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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Middleton, MA, USA

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Middleton, MA, USA
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smplante



Registered: November 2020
City/Town/Province: Middleton
Posts: 1
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From a young age, I've always stood in awe at the world around me, and this hasn't changed; I still feel at peace along wooded trails and the choppy waters of the Ipswich River. My family raised me with the environment in mind in every action I take, and our family sustainability blog has helped to pass this mindset onto others and reinforce it in ourselves. As a female member of Scouts BSA, my respect and admiration for nature has grown through my various camping trips, hikes, and canoe adventures. Unfortunately, during many of my troop's hikes along the local river, I noticed a serious problem: erosion. Dry earth tumbled from parking lots and heavily-walked areas into the river, polluting the water and taking away from land to walk on, sit on, and enjoy nature on. In some areas, dust flew up in such great quantities with the wind that I had to wear a mask to avoid coughing. I knew that for my Eagle Scout project, I wanted to work with my community to ameliorate this issue. Bolstering the goal of my project to meet the standards of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project's Apprentice Ecologist program made me more excited to tackle erosion.


The best way to remedy erosion is to reinforce eroded areas to prevent more erosion from happening. After analyzing each of the locations majorly troubled by erosion, I noticed that they all had a lack of any vegetation. Not one dandelion nor blade of grass made the eroded areas home. For my project, I knew I wanted to use a natural solution, so I decided to create erosion gardens in these areas of most need around my town. By the end of the project, my team and I planted 10 erosion gardens consisting of native, long-rooted plants like the humble highbush blueberry shrub and the beautiful columbine. I chose to use native plants so local pollinators and animals could utilize the plants as the plants' roots worked to hold soil in place.


Before planting, I studied town soil surveys and water levels at each location to determine what native plants would thrive and be most effective where. At each of the 10 sites, my team and I worked tirelessly to install these plants in the perfect spots, with each site containing around 6 to 8 plants of varying heights and areas of growth. After finishing our work and taking a collective step back to admire it, I felt a sense of joy and peace at how a small group of people made such an impressive impact on our local watershed. Over the summer, we took turns watering and monitoring the gardens to make sure they were healthy. To finish the project, we installed placards at each site to educate visitors on the importance of erosion prevention and native plant species.


Now that the gardens are successfully installed, they will grow and expand their land cover, increasing the range and magnitude of their positive effect. Not only will more soil be held in place, but more wildlife can utilize the plants, from their berries to their flowers to their leaves. I'm eager to see their progress over the next few years.


Seeing children, adults, and senior citizens in my community working together with me to help the river was incredibly inspiring. All of our differences melted away and we became a group of people excited to make a positive impact in our town. As they inspired me, I inspired in many of the community members a new appreciation and love for nature and the environment. With my college education and continued efforts as an environmental steward, I hope to continue to inspire people from all backgrounds to create positive environmental change in their schools, families, and communities.
Date: November 21, 2020 Views: 57 File size: 17.4kb, 4291.3kb : 4032 x 1960
Hours Volunteered: 266
Volunteers: 12
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 & 10 to 68
Native Trees Planted: 8
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