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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Henrico, Virginia, USA

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Henrico, Virginia, USA
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Registered: May 2013
City/Town/Province: Richmond
Posts: 3
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Adopt A Mile
A Nicodemus Wilderness Community Service Project
By Catherine & Caroline

Brief Personal Background & Why We Chose To Do An Apprentice Ecologist Project On Behalf Of The Nicodemus Wilderness Project

Our names are Catherine and Caroline. We are twelve-year-old twin sisters. We are in the International Baccalaureate program at our local middle School. One of the program’s requirements is that we complete a certain number of community service volunteer hours each year in order to be invited back into the program the following year.

Both my sister and I love being outdoors. We wanted to find a volunteer opportunity that allowed us to work outdoors and at the same time make a difference in our community. A search on the internet helped us find about the Nicodemus Wilderness Project. The program called, The Apprentice Ecologist Initiative sounded like the perfect opportunity for us to meet our goals.

We decided to adopt a strip of road one mile in length that our family travels on every day, and spend as many hours as it took carefully walking up and down it and picking up and removing all trash that we could find on either side of the road and in the median strip.

The one-mile of road that we adopted is Gaskins Road in Henrico, Virginia between the crossroads of River Road and Patterson Avenue.

Our father thought that we would be home within the hour. He said we would not find any trash on the side of the road. But we spent over eight hours out there picking up all sorts of trash. It was VERY eye opening. We were shocked by the number of liter-sized soda bottles we colleted. People apparently just threw from their car when they are finished drinking from them. It is truly gross. We also picked up tons of McDonald’s food containers – those along with cigarette butts are the most popular form of litter that people in Henrico throw from their car.

All together, we collected eight full trash bags of trash. Also we hauled home several other items that were trash, but too large to fit into a bag.

This project was very important to us for it has really opened our eyes to just how awful a problem littering is. We were shocked by how much trash we collected on a street so close to our own home. Up until we did this project we did not think litter was a problem that we had to worry about. We thought it only happened in other places – but that it did not affect us. Spending hour, after hour picking up trash along side a road that is right near your home really hits home. It made us both mad about the problem and wondering what we could do to open others people’s eyes too?

We thought about going to more of a public place in our city to adopt a stretch of land. But the more we thought about it, we decided that if we truly wanted to be an inspiration to other kids one day, it would be a better idea, to pick a location closer to home. Our mile is not a landmark in town, but it is a road we travel up and down everyday and is very close to our house. It was important to both of us to make this project very real and doable for other kids. So we chose a street within walking distance from our house that everyone in our neighborhood uses a great deal.

Truthfully, the stretch of road did not look bad before we started. But it truly does look better now. And we feel better knowing all that trash has been removed. Also, while we were out there picking up trash, cars slowed down and yelled out the window: “Thank you. You kids are awesome.” That gave us a tremendous sense of pride and made us want to keep going.” We truly felt like we had accomplished something worthwhile after we were through. We were very tired and very dirty, but we also felt good inside. And for the first time ever, we felt a closer bond with the very land itself. As a special bonus, we also discovered our local firehouse. And as a way of giving back to those brave men and woman, went home and made then a plate of brownies. So we felt not only closer to the land, but those that keep us safe within our community too – true heroes.

Out of all the community service hours we have logged in for the International Baccalaureate program at our school, the ten hours we have spent working on the Apprentice Ecologist Project has been life changing. Neither of us will ever throw trash out of the car again – not even a stick of gum – now that we know how awful it is to clean up. We are also going to encourage our friends not to litter but to recycle. It was sinful how many beverage bottles alone we picked up. We are both thinking about how we can get McDonald’s to do a better job of influencing their customers to throw their trash in trash containers and not out car windows, but we have not come up with an answer yet. We will keep thinking about it. Were there is a will there is a way. That is what this project has taught us.
· Date: May 5, 2013 · Views: 2501 · File size: 14.6kb, 543.0kb · : 2896 x 1944 ·
Hours Volunteered: 12
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 12, 12 & 52
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): Over 211, 200 square feet of road
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 20.5
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