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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Bountiful Lake, Utah, USA

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Bountiful Lake, Utah, USA
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Registered: December 2018
City/Town/Province: Kaysville
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I am Jason, currently living in a small town in Utah. I have a desire to help people who are in need. This led me to volunteer in assisted living centers and hospitals. Through volunteering, I realized that pollution is one of the most serious environmental causes of disease and premature death. Therefore, I started wondering what I could do, as a 15-year-old boy, to improve our environment.

This summer, my father's company hosted a party next to a reservoir where people can go swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, and etc. The beach was clean, and we greatly enjoyed the party. Later that day, my father's colleagues invited us to try their kayaks. We were delighted because it was our first time kayaking. It made me imagine people sitting in kayaks and paddling through Carribean-blue water on a beautiful sunny day. We had a lot of fun while riding on the kayaks. However, I saw some scattered trash, such as: plastic bottles, bags, wrappers, hats, aluminum cans and etc., floating in the water along the shoreline. All of that disgusting greenish trash made me gloomy for the rest of the day. In addition, I decided not to swim in the reservoir even though I had brought my swimsuit.

My family greatly enjoyed kayaking, so my parents decided to purchase kayaks for fun. I realized that I could use them to make the world a little better. So I proposed to use kayaks to pick up trash in lakes or ponds. By doing so, we could have fun while working on the waterbody cleanup simultaneously. All of my family agreed and were excited about this kayak-litter collecting plan. In the following week, my parents bought three kayaks. My siblings and I made a few nets to collect litter. After everything was ready, we went kayaking at a large pond closer to our house - Bountiful Lake. It was a sunny day with a cool breeze, and we spent two hours kayaking around and collecting garbage. It was fun but challenging, like people always say, "It's easier said than done." I soon discovered that it was very difficult to pick up some garbage, especially plastic bags and severed fishing lines, from the underwater vegetation, because they easily became ensnared on branches. Moreover, cans and bottles were difficult to be collected because they contained large quantities of water, thus making it difficult to lift. I also realized that there was much less trash on the land than in the water. The reason may be that people can pick up their trash after themselves on land easily, but once it falls into water, people cannot retrieve it. Another thing worth mentioning is that some people kayaking there were curious about what we were doing. After they chatted with us, they said that it was a fantastic idea and they would like to join us. Their compliments and support have further strengthened my determination to work on this waterbody clean-up project.

Below is my plan for this project:
1) This project will be a continuous and long-term project.
2) I will build a website for people, which will include but not limited to the followings:
a) To check the upcoming date, time, location where we plan to do the waterbody clean-up, so they can join us.
b) To share their own opinions, experiences, photos/videos, suggestions, feedback, and etc..
c) It is free to join us with/without kayaks and/or supplies.
d) To donate money to support us to buy more kayaks and supplies. All donation and purchase receipts will be posted on the website.
e) More functions/links will be determined later as needed.
3) We work on the concrete work- cleaning up.
4) Since public education is important, we will do our best to promote the environmental awareness, so that general public can leave less trash in the water bodies, and more people may join this project and clean more water bodies. For example, we can present this project to many parties or business entities; put some posters on the ground while we clean up ponds/lakes; invite more families and friends to join us to clean up while kayaking;
4) Prepare general guidance for future members based on our experience;
5) We will categorize the trash every time, record and convert them into data-analysis, thus providing some important information for education or other purposes.

It always takes forever to make a perfect plan. With the trash in the water already, I decided to continue this project while working on the planning. Up to now, six people have joined the project. Also, I contacted the City Parks Department. The Parks Director has confirmed that there are no specific regulations that apply to this kind of project. In addition, they can provide the big garbage bags if we need. With the kayaks and other tools that my family bought, I started this project with my siblings and friends in September 2018. Since then on, we went kayaking and cleaning up once every weekend until late October. Because the majority of the trash was from people boating, fishing, or camping there. We did not see much new trash when the weather became cold. Consequently, I decided to suspend the kayaking and cleaning up work until next May when the weather gets warmer.

After completing several clean-ups, here are our experiences:
1) For safety purpose, it is always required for everyone to put on a life jacket.
2) Some tools are more efficient than others to pick up the trash stuck in the bushes, like a tool with a large hook at its end.
3) Most trash is probably blown into the water by the wind, so people cannot pick them up without a boat/kayak. I think it would be a good idea to put a sign over there to notify people that wind can blow trash into the water;
4) The dropped/broken fish lines are dangerous.
5) With more clean up times in the future, we will be able to report more information about this project.

I will continue this project in May 2019 and onwards. It enriches my social life with my friends and family since we had a lot of fun together while kayaking and cleaning up. This project definitely makes our community cleaner and mitigates pollution in our lakes and ponds. The more people that join this project, the cleaner our community will be!
Date: January 1, 2019 Views: 1601 File size: 15.5kb, 174.7kb : 838 x 501
Hours Volunteered: 100
Volunteers: 6
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15
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