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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Hawes Park, Huntington Beach, California, USA

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Hawes Park, Huntington Beach, California, USA
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Registered: December 2011
City/Town/Province: Cypress
Posts: 1
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Ever since I joined the Boy Scouts program in first grade, I have been immersed in a community that is dedicated to helping other people and preserving the environment. For many years, I had dreamed about planning and completing a nature project. During the summer break between my ninth and tenth grade years, I dedicated my efforts to ensure that my dream would come to fruition.

After trying to contact many nature centers and organizations, I finally settled on cooperating with the Huntington Beach Tree Society to help restore the beauty of Hawes Park, one of the community parks in the city of Huntington Beach. Prior to my project, Hawes Park had less than thirty trees, including a sickened tree that needed to be removed. Furthermore, the older trees in the park required new mulch which would prevent nutrients and water from escaping from the soil and thus increase the longevity of each tree. Without enough trees, not only is there a lack of shade for park visitors, but the amount of carbon-dioxide removed from the atmosphere is minimal. Also, adjacent to Hawes Park was Ralph E. Hawes Elementary School, which needed new trees and shrubs to decorate its front entrance that was overgrown in destructive and non-native weeds. After visiting the park and school and talking again with the Huntington Beach Tree Society, I decided to plant eleven native trees and fifty native shrubs, distributed between the park and the school. Such an amount of foliage is capable of removing an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that the average person exhales in fifteen years. However, after some research regarding the park, I was aware that I could not simply uproot the old tree and dig holes plant in new ones; the intricate water irrigation system underneath the topsoil could easily be damaged during the process. As a result, I called the Tree Maintenance Supervisor of Huntington Beach and asked for his assistance. An extremely nice man, he was willing not only to remove the sickened tree but also to safely auger the holes for the new trees to be planted, thus saving me a plethora of time. He also was able to provide the mulch that would be needed to prevent nutrients and water from escaping from the soil after the trees were planted.

Several days before my project, I reviewed and finalized my project plan with the Huntington Beach Tree Society. The total cost was determined to be four hundred dollars, quite a hefty sum. Fortunately, I received a two hundred dollar donation from a local company, which was a strong supporter of environmental awareness, and another forty dollars from a generous neighbor; I had to pay the rest myself. To raise awareness about my project and gain the support of volunteers, I passed out flyers in the neighborhood of the park and contacted as many friends and relatives as possible to ask for their aid. Because there were not any restrooms in the park and the restrooms in the school were locked, the project needed to be as short as possible, best if less than four hours. According to my calculations, I reckoned that I would need a minimum of thirty volunteers to finish the project in a timely fashion. However, although I contacted more than a hundred people, I was only able to confirm the assistance of less than twenty; the others were unsure about their schedules, so I could only hope for the best.

The day of my project was a gorgeous day with clear skies and a bright sun. When the volunteers arrived at the park, I was relieved to count more than thirty people. Two members of the Huntington Beach Tree Society demonstrated the proper method to plant a new tree, which included the use of “water socks,” a new technology which helped the trees better absorb water and nutrients from the soil. I then divided the volunteers into groups to plant the trees, both in the park and the school. As the volunteers worked on erecting the trees, I busied myself by checking on the progress of each group while also loading wheelbarrows with mulch and scattering it around the trunk of each tree. By the time all of the trees were firmly wedged in the soil and supported by wooden stakes and rubber ties, it was almost eleven o’clock. After a short water break, everyone headed back to work. I separated the volunteers into two groups: ten people continued to mulch the trees in the park, while the rest went to the school to plant the fifty shrubs.

Although the shrubs were diminutive compared to the trees, they were no easy task to plant. Both the parking lot planter and the school’s entrance were littered with trash everywhere, which had to be cleaned before any planting could be accomplished. When all the trees and shrubs were properly planted, mulched, and watered, it was past noon and the perfect time to take a lunch break. Everyone received sandwiches, plenty of fruits, and multitudes of snacks. Despite the delicious food, what all of the volunteers (myself included) truly enjoyed the most was that by working together, we had improved the environment for the better, one step at a time.

The greatest inspiration that my project has provided me is to encourage youths like myself to change the world. By inviting friends and schoolmates to help out at the project, I have spread the word that in a world polluted with excessive carbon dioxide and smog particles, every tree counts. Every small effort adds up to a significant amount in the quest of restoring the environment. In addition, this coming summer I plan on working with a local nature center to do even more “green” projects and set an example to positively benefit the world.
· Date: December 27, 2011 · Views: 2152 · File size: 15.8kb, 2637.7kb · : 3008 x 2000 ·
Hours Volunteered: 191
Volunteers: 33
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 & 10 to 60
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 3
Native Trees Planted: 11
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