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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra, California, USA

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Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra, California, USA


Registered: December 2011
City/Town/Province: huntington park
Posts: 1
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Ever since I began to read, I loved books about the environment. As I grew older and started high school I wanted to do more than read about the environment, I wanted to protect it. I got involved in a non-profit organization called Communities for a Better Environment. This organization had a youth group called Youth for Environmental Justice or Youth EJ for short. We get involved in activism, taking action, and educating youth on environmental issues especially those affecting our community South East LA. I chose to do an Apprentice Ecologist project because I chose to participate in a conservation project that has helped me develop better leadership skills and empowered me to be able to make change in our environment, and educated me more on water conservation.
I didn't conduct this project alone, partly. I went with Youth EJ. The first part in this project was I needed to educate myself on what I want to inform others about. Youth EJ organizes 3 trips a year to Mono Lake. I was fortunate enough to attend a trip in November and that is when my project began. The area we went to was the Mono Basin in Eastern Sierra. We participated with the Outdoor Experience Program where they teach us that the beautiful outdoors is our classroom. Our leader in the program, Santiago educated us about Mono Lake and the impacts of excessive water use and better solutions on water conservation.
On our first day we went to the County Park that had a boardwalk leading up to Mono Lake. Currently Mono Lake is 13 miles in length and 9 miles wide. As we were walking down the boardwalk we saw Tufas which are grown only underwater so you can really see that water levels are going down if the tufas are many feet away from the lake. A tufa is a soft porous rock made of calcium carbonate and its formed only underwater when calcium rich spring water and carbonate rich lake water combine. As we continued down the boardwalk we saw signs where the water use to reach. In 1951 the lake was 6,410 ft, in 1959 it was at 6,400 ft, in 1963 it was at 6392 ft, and in 1981 Mono Lake was at its lowest level which was 6,392 ft. Our mission today is to help restore and protect our waters from all over the world. If Mono Lake disappears, like some likes have, 1 1/2- 2 million birds can go extinct or be in danger of extinction. Wildlife depends on Mono Lake and not taking care of our water has many ecological consequences.
If we organize with different communities and believe in our hearts that we can make a difference we can change things. Our trip to Mono Lake was for 5 days and during the trip we were only allowed 3 minute showers. I thought it was going to be hard but it wasn't. I also learned that while washing dishes with the water running you use up to 20-30 gallons of water, but if you don't leave the water running you can only use up to 5 gallons of water. This is water conservation because you're using less water than the usual.
What I took home with me from this experience was hope that I can make a difference and knowledge that I can spread to others. I went home and was able to take 3 minute showers and I was able to tell people about conserving water starting with my family. I told them on how important it is to conserve our waters for our ecosystem. I also made zines for my friends at school which are mini magazines filled with information about water conservation. I believe its very important to take care of our water. Our waters are our resources and homes of many living things. It benefits our communities, our environment, and anything with living things.
Being ecologically illiterate has enriched my life because I am more aware about my environment and how to protect it. I want to do many things to protect it and take care of it. This has inspired me to be a research scientist for the environment when I grow up. I want to study it all! Air pollution, the ocean, our air, natural disasters. The more I learn about it the more I'll understand how to make our world a better place.
Date: December 31, 2011 Views: 5137 File size: 7.7kb : 180 x 135
Hours Volunteered: 35
Volunteers: 6
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16 to 20
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