Student ambassadorships open at Jack London State Historic Park
Call it the English lesson with lasting impact. When Sonoma Valley High School student Gianna Biaggi studied a unit on Jack London last school year, she didn’t just enjoy the author’s books, she found the inspiration for her senior project.
Today the 17-year-old is looking for a dozen middle school students to join her for a community service project at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen.
Gianna is searching for “Jack’s Ambassadors” to participate in Jack’s Camp through the Wolf Club she established at the high school. The ambassadors will work in association with Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, the Amigos de Las Americas Youth Ambassador Program and the U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to benefit the park.
The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students will spend two hours on select weekends from March to May participating in various activities at the park. The ambassadors will help with gardening and trash clean up, take hikes, participate in games and discussions and complete arts and crafts projects.
The program, free to all students, aspires to create environmental understanding and educational opportunities through the natural beauty and intricate history of the park.
Gianna chose the project – a community-based initiative – because of her love of the park. She visited Beauty Ranch several times as a Girl Scout and with friends and neighbors but was especially impressed during a docent-led tour arranged by her English teacher, Alison Manchester.
“I think Ms. Manchester’s enthusiasm for the park, as well as all the great memories I have there … made me want to volunteer my time there,” Gianna said.
Gianna developed her project last summer when she was chosen as an Amigos de Las Americas youth ambassador. She spent three weeks in Asuncion, Paraguay with the youth leadership program, creating the service project to complete within her own community at home.
After reading “Valley of the Moon” and “To Build a Fire” in Manchester’s AP English-3 class and visiting the park with her classmates, Gianna was motivated to help save the park from proposed closure.
Although a volunteer organization stepped in to keep the park open, Gianna wanted to do her part to help out.
She invites local teachers to nominate students for the ambassadorships. Only 12 students will be selected.
For camp dates, to serve as a volunteer or to nominate a student, contact Gianna Biaggi at email@example.com.
– Dianne Reber Hart