12 May 2017

Heritage University hosts Northwest School 10th graders’ second community service visit to the Yakima Valley

Heritage University hosts Northwest School 10th graders’ second community service visit to the Yakima Valley

Author: David Mance  /  Categories: Campus, Environment, Health, Sciences & Technology  / 
Heritage University will once again host 90 tenth graders from the Northwest School in Seattle during the students’ community service visit to the Yakima Valley, May 17-19, 2017. During the day, the students will participate in several projects aimed at helping residents of the lower Yakima Valley, and camp at the university overnight.

Northwest School is a private middle and high school located in the First Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Each grade level of the school participates in projects that engage students in communities outside of their comfort zones. Last year the students from Northwest School built raised gardens for families in the Lower Yakima Valley. This year’s projects include planting a corn field for agricultural research at Heritage; helping the staff at La Casa Hogar in Toppenish prepare people who are studying to become U.S. citizens; follow along with Heritage University fisheries students studying in streams; visit with students at White Swan High School in White Swan and tour the nearby Fort Simcoe State Park.

“We wanted to introduce our students to people from neighborhoods outside of the I-5 corridor,” said Kevin Alexander, dean of students at Northwest School. “Last year’s visit to the Yakima Valley was successful in that it gave those students an expanded perspective and cultural enrichment that you can’t read in books or learn in the classroom. We want to continue that tradition of opportunity for more of our students.”

Alexander says the school became aware of Heritage University through an NPR broadcast, and learned that the two institutions shared similarities, among them, both were started in the 1980s by teachers. A conversation was started between the two institutions. Northwest School officials were interested showing its students where the food they eat is grown, and it was not lost on them that one of the most fruitful agricultural regions in the country was in in their own state, two hours to the east over the Cascade Mountains.

Dr. Jessica Black, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and the Director of the Center for Indigenous Health, Culture & the Environment at Heritage, came up with several project ideas, including having the students help plant the corn field and pepper crops in the HU Research Farm this year. “By helping with the corn and pepper planting, the students will get a better idea of how their food is grown and learn more about sustainable farming techniques in an increasingly water-stressed region of Washington,” said Black.

As part of their visit, the students will also tour the Yakama Nation Cultural Center and enjoy a traditional salmon dinner at Heritage.

For more information, contact David Mance at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.
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