Making an impact


Photo Courtesy of Lauren Griffith

At one of their Saturday ivy pulls, the Ecology Club works in their section of Mary S. Young to clear out invasive species.

After a few kickstarting attempts which left the club in limbo, the Ecology Club has finally found its rhythm. With around 20 members that meet on a weekly basis, they have been actively involved in the community all year with ivy pulls and trash cleanups and hope to have their efforts carry over for years to come.

“We have a lot of people who are really excited about taking care of our environment,” Lauren Griffith, senior, said. “It’s a team effort and I hope the club will continue to work at Mary S. Young and at their volunteer events.”

Jim Wynne, senior, is the president of the Ecology Club and is assisted by Ronan Maples, senior, and Griffith, who are vice presidents of the club. Most of the club is made up of seniors in AP Environmental Science, with only a few sophomores and juniors in the mix. In the past, the heavily senior attendance has made it a challenge for the club to survive year to year.

“In previous years the club was pretty much made entirely of seniors,” Wynne said. “This year we’ve got a couple of juniors and a sophomores so hopefully that’s enough to carry on the club.”

Along with varying grade members, the club has taken other measures that they hope will secure a long-lasting future. After volunteering at a few ivy pulls at Mary S. Young organized by SOLVE, a local non-profit focused on maintaining the environment, the club adopted a portion of the park. They’re now responsible for organizing their own ivy pulls and other general maintenance in their section.

“I hope that the club will continue to exist,” Wynne said, “But beyond that I hope that the club will continue to take care of the adopted portion of the park.”

Current club members hope that next year, and hopefully in following years as well, the new club members will continue caring for this section of the park and can build a basis for their club around that idea. 

“We’ve made huge progress in removing invasives,” Wynne said, “And it’s something to be really proud of.”

The club’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the community either. David Kleinke, Mary S Young Park Volunteer Coordinator, commented that seeing the Ecology Club out in the park has been noticed by the other park volunteers and the community folks who frequent the park. 

“The Ecology Club has set the standard for excellence in conservation through their personal example,” Kleinke said, “And we are very impressed with the caring and commitment to our environment displayed by the students. Some say we have no hope in addressing the environmental issues the park faces. I disagree. With individuals like those in the West Linn Ecology Club we can address the issues. The club members are proving it every time they visit the park.”

With over two acres of land completely covered in ivy, it is a daunting task, yet one that is plausible with enough hands. If you are interested in joining the Ecology Club and helping them maintain the local environment, stop by C204 Mondays at lunch.