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A passion for the earth

Last March, Rogue River High School senior Hanna Roseen found herself covered in mud.

As the de facto president of the Seven Basins Youth Watershed Council, Roseen has spent hours cleaning and planting trees and shrubs along Evans Creek and Rogue River since the club's inception two years ago.

She's also written grant proposals, spoken to watershed council leaders from around Oregon about engaging youths in stewardship of the environment, snowshoed at Wimer Ridges and tossed four-foot salmon carcasses into Evans Creek.

But one of her favorite aspects of the club is digging her hands into the dirt and physically making rivers a better home for salmon.

Unfortunately, the fifth-graders the Watershed Club teaches to plant trees did not feel the same way.

"They tried so hard to not get dirty and to wipe off the dirt," Roseen laughed. "You can't avoid dirt when you're planting trees."

At the age of 18, Roseen is already concerned about future generations caring for the environment.

"We need to create a generational shift in how people treat the land," she said. "People just need to be kinder to it. Future generations will need to use it."

In between class and her work with the Watershed Club, Roseen fenced at Elks Lodge in Medford through last December and helps out her single mother, Janet Roseen, at home.

She wakes up early before school to make sure her two sisters are out of the house on time, and after school cleans the kitchen, does the dishes and frequently prepares dinner.

"It's not too big of a deal," Roseen said in her cheerful manner. "After school sometimes it can be trying, but I'm used to it."

Somehow, Roseen still finds time to read avidly. Not surprisingly given her interest in the environment and science, most of her favorite books are science fiction.

"When I was younger I wanted to be a scientist and study astronomy because I love the stars," Roseen said. "But as I got older I realized I just want to be in the stars."

A self-proclaimed feminist, Roseen also reads feminist literature — Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" is one of her favorites — and is passionate about explaining that sexism hurts everyone.

"Obviously women are the ones being oppressed. You don't say 'man up' because you think being a woman is better," Roseen said. "But men are also really hurt by it, too, and I think sometimes that gets lost."

Roseen has chosen a career where will she will never have to stop exploring her myriad interests: a librarian.

"(As a librarian) you get this very great opportunity to teach people and facilitate learning outside school and hold discussions about stuff that isn't going to be covered in your core classes because it's not seen as important or it's potentially controversial," Roseen said.

Roseen maintained a 3.94 GPA in high school and plans to study computer science and women's studies at Seattle Pacific University next year.

While her iPhone calendar is crammed and complicated, Roseen's philosophy is quite simple: "Be kind to yourself, and be kind to others."

Reach Mail Tribune news intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368.

Rogue River High School senior Hanna Roseen has spent hours cleaning and planting trees and shrubs along Evans Creek and the Rogue River.