Stewardship Squad reveled in the unique landscape of the old clay pit mine on Cougar Mountain. Along with an AmeriCorps crew, we helped King County with the restoration effort by planting trees. The former mining operation included a kiln that baked the bricks on site, which were used to make UW’s Red Square! A pretty fascinating connection between local iconic environments. You could even find bits of bricks lying around.
The bare ground was seeded with grass to prevent erosion, but the site was still very very muddy! This was quite delightful to several youngsters, even after getting stranded in the sloppy suction. We drove in a caravan beyond a locked gate to reach the site, which is closed to the public while under restoration, but I believe one can hike in to glimpse views from the edge of the rim. It is a bare kind of lovely....reminiscent of an alpine meadow, especially with the mountain vista to the East.
Also enjoyable was learning more about the AmeriCorps crew members whom hailed from all over the country. We have worked with various crew members over the years, but appreciated hearing a more full explanation of the one-year public service program, which is often explained as a domestic Peace Corps. Many-a-parent mused about the unique opportunity for young adults to both travel around the country and gain experience in a wide variety of public services, from planting and tax assistance to teaching first-aid and assisting non-profits. The AmeriCorps members teamed up with kids to plant cottonwood trees / Populous trichocarpa in different areas, and more than one kid proudly demonstrated they had already planted trees dozens of times, which was received with raised eyebrows and warm smiles. Those smiles got even bigger when one Squad regular brought out his ridiculously adorable puppy to say hi to everyone. After finishing early we had time to explore and visit. We are definitely looking forward to returning to this fascinating site to watch the restoration progress! Very exciting that Squad got to be there early on in this site's journey back to nature.