Green Team 2018: Two Teams, Twenty-Two Teens, Six Hundred Hours of Service

By Outreach and Education Manager, Rachel Calderara

 Green Team 1 team members at the South Shore Natural Science Center

Green Team 1 team members at the South Shore Natural Science Center

This July, Wildlands Trust hosted our fourth annual Green Team youth volunteer program. Each summer, we hire motivated local teens to tackle conservation projects like trail building, farming, carpentry and water sampling. Over three weeks, six hundred volunteer hours were logged as these teens took Plymouth County by storm.

During the first week, we work with Green Team 1, our younger group of crewmembers ages twelve to fourteen. With a full team of eleven crewmembers, this team completed four service projects over four days:

  • Brush clearing around the historic stonewalls at the South Shore Natural Science Center (SSNSC)
  • Building five bluebird boxes for our headquarters at Davis-Douglas Farm
  • Pulling weeds, planting and harvesting at Bay End Farm
  • Clearing brush, gardening and weeding at Davis-Douglas Farm

 In return for their hard work, the team experienced:

  • A live turtle program at SSNSC
  • A tick safety talk with Plymouth County Entomologist Educator, Blake Dinius
  • A walk to active bluebird boxes at Myles Standish State Forest with Interpreter Dan Byrnes
  • The opportunity to try a variety of organic foods, including raw garlic, straight from the soil at Bay End Farm
  • A GPS scavenger hunt at Emery Preserve
 Green Team II at Nelson Park

Green Team II at Nelson Park

The next two weeks brought in eleven teens ages fifteen to eighteen for Green Team II, when we completed more intensive service projects. These included:

  • Building a new trail connection off Clark Rd. in the 90 degree July heat, part of a larger project to connect trails across South Plymouth
  • Picking up litter and ocean debris at Nelson Park
  • Helping vendors set up at the Plymouth Farmers’ Market
  • Water sampling on Round Pond with the Six Ponds Association
  • Surveying habitat for deer browse at South Triangle Pond with Mass Wildlife Biologists
  • Planting, raking, harvesting and weeding at Bay End Farm
  • Clearing trails for bird nets and improved bird habitat at Manomet, Inc.’s bird banding lab

Green Team II also had the opportunity to engage in deeper discussion of environmental issues, organic agriculture, career exploration and more. For fun and education without the strenuous labor, the team experienced:

  • A tick safety talk with Plymouth County Entomologist Educator, Blake Dinius
  • A shellfish dig with the Plymouth Harbormaster at Nelson Park
  • A tour and in-depth conversation about food production at Soule Homestead
  • A hike at Great South Pond with Naturalist Jim Sweeney where the team captured and studied dragonflies and damselflies, as well as other interesting insects of note
  • Our annual campout, where the team helps make dinner, sets up camp, goes on a night hike and bonds around the campfire
 Green Team II crew members observe an insect with Naturalist Jim Sweeney at Great South Pond

Green Team II crew members observe an insect with Naturalist Jim Sweeney at Great South Pond

We are so proud and impressed with everything the two teams were able to accomplish this summer. Each crew member displayed determination, curiosity, thoughtfulness and kindness to each other. We hope they are left wanting to learn and do more to help the environment and that they take the lessons they learned in Green Team with them into the future.

Interested in joining Green Team next year? Each crew member goes through a competitive application and interview process for a spot on the team and provide professional references. This was the first year both teams filled with the maximum eleven crew members and we expect the teams to fill again next year. Applications for Green Team 2019 will go online in March, so keep an eye on the e-news for the announcement next year!