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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Hawn State Park, St. Genevieve, Missouri, USA

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Hawn State Park, St. Genevieve, Missouri, USA
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Jacob17



Registered: September 2014
City/Town/Province: St. Louis
Posts: 1
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I am a seventeen year old senior in high school, active on my schoolís rugby team, and I have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I have always enjoyed nature and I have been an avid camper since I was young. I choose to do this project because I wanted to have a better understanding if I wanted to have a career in environmental science.
My conservation project I completed in 2014 was at Hawn State Park, a 4,953-acre park located near St. Genevieve, MO. The 2,880-acre Whispering Pines Wild Area, a part of the park, offers opportunities to backpack, bird watch or study nature. The specific project area near Whispering Pines Trailhead had a problem with soil erosion which has left a large ditch of approximately 20 foot by 5 foot. The area was constantly being walked on and driven over by people camping at the park and an increase in the amount of rainfall runoff to the area that had increased the size of the ditch. The area slopes down to Pickle Creek and the problem that arises from this was that there was a lot of soil being lost due to run off from the rain and no plants could grow in the area either. As a result of these factors, there was a deep groove in the area which not only caused environmental damage, but was also unsafe for campers and visitors to the park and could potentially have led to injuries due to the sloping area. The soil erosion problem needed to be fixed so we could keep the area from losing even more soil than it has already lost.
There were two ways to solve the problem, and I did both. I started by making a check dam. A check dam is made by putting logs in the eroded area, stacked high enough so that the top of the log was higher than the level of the uneroded area. Then moving a little further down in the ditch, I put another stack of logs, until the entire ditch was supported by the logs. By adding the check dam, the water that runs through the area is slowed down reducing the erosion and any other dirt also gets a chance to settle instead of being pulled away by the water. And since you made multiply dams at multiply heights, it makes it harder and harder for water to quickly pull dirt from the top to the bottom of the slope. The second way I helped stop the erosion was by making a split rail fence to further deter people from driving and walking in the area. On this task I was able to get help from several of my friends. The park provided us with some cedar logs, and so we had to split those logs into halves and quarter logs. The halves would act as the vertical posts while the quarters acted as the horizontal rails. I was glad to have my friends help because splitting the logs took a lot of energy and time. We had to split about 20 logs. After we split the logs, we had to put together the fence. The first thing we did was dig out five holes. In each one we put 2 half posts so that the rough sides were facing away from each other and the smooth sides were towards each other. We then filled each hole up so that the posts could stand up by themselves. After that we put two rows of horizontal rails connecting two pairs of vertical posts. We would then screw each row to both of the vertical posts in the hole. We repeated this step until all of we built a 5-section fence. Once we were done we sawed off the top of each vertical post so that they didnít have extra wood going of the top of them.
I really enjoy helping the park because honestly itís a very nice park. It is always clean, the people are very friendly, and there is a beautiful river behind the campsites. I enjoyed being able to assist the park in keeping it a nice place to camp. I also see it as allowing me the option to do my part for the park and hope that I can inspire others to also volunteer for parks and keep them in top shape. When I was thinking about what project I could do, I thought that this might not be very important in how it could help the environment and thinking that people would either not notice or not care. But boy was I wrong. Almost immediately after I begun to work on the check dam, I was stopped by some nearby campers that had come to see what was going on. As I talked about what I was doing, they told me about how they were regulars at the park and had noticed the deep ditch that I was working on. They thanked me for working to fix up the park. There were other times too when I was working on the project that I was stopped and asked about the work. I was glad that to hear that people were interested in how the task was I doing was going to help the environment. I also hope that when people see the project that they realize that by staying on the trails instead of taking shortcuts, that they reduce the chance of soil erosion problems that can damage the natural areas of the park. I also hope that it inspires them to help out the park rangers in future projects.
Date: September 27, 2014 ∑ Views: 1804 ∑ File size: 27.3kb, 315.6kb: 768 x 783 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 85
Volunteers: 6
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 14 to 55
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.5
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