Harvard and Princeton are decked in ivy; Stanford has its towering eucalyptus. But how many schools can boast of their very own wetland? Here at North Seattle Community College (NSCC), the stuffy rules of traditional college landscaping, favoring foreign-bred trees, wide lawns, and invasive vines, have been upended, exchanged for a nationally recognized native habitat that provides its own first-rate education. Science instructors take classes here to study the physical, chemical, and biological environment. Art, writing, and history classes also make use of this landscape.
Since the 1980s, the college has been increasingly planted with native species, a move led by head groundskeeper, Michael Brokaw, who decided to make his work a reflection of his environmental values. In the 1990s he and his crew turned their attention to several acres of land at the north end of thecollege, a semi-wild area squeezed between I-5 and S.R. 99 providing a habitat of ponds and thickets.
© Maria Dolan & Kathryn True/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.