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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Trinity Trail, Dallas, Texas, USA

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Trinity Trail, Dallas, Texas, USA
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Registered: December 2012
City/Town/Province: Dallas
Posts: 1
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Apprentice Ecologist Initiative Project
By: Karen

My name is Karen, and I am a seventeen-year-old high school senior at Williams Preparatory located in Dallas, Texas. National Geographic’s goal is to inspire people to care about the planet, and in my case it has succeeded. Since I began reading National Geographic, I have been fascinated with the wonders the world has to offer. I also have a subscription to National Geographic. I am not able to travel to the exotic wildlife places I read about in the magazine, but I have found that you don’t have to travel across the world to experience these exciting places.
The Apprentice Ecologist Initiatives are important and inspiring because you are able to show your love and interest in protecting the planet and wildlife. It feels good and inspiring to be part of something greater than yourself, which so many forms of life depend on. I always lived in the city and the closest I have gone to a forest was going to the neighborhood park or the Dallas zoo. Hearing the cars roar by on the interstate is not exactly the same as being in the wilderness. When I started high school I began to notice that actually there are some beautiful forests and wooded areas in Dallas. One good example is the Trinity River which surrounds most of Dallas. Sadly the river and its streams and forests seem full of toxic waste, trash, and runoff from the roads that cross the Trinity River. Besides making the trees and river look bad, all the animals and wildlife were suffering too. I began doing little deeds to try and cut back on waste, such as making sure that in my home we would recycle so our trash wouldn’t end up in local bodies of water. I soon found out that this was not enough; I had to embark on being much more active if I wanted to restore the beauty and health of forests and parks in my city. As a result at school I began asking about groups and organizations to join that were interested in making the Trinity River safer and cleaner.
I am currently the president of the Groundwork Dallas’ Green Team Environmental Club in Williams Preparatory, an Uplift Education charter school in Dallas, Texas. We are a number of student volunteers who are dedicated to doing community service to make the Trinity River cleaner. This includes doing regular clean ups, trail construction, and gathering water quality data on the Trinity River and its tributaries. We meet every Monday and Saturday to do these volunteer jobs. Although the organization earns us no income or any pay, we all understand that this is the kind of work it will take to make the Trinity River a safer place. And we also understand that making the river a safer, cleaner place will help the people of the city,and the fauna and flora who depend on the water as a life source, who we must also protect, so this is why making the river a cleaner place will in the end help everyone.
As the president of this organization I have to be at every weekly monday and saturday meeting. I am responsible for the organization and work we do on the weekends, as well as recruiting more student volunteers during the week. I love working with my fellow volunteers. Since we wanted to include all the students of Williams Preparatory in our work, we built recycling boxes and have been organizing a campaign to have these boxes strategically placed in classrooms and by restrooms. Our hope is that students will begin placing recyclable material in the boxes. We have constructed fifteen such boxes so far. The event I am most proud of was our participation in the National Public Lands Day in September of 2012. We met on a Saturday morning with the goal of fixing trails and helping clean the trails and woodlands surrounding the Trinity River floodplain outside of Dallas, TX. We worked through the rain and accomplished a lot. I worked for five hours cleaning up trash, debris and toxic material such as plastic bags, bottles, shoes, tires, and paper in the water. We removed half-buried tires found scattered throughout the forest. It was an exciting but tiring experience for me and my fellow volunteers. As if these conditions were not hard enough, there were also a large number of stinging insects and spiders that made the whole day very unpleasant. One volunteer was in fact bitten by a venomous spider and had to be taken to the hospital.
A lot of the work we did will help various species of wetlands birds that stop in the Trinity River floodplain to rest and eat when they migrate south for the winter. Sadly many of the birds do not make it to their destination because they often mistaken the colorful pieces of trash for food. Birds choke and die on the toxic waste in the river. If I had not collected the trash, it would have ended up in the stomachs of birds or even out in the Gulf of Mexico as floating trash, which is were the Trinity River empties into. Once in the Gulf of Mexico the trash would have caused much bigger problems by killing fish and other species that fill the ocean waters. For me this is the most important and educational part of the work I do, because it shows how all of our ecosystems are connected. People might think that throwing a little trash on the side of the road in Dallas is no big deal, but what if the wind or a bird takes it to the Trinity River as part of their nest? Then from there birds migrating south from another part of the continent might eat that trash, or the river might sweep it into the ocean. The consequences suddenly become much bigger all of the sudden.
This is why I believe that clean up activities are necessary for the greater good of everyone, and to preserve the beauty of our forest, parks and all bodies of water, including the ocean. I believe it’s very important for the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative to keep inspiring young people like myself to keep thinking about the health of the lakes and even the oceans of our planet. In my opinion we only get one planet and everyone has to do their part to keep it in good condition. Otherwise we could even hurt future generations who have no part in any of this. But with enough people doing this work, it can be done.
Date: December 24, 2012 Views: 7908 File size: 15.6kb, 99.7kb : 884 x 436
Hours Volunteered: 200
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 17
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 680
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