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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Carson, California, USA

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Carson, California, USA
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xxjammiexx



Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Carson
Posts: 1
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The natural world, as therapeutic and aesthetically pleasing as we may find it, is, ironically, being depleted of the resources it provides in ecosystems services. Nature is priceless due to how scarce the resources it provides are becoming.
I come from Carson, a low-income community in the suburbs of Los Angeles, where there isn't much in the form of bucolic sites, with even the nearest sites not easily accessible. I noticed that at my school, Carson High School, there is a separation between students and nature. Many peers I've spoken to have never seen more greenery than what it is their own backyard. They lack a connection to nature. A connection that's famous for increasing not only students' knowledge of the environment but of how anthropocentric activity is changing it, too. Which is key because many adolescents don't see the consequences of their actions on the environment, how just one person can significantly contribute to pollution. This inspired me to conduct my biophilia deficiency project, so I can enhance Carson students to connect with wildlife and see how important it is to reduce our impact on ecostystems. Too often we fail to see how dependent we are on the environment, and how that dependence is reflected in the environment's need for humans to protect it.
In a city surrounded by freeways and traffic, the nearest source of nature students at Carson High School can look to is CHS's Tropical Edible Forest. It's a small garden in the back of the school that consists of apple, orange, peach, lemon, and pomegranate trees. The Forest also is home to ten chickens, five geese, five ducks, three tortoises, one peacock, and two bunnies.
The "school garden," as it is referred to by many students on campus, wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't for the students who have maintained it, at least once, every other week, for the past seven years. If it wasn't for them, the vegetation and animals wouldn't be in healthy condition. The students' consistency and dedication have shaped both said students and the garden. As the garden has been cared for, the students have put their skills to use on something vital.
If more people were to realize the positive change that gardens such as Carson High's can bring, the more the gardens would be able to inspire creativity and motivation in students to create that sustainable future we all hope for.
As the co-president of Go Green Club, a club dedicated to educate students on how to live sustainably by showing ways to reducing waste on campus and in the community, I make it my goal to spread the aforementioned message: that even small environmental projects can have a big impact.
With the support of two teachers from the Environmental Science Engineering and Technology academy, Ms. Bird and Ms.Vernon, I have been able to guide the club a team to run a garbology, a system on campus that has students sorts out decomposible material (that will be used as fertilizer for the garden and/or food for the animals) and recyclables, have Republic Waste Management present to Go Green members on the importance of recycling, and train students in tree surgery.
Even though many students were inspired to become activists for environmental causes, I knew that Go Green could do more to further raise awareness. At a meeting, Go Green's board realized the potential for social media to raise awareness levels needed for real change to happen. So I mentioned we've make use of our club's social media pages to post updates for Go Green Club members. In doing so, Go Green Club got to rally 30 people (some alumni who found out about the event because of a post on social media) to come to a Go Green Halloween Movie Night, where club members cleaned the garden and enjoy a movie and food afterward. As well as, offer updates on planned after school clean-ups, and offer assistance on environmental projects such as vertical gardens.
So far, students have taken to our social media pages; since their creation, we've continually broken attendance records in each of our successive garden cleanups.
In addition to the club's online efforts, I expanded my project by offering something different; a chance to volunteer somewhere new: the Gardena Willow Wetland Preserve. With only a volunteer application needed, Go Green members were welcomed to enter a world lush with flora and canopy. Upon entering, we learned that the preserve was formerly used an unofficial dump site by residents in the area. Their waste introduced invasive plant species such as palm trees, English Ivey, and vines; they polluted the area with man-made materials. It was our job to eliminate as many invasive species as possible in a two-hour period, with the priority being the removal of the Ivey and the vines. Our project supervisor began by showing us how to strip the Ivey away. We implemented a different, what we found more effective, method and decided to aim at shoveling away at the roots. Although this was a more physically demanding, it saved us time in the long run, and thus we were able to move on to other areas and remove the invasive species there.
While shoveling, another volunteer and I found items that proved the story we heard earlier about the preserve being used as a dump site true. I found a tire held deep in the dirt, a tennis ball, and pieces of plastic and drywall. Alongside my peer, I uncovered a plastic jug of Lady Lee Lucky Market milk from a market that, according to our supervisor, had shut down ten to fifteen years ago. It was suprising to see something produced years ago still remain in the preserve. It was no confusion the responsibility to keep preserving this wetland was going to be on the hands of our generation. We realized, it was already beginning to.
We found bugs that resembled leaves. When our questioned of where the innumerable croaks were coming from, the supervisor pointed out the swamp, a common habitat for Pacific Tree Frogs. A volunteer happened to find one jumping by while shoveling out dirt from a hole. He picked it up and showed the whole group. We were fond of the creature. It reminded me of the reason why I got up that morning to put on old clothes that I didn't mind getting dirty; so I can contribute my services in protecting the habitat of a species that didn't have the ability to do so itself.
The Ivey roots dominated throughout the preserve. One particularly massive root was sticking out of the ground, and that was only a subsection of the entirety of the roots' body which was meters long. It was frustrating to take out every root; they seemed endless. Despite this, the group managed to keep on going. We had the mindset, "Why wait later to do something when it's imperative now?"
When asked if we would come back the following month, we replied Definitely, with friends. After gaining so much knowledge and experience at the preserve, we reflected on how important it was that our work had impacted a community and a "garden" that wasn't just the one at our high school, but one that countless people will one day be able to enjoy. Although the turn out of representatives from our high school wasn't what was had hoped and expected, those who did attend, luckily, were part of a group of people who cared about making a positive change on the environment.
Date: December 29, 2018 Views: 585 File size: 34.5kb, 670.7kb : 1773 x 1773
Hours Volunteered: 30
Volunteers: 60
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15-20
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