SNOHOMISH — Noelle Forkey, 17, is a senior at Glacier Peak High School. As part of her job at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, she spent her summer participating in the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network’s Summer Transportation Challenge. The eight-week challenge aims to encourage teens to explore and use alternative modes of transportation to reduce carbon emissions.
Question: Why did you participate in the Transportation Challenge?
Answer: As cheesy as it sounds, we only have one Earth and we all have to do our part to make it last for as many generations as possible. My mom told me once how as a child she and her siblings would joke about L.A’.s smog and pollution, but now Seattle has smog, too. It is simply just sad to see not enough being done.
Q: So you spent some time on buses, trains. How did it go?
A: It was something I kept in the back of my mind as I went about my day. … I was in a production down in Portland (Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”). So I carpooled and took a big bus — the Bolt bus. I mostly try to carpool. I have an early morning class (Mormon seminary). I drive six kids in my van. We have our own little ‘party bus’ going on.
Q: While driving safely and responsibly of course.
A: Yes (smiles).
Q: So you have a driver’s license.
A: I do. As much as I like to bike everywhere, especially with the weather in Washington, it’s not always possible. And the bus system (doesn’t always work with scheduling) although it’s improving.
Q: You went on a field trip to the Woodland Park Zoo in kindergarten and wrote a report on an armadillo.
A: I don’t even know if I knew what an armadillo was.
Q: Now you work there. What do you like about it?
A: I love being at the zoo and seeing the animals. … Each one has its own personality. It’s like people watching, only more interesting.
Q: What classes are you taking your senior year?
A: It’s a light load. I’m in anatomy and physiology with Miss (Christina) Scott. … She is the best teacher on the planet, I’m completely convinced. She’s funny and good with the students. She knows her subjects. She’s in it for the right reasons. She’s one of the reasons I got so environmentally aware.
I’ve been involved in ASB leadership since I was a freshman. It’s awesome. Right now I’m planning homecoming.
(Other classes are) introduction to digital arts … sci-fi, an English class with Mr. (Brandon) Juhl, U.S. government and law with Mr. (John) Bonner (another favorite teacher).
AP calculus is my hard class for the year.
Q: You have three older brothers. What is it like to be the youngest with them all out of the house?
A: It was really weird for the first little while. “Why is it so quiet?” (When they come back…) “Why is all the milk gone?” My cat noticed when they left. She started being nicer and wanting more attention.
Q: You have pets?
A: A fat gray cat named Ginger. We got her from a shelter and that was her name. We tried to change it, but it just didn’t stick.
Q: There also are two goldfish left over from 30 that were placed on the family’s front porch three years ago as a prank on one of her brothers.
A: We kept them all — I insisted. I wasn’t going to have them flushed.
Q: What do you do with your free time?
A: To be honest, I don’t really have free time. I’m involved in ASB and theatre and of course I work at the zoo. I’m involved with my church. There’s always something going on. But I go to movies, hang out with friends — the normal kid stuff.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: I really like “The Princess Bride.” My family and I quote it all the time.
Q: As you wish … Do you know what you’ll do yet after high school?
A: It depends on where I’m accepted (applied to Brigham Young University’s Provo and Hawaii campuses). Hopefully I’ll do a mission for my church.
Q: How does it feel to be a senior?
A: Especially since I’ll be 18 before the election — I’ll be an adult, and I don’t know if I’m ready for adulting yet. I feel like I was a freshman yesterday. And now it’s the next step.
Q: What advice would you give a freshman?
A: I think to try something new and be involved. High school only lasts four years, and it’s your only chance where you’re not an adult but you’re not a kid. It’s the perfect time to try new things. It’s OK to fail.
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