Nicodemus Wilderness Project
Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Lancaster Pennsylvania, United States

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Lancaster Pennsylvania, United States
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Registered: December 2021
City/Town/Province: Hummelstown
Posts: 1
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My name is Amelia Stagg. I am a freshman at Drexel University. Growing up, the environment was never something that I gave a lot of extra thought to. My family rarely went camping or hiking, I went to a college preparatory school that was not exceptionally in tune with the environment, and I never took the time to learn about it on my own. The last thing I thought I would be doing as a Senior in high school was an independent project significant enough to make a real impact on the environment around me. Switching schools in my junior year of high school made this possible for me.
In the spring of 2021, a classmate approached me about serving as the Chief Impact Officer on a larger project that he was working on outside of school. He wanted us to head a tree-planting project together. My role would be to coordinate the planting of at least 5000 trees, which would all be native tree species, in local watershed areas over six weeks. The project began on May 10, 2021, and was completed on June 5th of 2021, well under the six-week goal. I found the Nicodemus Wilderness Project after the completion of my project but wanted to share it with the organization. The project was conducted in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, mostly near streams, rivers, and flood zones, coordinating our plantings with both private landowners and township land, such as parks.
As the Chief Impact Officer, I was responsible for; securing tree donations and picking up trees and supplies from nurseries, identifying and contacting potential sites through cold calling, organizing and mobilizing volunteers, researching and identifying potential species to plant, and managing and running all thirteen of the plantings. I cold-called over sixty farms to find farmers willing to let us plant on their land. Many of the volunteers were attending their first tree planting so I also ran a short training session at the beginning of each planting event. During our project, we planted over 5,000 trees in riparian buffer zones in our mission to restore stream banks in Lancaster County. We mobilized over 200 local volunteers to support our cause and help us plant trees across the county.
Lancaster County is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which spans more than 64,000 square miles, encompassing parts of six states. The project was initiated because Lancaster County is the largest polluter of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment in the watershed due to a large number of Amish farms and fertilizers in the area. Out of the over 1,400 miles of streams in Lancaster County, almost half are polluted. In fact, the American Lung Association ranks Lancaster County's air quality as the 27th worst in the country, which was stunning to learn. Amish farms use animal waste for fertilizers and often do not have modern research at their disposal regarding stream health. Many Amish farms that have streams near the fields do not plant riparian buffer zones due to a lack of knowledge on their part. This allows all the animal waste fertilizer to wash right into the stream. By making contact with these Amish farmers, and explaining our cause, they were often interested in participating and learning the information and knowledge we had regarding stream health. It is important to share research about the earth with our neighbors so we can work together towards a common goal. Through tree planting, our project diverted 3.6 million gallons of contaminated water from local streams and at the same time offset 130 million miles of car emissions.
Our project helped members of our community get involved in; combating climate change, diverting thousands of gallons of polluted water from the Chesapeake Bay, educating landowners about the needs of the environment around their farms, removing millions of miles worth of carbon emissions from the air in Lancaster County, improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay, educating students about the importance of getting involved as well as their parents and siblings, many of whom joined our plantings, and bringing the community together after the onset of the pandemic. As a student at the Stone Independent School, whose Mission is to commit to making the world a measurably better place, it was really important to use student leaders to take time each week to not only encourage students to participate in plantings but also to educate the school community on how our project was impacting the County and how future student leaders might conduct similar projects in future years.
By heading this project, I learned how one person can make a difference in the world. My interest in the environment has been ignited, and I will never be able to turn my back on what I've learned. I now take every opportunity to plant a tree and participate in community service, as well as do my part as a consumer to better support and conserve the environment. This project also influenced my interests in my major and coursework at Drexel. I am a fashion design major, and the environment is a huge focus of this industry. By learning about taking care of the earth through this project, I have been inspired to pursue sustainability as a focus for my future.
Date: December 31, 2021 Views: 930 File size: 13.4kb, 1813.2kb : 4032 x 1960
Hours Volunteered: 643
Volunteers: 200
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 and 12 to 60
Native Trees Planted: 5,300
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