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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Warwick, Rhode Island, USA

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Warwick, Rhode Island, USA
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Registered: July 2015
City/Town/Province: Warwick
Posts: 1
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Fish in the Environment

I am a seventeen year old high school student from Warwick, Rhode Island. Environmental concern was presented to me in a unique way. Moving from South Korea to Japan and from Japan to the U.S., I was able to see many different parts of the world since the beginning of my life. As my family moved from country to country, the cultures changed, but nature didn’t. I found comfort in that a toad in a creek in Japan would always be a toad in a creek regardless of culture. However, it was when I came to the U.S. that I took on a hobby that gave me the spark I needed to ignite my initiative in environmental preservation. This hobby was that of fishing.
Many years ago, on the day that I arrived in my new home in Rhode Island, I remember vividly my futile attempts at fishing for the first time, not catching any fish in this small, skimpy pond named Ryan’s Pond. At the time, I wasn’t interested in fishing and just wanted to go back home. It was one of those hot, humid days that made me want to just relax in the air-conditioned confines of my home. It wasn’t long however, before a friendly fisherman proceeded to lend us a hand. On my first fish, using shrimp (in a freshwater pond!), I remember the feeling of the subtle yet inexpressible excitement that came from the wary little nips that the fish would take. I was hooked. It was there that my love for fishing originated, which in turn sparked my interest for the environment.
Today, my brother and I take fishing as our primary hobby. We frequent the water bodies in our area on our canoe especially during the long days and nights of summer. One summer day, we returned to the pond where we first took on fishing. Upon our arrival, instead of finding that small, cozy pond we used to frequent, we found a heavily eutrophicated, heavy-metal ridden pond. It took us by surprise to say the least. By this time, my brother was a junior and I was a sophomore in high school. Wanting to preserve our lakes and ponds from further pollution, we conducted an awareness project to raise the awareness on the level of pollution in our water bodies. This established the launching of our efforts to save the environment.
However, it was this year that I started to lead a collaborative effort with my brother on a project to find a practical alternative in remediating heavy metal polluted water, particularly that of lead (II), in our very own state of Rhode Island. Collaborating with the chairman of the environmental chemistry of Brown University and staff, we worked together in conducting research in this area. As of this time, phytoremediative and bioremediative methods of cleansing water existed, as local colleges had implemented them already; however, I wanted to create a more cost-effective yet more efficient way to remediate water. Using only indigenous species to avoid introducing any invasive species, we optimized a combination of actinomycetes and water hyacinths to discover a synergistic method of remediating water. We ran tests measuring the rates of absorption of the different combinations in different concentrations of lead (II). Employing very precise machines such as the ICP-AES, we were able to gain very precise results confirming our hypothesis. It was a novel find, and through this research, I gained renewed hope for the preservation of our precious water bodies.
My involvement in environmental preservation has allowed me to integrate myself with the land in which we live. This has not only heightened my awareness on environmental preservation, but has also given me a newfound devotion to teamwork and problem solving, traits that are necessary in solving global problems. Projects of this type are continually becoming more important as more and more pollutants are being introduced into our water bodies. With the gradual decrease in the availability of clean water globally, keeping our fresh water bodies free of pollutants is even more important than ever.
I believe that respect is mutual. My love for fishing requires the reciprocated respect for the fish and our shared environment. The environment is a part of our lives, and we must protect it. My work on removing pollutants in our local water bodies will continue into the future, and maybe, very soon, that pond where it all started may spring back to life.
Date: July 29, 2015 Views: 4683 File size: 15.7kb, 2823.9kb : 4128 x 2322
Hours Volunteered: 550
Volunteers: 5
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 18 to 59
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