Grace Amsden, Editor in Chief
On May 14, ten students and Custodial Services Manager Patrick Carter, adviser for the trip, left Pierce College Puyallup for a weekend to learn about power sources.
Going inside a wind turbine, receiving a beaded salmon necklace and learning about dams were all part of the overnight Office of Student Life Power Plant Trip organized by Sustainability Coordinator Morgan Pasquier.
“I really wanted students to learn a little bit more about where their power comes from in terms of how much of their power is actually sustainable and not damaging to the environment,” Pasquier said. “I know for me, I turn on the light and I don’t really think about where that power originated from (or) what kind of damage it might have made getting from the plant.”
The first stop on the trip was to the Wild Horse Wind Facility in Kittitas County for an informational tour led by Ricky Carr. The first portion was a presentation inside the visitors center about the facility and wind turbines; for example, the Wild Horse Wind Facility has 149 turbines and powers 60,000-70,000 homes.
The next portion of this tour was outside where Carr talked about the plant life around the area. The Hedgehog cactus is one example. The facility utilizes a 190-acre footprint, he said.
The group then got to step inside a wind turbine once it was shut off.
“It surprised me with how in-depth they got, actually letting us walk into the windmill itself,” Pasquier said. “That was really cool.”
After this tour, the group checked in at The Red Lion Hotel Wenatchee and then went to the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market to look around and perhaps purchase fruit, gelato or jewelry.
“The website (for the farmers market) advertised it as the biggest farmers market in the state and then I went there and it was kind of lackluster,” Pasquier said. “I like the one in Puyallup better.”
After the market was free time at the hotel until the group went to dinner at Godfather’s Pizza. The rest of the evening was free time.
The following day, the group went on a tour of the Rocky Reach Dam led by guide Rigo Mendoza, who talked about the life of a salmon, the dam’s dive team and the facility. The group also got to look into the warehouse with the 11 generators before exploring the museum which included information about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, local petroglyphs, steamboats, ferries and wood types among many other topics.
The group then drove back to Wenatchee for lunch and then to the Puyallup campus.
“I would like for there to be more engaging ways to involve students in seeing and being a part of the experience of understanding what makes our state as sustainable as it can possibly be, which regards our energy consumption and our energy production,” student Andrew Bottcher said, “but also in other aspects, I felt like going to the plants gave me a good perspectives of how much energy is produced.”
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