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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Kremmling, Colorado, USA

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Kremmling, Colorado, USA
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hanks4651



Registered: September 2020
City/Town/Province: Berthoud
Posts: 1
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Since I was a little girl, I've always been very outdoorsy. I've wanted to preserve and protect the outdoors as much as possible, and do what I can to help restore areas affected by natural disasters or human-caused damage. Knowing this, I chose to do an Apprentice Ecologist Project because I believed that it would not only help native species and habitats ravaged by natural disasters, it would help me connect with my community and those who have an interest in nature as well.
The project began in September 2019 when I joined with the Colorado Native Plant Society and City of Loveland Open Lands and Trails to plant in River's Edge Natural Area. A natural wetland, this marshy riverside paradise was very diverse in both plant and animal species. Sadly, in 2013, a horrendous flood devastated the area, wiping out hundreds of the native plants and species. The effort to replant in the fall was amazing; myself, my twin, and my best friend came prepared to help on September 21. Together, we transplanted over 100 native plants into the area, including species such as Winterfat, Yucca, Rabbitbrush, Dotted Blazing Stars, Indian Ricegrass, and many others. A week later, my trio came back and watered the plants one more time before they were established, and ready to grow. The effort was supposed to continue into spring 2020, however, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the natural area was closed, and the planting operation wasn't able to continue. Even this setback didn't prevent me from finding some way to make a difference.
In June 2020, joined with help from employees of Horizon West Builders and HB Electric, another planting was organized. This time, the efforts would benefit a natural area in Kremmling, Colorado where a wildfire in the 1970's and extensive logging had almost eliminated a native species of Aspen. In May 2020, 89 aspens were purchased, and ready to be transplanted at the site! On a sunny Saturday in June, myself and my twin joined with one manager and two employees from HB electric, and one manager and one employee from Horizon West Builders to begin planting the multitude of trees. Our plan of action was that seven different groupings of about 15 or 16 trees each would be planted close together in the hopes they would root together, and produce saplings to repopulate the reduced native species. For each tree, a three foot diameter hole was dug, a tree placed in the hole, and a reservoir for water retention was built around each newly planted Aspen. We were able to transplant all 89 Aspens the same day, and watered them in the next day. The efforts to keep the trees alive continued throughout the blistering summer. Every weekend, myself, my twin, and rotating workers from HB Electric would give each tree five gallons of water, twice. We continued these efforts well into September 2020, and all the trees survived the first snow. I'm very eager to monitor their progress into spring 2021 and see that all of them successfully emerge from their dormancy.
I think it's very important to maintain and take care of your environment because keeping the environment healthy helps keep the Earth healthy, and aids in preserving different natural areas for future generations to enjoy. Additionally, where both of my projects were conducted, people are very connected to the outdoors, so making sure the natural areas are as well cared for as possible helps to keep the community happier and healthier. However, not only humans benefit from taking care of the environment, it also allows more wildlife to inhabit the areas, and create a natural, beautiful environment for humans, animals, and plants alike to reap the benefits of. For both projects, it helped not only the environment, but it helped the community as well. When volunteering, I met so many interesting people that otherwise I wouldn't have had the opportunity to have a conversation with. It helped bring different perspectives and people together to collaborate for a good cause. Once the project is completed, it will benefit the community by having a natural, serene area for families and friends to get away and take a walk or have a picnic, and bring focus from screens back together with loved ones. The projects helped the environment by replenishing native species that were lost due to natural disasters, or human caused alteration of the environment. By replanting the native plants which were diminished, animals and insects that had lost their natural habitats were able to reestablish themselves and make their environment a more plentiful and balanced ecosystem for every species that inhabits it.
While conducting these projects was wonderful for the environment, it was also a very wonderful experience for me, as well. I was able to make connections and speak with people who had very different outlooks regarding things I never even thought of. This aided me in cultivating my personality and changing my outlook on certain things with new thoughts and ideas to consider. After both projects were completed, it made me feel so good that I had helped to enrich other people's lives by giving them a clean, diverse, scenic location to pass time and connect deeper with nature. Giving back to the community and the environment really helped me develop more social skills, knowledge of native plants in different areas, and in general helped me become a more empathetic, organized person. I'm very excited to do more in the future in whatever ways I can to further help communities. I would like to pick up litter around natural areas, raise awareness about endangered species, conduct a fundraiser to put more money into local natural areas, and teach classes for kids about environmental awareness. Through reestablishing native plants whose species were dwindling in two different areas, I felt I was able to learn more about the environments around me, more about my community, and more about myself. "Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." -Gary Snyder
Date: September 22, 2020 Views: 136 File size: 29.7kb, 1871.0kb : 2250 x 3000
Hours Volunteered: 85
Volunteers: 8
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 & 14 to 50
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 5.2
Native Trees Planted: 113
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