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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, South Dakota

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Gavins Point Dam, Yankton, South Dakota
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Registered: December 2020
City/Town/Province: Columbus
Posts: 1
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Being from Nebraska, my family and I have always enjoyed and valued our time in nature. We spend the majority of our summers outdoors soaking up the sun doing some of our favorite activities, including biking and taking walks down the Loup River. A few years ago, my family and I took a vacation to California that ended up changing my life forever. This trip opened my eyes to the organisms living in and around the ocean. I loved seeing and learning about the sea life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but along with this came the realization of the issues the ocean is dealing with. From plastic pollution to climate change, the world needs help. So I made it my biggest goal to be as environmentally friendly as I can. For these reasons, I decided to do an Apprentice Ecologist project this year on behalf of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project.
While my family and I were on our summer trip to Yankton, South Dakota, we decided to have our own little cleanup. We noticed that there was a lot of fishing line and other trash along the Gavins Point Dam where people fish. All this pollution is not good for anyone, fish and humans alike. Knowing this, we got out some bags and started cleaning up the dam area. The area we cleaned was just down from the dam where there were lots of rocks lining either side of the Missouri River. During the cleanup, we picked up every piece of trash we could find until we realized how unreasonable that would be for the few hours of daylight left in the day. At that point, we started to focus our cleanup on certain items. I chose to pick up all the fishing line, hooks, and weights I could reach while my dad picked up all the aluminum cans he could find. We were able to clean up about 200 yards of the rocky dam area ending with four bags of fishing line, hooks, and weights and three bags of smashed aluminum cans.
I think it is very important to keep Gavins Point Dam clean for a number of reasons. One reason being because it is a popular spot for people to visit and camp at nearby sites. Every time my family has been to Yankton, there has been quite a crowd of people fishing, camping, and just enjoying nature. By cleaning up a popular area, people are more appreciative of nature and can more easily have fun with their outdoor activities. It is also important to clean up the Gavins Point Dam area because of the animals that call that area their home. Animals can easily mistake trash for food and then face injuries or even death after the consumption of it. Animals can also get entangled in waste, like fishing line, eventually causing death if not taken care of soon enough. Another reason is that having trash lying around creates bacteria and could infect animals with illnesses that could be life-threatening.
This project affects both the Yankton community and the environment in some positive ways. The Yankton locals appreciate people who are willing to take care of the area they love and spend a lot of time in. The environment benefits from this project too because not as many animals will suffer from trash consumption, entanglement, or bacterial illnesses.
Ever since I followed through with this project, I have been constantly looking for different ways to help the environment. First of all, whenever I spend time at any park or outdoor area, I try to clean up any trash I can. After any clean up I conduct, I post on my social media about it and inform my friends and family about the trash issues the world is facing, even in our beloved local areas. Secondly, I donate and buy from reputable businesses that give back to the earth and are environmentally friendly. By having plastic-free alternative options, I have become very aware of my plastic usage and have become more minimalistic and environmentally friendly in my lifestyle. This project has pushed me to have future goals which will have a major impact on the environment. My future goals are to major in marine biology, continue to modify my lifestyle to help the earth, and to educate others on environmental issues.
Date: January 1, 2021 Views: 3746 File size: 33.9kb, 309.4kb : 828 x 828
Hours Volunteered: 7
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 16 to 59
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