Senior Project Advisor
environmental justice, moss, air pollution, heavy metals, duwamish valley
This report is a reflection on my participation in the Duwamish Valley Moss and Air Quality Study. In this internship experience, I am mentoring South Seattle high schoolers participating in the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps to collect, prepare, and analyze moss samples from trees in the Duwamish Valley. This project is in collaboration with Seattle community organizations such as the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Dirt Corps, El Centro de La Raza, the South Park Area Redevelopment Committee; and Just Health Action. This is the second year that this study has been done. Last year, the study found hotspots of heavy metal air pollution in the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods, which are predominantly inhabited by communities of color, making this an issue of environmental justice. Moss collected in South Park and Georgetown were found to have higher concentrations of heavy metals than moss samples from Portland and other Seattle parks. Nestled in the industrial core of Seattle, South Park and Georgetown also have higher rates of asthma than other Seattle neighborhoods. Current air monitoring stations in Seattle are inadequate at identifying local concentrations and specific causes of air pollution, so this project seeks to fill in that need. This project empowers high school youth to learn about air pollution and advocate for their community.
Vargas, Nichole, "Mentoring Through Moss: Measuring Air Pollution with High School Youth in the Duwamish Valley" (2021). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 496.
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.