Teens take on trash removal in Summerland, Montecito
While many teens are spending their summer lolling on the beach, hanging out with friends or enjoying other frivolous activities, Noah and Ramon Wang, the 16-year-old twin sons of Chiyan Wang, are spending their time as volunteers for the Channelkeeper’s Watershed Brigade.
Brigade members remove trash from trails, creeks, rivers, urban areas and beaches, act as environmental stewards and collect trash data to help reduce pollution at its source.
From June 7 through July 5, Noah and Ramon have volunteered 175½ hours, walked 172 miles and filled 112 bags with 540 pounds of trash, much of it from Summerland, where they live, as well as Montecito and Santa Barbara.
No wonder their mother proudly shares their accomplishments in frequent posts on the Nextdoor App.
“They spend six to seven hours every day, weekends too. One day, they were out for more than 10 hours cleaning up the beaches and trails,” said Ms. Wang during a phone interview with the family.
“We wanted to contribute to the community, and it’s good exercise,” Ramon told the News-Press. “When we go to a messy location and at the end of the day, it’s all cleaned up, it’s very satisfying. It’s also nice to get compliments from people who pass by and say ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good job.’ “
Beer bottles and cigarette butts make up most of what they pick up.
Noah enjoys being outside after the pandemic shutdown, and like his brother, appreciates the opportunity for exercise and “to do something to beautify the community.”
The twins, who will be seniors at Santa Barbara High School next year, maintain a GPA of 4.7 out of a possible 5.0. Their favorite subjects are band and computer science.
Noah plays the alto saxophone, and Ramon, the trumpet and French horn.
Besides playing their instruments, they enjoy hiking and playing video games and doing other online projects.
“After graduation in June 2022, we plan to apply to Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSB,” said Ramon.
“Our careers will probably have something to do with computer science,” added Noah, the older twin who was born one minute after his brother, according to Ms. Wang.
Reluctant to talk about her background because she wanted this story to be about her sons, Ms. Wang was persuaded to reveal that she was born and raised in the central part of China “near where the terracotta soldiers were found.”
She was referring to the Terracotta Army, a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China. The figures were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi’an, Shaanxi, China.
The sculptures include warriors, chariots, and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.
“I studied anthropology at Nanjing University, and after I got my degree, I worked in the Nanjing Municipal Museum in Nanjing, China, for four years. I came to UCSB in 1992 to continue my study of anthropology,” said Ms. Wang.
After moving to Summerland in 1998, she was an art curator for a private collector and now teaches Taoist Light Qigong, an ancient Taoist form of practice for health and longevity.
Mainly, Ms. Wang wanted to talk about her sons.
“I am amazed by them. They are kind, loving and thoughtful. They never fight. We are a loving and happy family.”