Diverse group of volunteers plant trees on MLK Day of Service

first_imgWhat’s reputedly the most gang-affected area in Clark County became the most volunteer-improved area on Monday morning.Hundreds of volunteers swarmed the swampy zone near East 18th Street where the Burnt Bridge Creek Greenway passes between Fort Vancouver High School and King Elementary School. Many volunteers were students from those schools, and more than a few said that planting trees and shrubs here on the Martin Luther King Day of Service has become an annual tradition they take seriously.“We see the trees we planted before,” said Fort Vancouver senior Valeriya Golikova. She and her friend Abby Pop enjoy strolling or jogging along the Burnt Bridge Creek trail, and seeing how this spot has grown lush with vegetation they installed with their own hands is an extra treat, they said.“It’s not even bad,” added Fort Vancouver junior Manuel Avalos, referring to the cold, slimy ground and the chilly, misty morning. (Then the shallow hole his group dug for their first sapling started producing cold, slimy earthworms and everybody started screaming.)Alejandra Anaya, a student at King, confessed that she hadn’t realized exactly what the task was going to be — she showed up in fuzzy slippers and sweat pants for an outing that really demanded blue jeans and waterproof boots — but was looking forward to exploring the trail for the first time ever, she said.“You are amazing for being here today,” Eddie Esparza told all the volunteers in a pep talk at Fort Vancouver before they all marched down the sidewalk to the trail entrance. Esparza added that, on this day honoring the slain civil rights leader, a march down the street would help young people experience for themselves at least a little bit of what King himself experienced. Without the protest marches and demonstrations of the civil rights era, Esparza said, such a multicolored group of volunteers never could have come together today at all.last_img

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