North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Northwest wilderness turns teens into 'greens'

August 4, 2009, 11:37 am

After a month in the North Cascades, with 18 fellow teens from across the country, Sidneyy Jarol of Seattle smiled broadly and joked: "I have never met anybody as cool as us."

The young people like Sidneyy (whose first name is indeed spelled with two y's) were not on vacation, but working with National Park Service specialists and independent scientists to get an on-the-ground and on-the-water understanding of climate change.

They clamored up Railroad Grade, the moraine beside Mt. Baker's fast-receding Easton Glacier. They canoed Ross Lake, and took readings on whether the lake water is cool enough to support bull trout. At Cutthroat Pass, four miles up from the North Cascade Highway, they hunkered down during a furious thunderstorm.

"I think I peed in my pants," said an anonymous voice in a video taken during the booming and flashing.

The teens will take their experience to Washington, D.C., and Congress in September, and later to their schools and classrooms.

"We are all activists now: We know more than most people in this country do about this subject," said Jordan Bell, an outspoken 15-year-old from Washington, D.C.