ST. IGNATIUS — Weed pulling isn’t most teenagers’ favorite way to spend a hot summer day, but the members of the Mission Mountains Youth Crew dug in with gusto as they extracted invasive knapweed Tuesday from alongside the Mission Falls Trail in St. Ignatius.
“It’s one of the more physically demanding things we do, but it’s good,” said Maliek Genzel, a high school student who one day hopes to become a fish biologist.
Genzel is one of seven members in a competitive conservation program that wrapped up its seven-week duration this week. He and his peers participated in a wide variety of outdoor activities throughout the summer, including labor-intensive endeavors like weed pulling and more relaxing outings like a float trip to remove garbage from a waterway.
This was the second year of operation for the Mission Mountains Youth Crew, a collaborative paid program that seeks to engage Indigenous youth with their natural environment.
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“This job opportunity is a great way to get outdoors and explore and make good money,” said Genzel.
“It’s pretty fire,” agreed Genzel’s weed-pulling partner, Dallas Swab, who teamed up with fellow