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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Belvidere, New Jersey, USA

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Belvidere, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: December 2015
City/Town/Province: Bethlehem
Posts: 1
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I’d like to think that I am a very involved person in my community, and to that end I participate in a number of varied activities. I practice Tang Soo Do, a korean martial art, and I am an Eagle Scout. Of course, in order to attain the rank of Eagle Scout with my troop, I had to complete a service project of some kind. However, I wanted mine to reflect my values and to support a cause that I found important. I decided that my project would support the environment in some way because of my outdoor interests and my family ideals. I love to spend time outside, particularly hiking, and my family and I have gone on many backpacking trips around Pennsylvania. While I initially approached the project without a concrete idea of what it would be, I knew that it would help the environment in some way or fashion. Since the project concluded, I can safely say that it is the biggest thing I have ever accomplished, and I am extremely proud that I managed to help conserve and preserve the environment and its inhabitants in this way.

The area where I conducted my project was an environment rehabilitation area in Belvidere, New Jersey. The area was roughly 640 acres across and heavily wooded, which Eastern Screech Owls prefer. The land was also bordered by the Delaware River, making it prime habitat for osprey. The land is owned by BASF, a chemical company, and it used to house factories for making pigment and, during wartime, TNT. These buildings are long gone, but the activities housed in them drove wildlife from the area, and today there is a significant lack of biodiversity there. My project focused two bird species, Eastern Screech Owl and Osprey, and encouraging them to return to the area and hopefully kickstart the rebirth of the natural animal order there.

My project began with extensive research on the animals that lived on that particular plot of land. I wanted to make sure that the work I did would have a tangible impact on the area, and to that end I wanted to find out which species were endangered or falling off in the area. I eventually settled on Osprey and Eastern Screech Owls as the subjects for my project. I then looked into information and found plans for Eastern Screech Owl boxes. These boxes would allow the birds to nest and protect themselves from predators. The plan was to build 12 of these. In addition to the owl boxes, we would also construct one platform for Osprey. This platform would allow the birds to have easy access to water for fishing, and would provide a clear view of the surrounding area. Thus, the project consisted of building the 12 Screech Owl boxes from scratch, assembling the platform of the Osprey nesting structure, and transporting them to the environment rehabilitation area. From there, we installed the nesting boxes in various places throughout the plot of land to maximize the amount of forest covered, and we placed the Osprey platform on a post in the ground that would allow the birds to fly in and hunt.

I think taking care of the area where I did my project is important because of the implications it holds for that particular piece of land and the greater area that surrounds it. While the area that I worked on specifically is rather small, the trends that are exhibited in that location hold true for the entire area. Much of western New Jersey is seeing declines in the populations of important bird species such as the Eastern Screech Owls and Osprey. I think projects like the one I conducted are important to the continuation of the environment. If more and more people do projects like this one, then the positive impact will be multiplied and more animals will have optimal habitat to survive and reproduce, which will lead to the revival and overall health of the ecosystem. For example, Osprey primarily feed on fish. Thus, their presence around the Delaware River will help to curb rising fish populations, which will ultimately restore balance to the ecosystem. However, my project also has a positive aesthetic effect on the surrounding area. People looking for birds will see more diversity in the area, and as mentioned before, more species will have a chance to flourish as the presence of these predators limits the spread of the creatures they prey on. Therefore, while projects like mine are good for maintaining natural balance in the environment, they also give people a chance to see more diverse and interesting species without having to stray far from their homes.

Throughout the course of my project, I learned much about leadership skills and how to manage a large group of workers, especially when multiple groups are doing different projects at the same time. I learned that leading by example is often an excellent way to provide instructions, but at the same time it is important to avoid being so involved that you take duties away from your workers and disrupt the process. Ultimately, however, this undertaking taught me how wonderful it feels to work together and accomplish a common goal, regardless of what that goal is. Throughout my life I have been interested in conserving the environment, and the fact that I got to help that cause in this project is really inspiring to me. The success of this venture makes me think that I can accomplish other difficult tasks if I put forth all of my effort. I would love to conduct similar projects in the future, and I think it would be extremely rewarding to have a hand in the betterment of society and Earth.
Date: December 31, 2015 Views: 4916 File size: 21.3kb, 157.9kb : 554 x 719
Hours Volunteered: 280
Volunteers: 18
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 10 to 20
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