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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Little Rock, Arkansas

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Little Rock, Arkansas
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Registered: November 2020
City/Town/Province: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 1
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Growing up in the rural woods of Heber Springs, Arkansas, I spent my days carelessly running amuck barefoot in the woods, maintaining bountiful gardens, and swimming in the loneliest parts of the lake. The environment had been nothing but a friend to me, a friend that has repeatedly given to us while asking for nothing in return. As I grew older, I kept a sense of environmentalism in my heart that showed itself towards every little bug and tree. I had decided since a young age I wanted to pursue a career in biology, I wanted to explore and give back to the environment. I've always been a kinetic learner and as soon as I was old enough, I wanted to take on any opportunities to intern or volunteer in natural science fields. This is where the teachers, scouts, volunteers, and community members of Dunbar Gardens stand out unlike any other.

Dunbar Community Garden is a 2.5 acre plot located right in the center of the bustling Little Rock, Arkansas. They provide fresh food to the residents of the city and hands on education experience to local students of all ages. I've been volunteering since October 12th and plan on continuing my work for as long as I can. My work involves planting, harvesting, and caring for many different types of plants, harvesting honey from our apiary, and keeping up with our 41 chickens. Half of the fun for me is through learning, I've been able to directly observe the beyond amazing behavior patterns of chickens and bees. One day a week, we open up a market as a "pay what you can" deal to provide good food and kindness to everyone around. We often have young kids come by who can learn hands-on how their food is grown, harvested, and brought to their tables. I've learned important, yet difficult, skills such as harvesting without damaging, managing transactions, utilizing farm tools, and planting trees. It's been both a wonderful source of education and physical activity for me. I've found myself spending extra days there due to the peaceful environment and satisfying feeling of my work, lately there's no place I'd rather be.

The garden serves as a waste free environment, turning food scraps from the local restaurants into compost for new vegetables to spring in their place. Later on, these restaurants buy fresh food from the garden market and the cycle continues with benefits for everyone. Even vegetables too low quality to sell we often take home ourselves and put to good use, lately I've been making homemade dog treats with our old sweet potatoes! I'm a strict believer that everything born on this Earth has a purpose, and contributing to a zero-waste environment has allowed me to continue a cycle of fulfillment for the lives of plants and animals. With the most positive community of people I've ever met, people from all different walks of life but all with a love for nature and humanity. Volunteering may sound boring to many teens, but once you find the right place it's about so much more than generosity. I have so much fun, I don't even realize just how much I've learned and contributed. Gardening never feels like the mindless work I thought I'd have to spend my life doing. Volunteering for a cause I love has given me a sense of purpose, happiness, and hope for the future of all things.

The most important idea I've learned from my time so far is that real impact starts small, sometimes where you least expect it. The simple act of gardening is an act of salvation to our community and our one Earth. It is the realization that the seeds we bury, both literally and metaphorically, will go on through generations and long outlive our physical forms. That's because it is not our physical forms that last, it's what we create and nurture with it. The seeds you plant today will fuel cycles of hope, life, and creativity.
Date: November 18, 2020 Views: 224 File size: 31.3kb, 2919.3kb : 3024 x 4032
Hours Volunteered: 54
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1.012
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