out of the REI Headquarters in Kent, Washington. They organize and run wilderness adventures of all types: from sea kayaking to mountain climbing. REI volunteer groups of all sizes and types have been coming to the park for years. In fact, REI played an important role in help clean up the park after the 2006 floods. They’re no strangers to volunteer work at Mount Rainier.

Of all the groups that have come into the park so far, REI Adventures has excited me the most, if only because I helped coordinate the group from the start. The REI Adventure project has been a long time in the making, and when so often we fly by the seat of our pants, it’s refreshing to have a project that has bee growing and changing for several months. To have a successful project come to fruition is a good feeling.

And how successful it was! A good indicator of the success of a group volunteer event is how many group members attend. Together, more than thirty individuals from REI attended. A full group is always good news, but when individual volunteers, unaffiliated with any group, come to join you know you have done even better. And a number of dedicated individual volunteers did indeed come and helped out with the planting. I don’t have the final numbers yet, but between REI Adventures and our individual volunteers, over 40 volunteer were at Paradise.

Even the weather didn’t deter these hardy folks. While this photographer admits to running back to the car every ten minutes to warm up, the REI volunteer braved cold and snow to get the Job done.

Last weekend was perhaps the last great group volunteer event of the season. Our last big hurrah before snow covers the park. And I think REI did it justice. I'm glad they came down, and more than that I'm happy with the entire program. I feel so privileged that I was able to take part in a volunteer program as great as the one at Mount Rainier.

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