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Bloedel Reserve offers unique opportunity for local students

These days, an education and a certificate can only take students so far. Skills and experience can be the difference between getting a foot in the door or not even getting a call back.

Two local men are looking to help more students get that skillful edge.

Internships are common at the college level, but are  sparse for high schoolers. Understanding the value and power of skill building and mentorship, Sam Clark and Ed Moydell  began organizing a program at the Bloedel Reserve to provide paid summer internships for high school students.

Moydell, the executive director of the Bloedel Reserve, said the garden has previously experimented with providing internships, but never at a highly organized level. Then he met Clark, president of NK Success, a mentorship organization for peninsula youth. Together they have been forming the internship program for this summer.

“It’s internships that transfer youthful capabilities into abilities through immersion in workplace excellence,” Clark said. “All young people have energy and capabilities, but you have to expose them to excellence.”

The Bloedel Reserve is one such place of excellence.

“We are considered to be one of the top public gardens in the United States,” Moydell said. “So for a high school kid, this is pretty big treasure to have here.”

As an intern, high school students will have access to the skills, knowledge and experience of the public garden’s staff.

“We have 10 gardeners here, and gardeners do everything from high-level pruning to organic gardening and sustainable horticultural management,” Moydell said. “So they rotate around with each one of them, they learn basic horticultural skills.”

Clark also had connections through his mentoring program that will help students from another angle. With access to a variety of community leaders, students will also get primers in everything from writing a resume to balancing a checkbook.

“Our hope is that through this internship we can prepare students to succeed in any kind of a job and we hope that their eyes will be opened to work in a public garden, or in some kind of biology field like this,” Moydell said. “But also they would leave with work preparedness skills that they could apply anywhere.”

Applications for the internships can be found on the Bloedel Reserve’s website. Interested high school students must submit an application by May 15 along with a letter of interest.

The internship will run from the middle of June through August, working around the school year. Students from the North Kitsap region are also welcome to apply.

Students will work 40 hours a week at the award-winning garden, and also will receive  a weekly educational component provided by the highly skilled staff at the reserve.

Clark and Moydell said that the program will need $20,000 to fund the effort and so far they have raised $6,000. Along with their efforts to seek funding elsewhere, Clark and Moydell hope the community will come out and support the cause. Donations to support the intern program can be made on the Bloedel Reserve website.

For Moydell, he personally knows the power of an internship from his own experience.

“Being an intern changed my life, and that’s what

I think we have the availability to do here,” Moydell said.

More information about the program can be found at www.bloedelreserve.org/join-support-us/opportunities/internships.

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