Tristin Holbert, left, and Chance Sare, both freshmen at Sequim High School, helped spearhead a class project to build a pond on the school campus. (Michael Dashiell /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Tristin Holbert, left, and Chance Sare, both freshmen at Sequim High School, helped spearhead a class project to build a pond on the school campus. (Michael Dashiell /Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Lessons in landscaping: Ag science students construct pond on Sequim campus

SEQUIM — A pair of new faces at Sequim High School are helping change the face of the campus.

Tristin Holbert and Chance Sare, both freshmen at Sequim High, helped spearhead a class project to build a pond on the SHS campus in recent weeks.

The project, which started on Nov. 2, will have on one side, water cascading over flat stones while a second route sees water flowing down stone to replicate rapids.

“This will be a full ecosystem once it’s going,” Holbert said.

“We started digging it (and) made it up as we went on,” Sare said. “We got it dug out pretty fast.”

Bill McFarlen, a first-year agriculture science teacher at SHS, said the pond is a project that sees students in all five of his classes take part, but that a freshman class — with Holberth and Sare leading — has been most involved.

“These guys did most of the heavy lifiting,” McFarlen said, “(but) it’s been a class effort.”

The pond has been so popular, the Sequim teacher said, that it attracts students who aren’t enrolled in ag science classes to observe.

McFarlen said the project got kick-started after clearing out some bushes on grounds near his classroom on the campus’ east end.

“Once we cut it back, they were like, ‘We could do this or do that’,” he said.

Holbert said the class brought in an excavator to move some of the bigger rocks already on campus into place, then brought in more large rocks to line the pond.

McFarlen said they’ll add three koi to the pond once the pump is installed.

“They’re learning the ecosystem,” he said. “They’re learning to take something and use their imagination — and they learn a trade.”

That’s already in the works for both Holbert and Sare, who have a background building ponds with family members.

“My dad always used to do stuff like this,” Holbert said. “I’m always looking for landscaping to do (over the summer).”

The freshmen duo have even talked about creating their own landscaping business.

Sequim students also got some expert advice from Brian Burke of Full Spectrum Landscaping Co.

McFarlen said he’s looking into other projects for Sequim students across the campus and with the City of Sequim in coming weeks and months. That includes building a gazebo near the pond.


Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at

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