Nicodemus Wilderness Project
Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - San Francisco, CA

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San Francisco, CA
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Registered: December 2021
City/Town/Province: South San Francisco
Posts: 1
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"Hey-hey, ho-ho, global warming's got to go!" I shouted at my first climate strike along San Francisco’s Embarcadero Square, with masses of people marching in unison. Our chants shook the streets and Salesforce Tower above. Two years later I participated in my third climate strike virtually, silent, and alone from my bedroom. Despite a good turnout, the energy just wasn’t the same.

As the leader of the Environmental Club, I knew climate activism couldn’t stop because of a pandemic, so I co-launched the Bay Area Youth Climate Summit (BAYCS). BAYCS started as a day-long event to discuss intersectional issues and connect over climate justice and activism, bringing over 280 high school students from 85 schools and 14 time zones. Since then, we’ve hosted 30+ workshops on local climate solutions and two more summits.

Growing up on the street the freeways of San Francisco which I drove on to school mesmerized me. Lined with litter, I dreamt of taking a huge vacuum and sucking up every single wrapper and piece of plastic, until the landscape was pristine. I tried to do this best I could-- as an 8-year-old. I’d carry a bag with me on walks with my dad and clean around my neighborhood, something to this day we still do together. Engrossed by the concept of recycling, I’d take the bottles and cans we picked up to a recycling center for some extra spending money. This "side-hustle" of mine was an outlet to express my love for the environment, leaving a place nicer than I found it and keeping trash out of natural ecosystems.

That is why one of my favorite workshops we hosted at our summit was Fighting Invasive Species in San Francisco and Mount Sutro. Being one of the largest and wildest green spaces, we brought awareness to Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve is a vast, mountainous, forest with no signs of the massive city it sits in. Constantly combatting the growth of invasive species, the workshop went into detail on how to identify a potentially invasive species based on leaf shape, color, or season. We also held workshops titled Creating a World with Zero Waste by SF Environment, No 1.5 without Nature: Nature-Based Solutions 101, and Reduce, Reuse, Converge with Zero Waste Youth. All of these presentations aligned with the values of an Apprentice Ecologist for the Nicodemus Wilderness Project. By educating others about wildlife or conservation issues on a local and global scale, youth attendees left more cognizant of such issues but also what they could do about them.

Beyond workshops, we also compiled sustainable hygiene kits for mutual aid, organized beach clean-ups, and campaigned for solar panels at schools. In January, we worked with the San Francisco-based, sustainable companies Allbirds and Grove Collaborative to provide socks and eco-friendly hygiene products to community fridges across the Bay Area. We filled reusable bags with eco-friendly menstrual products ie. 100% organic cotton tampons, reusable masks, hand sanitizer, socks made with a carbon-neutral footprint, and upcycled toothbrushes. We donated these to communities most in need in the Bay Area: at Community Fridges in San Francisco's Mission and Bayview-Hunters Point District, and Downtown Oakland. Amid a pandemic often necessities go unaddressed, so we wanted to address the social well-being of our community as we saw fit. Through the lens of sustainability, gifting products with a low ecological footprint was a primary goal of ours which we achieved by lots of community outreach.

I didn’t accomplish this myself, however; but with the help of 30 passionate high-schoolers on our inaugural team. Though our team started as "colleagues", we’ve built a community that cares for each other outside our activism. Most of my spare time in 2021, not devoted to school, went into BAYCS. Accomplishing my Apprentice Ecologist Project of online workshops, clean-ups, and hygiene kits gave me an outlet to take action in a time where the world felt out of control. While COVID-19 raged around us, being able to meet with fellow team members about our projects was a highlight of my week. In May, we held our first in-person community clean-up, along the freeway in San Francisco’s Balboa Park. I was joined by 20+ students from my high school as we picked up 20+ bags of trash from the street. Since then we’ve held three additional clean-ups, including two at Ocean Beach.
Most recently, in December we organized a book drive giving over 1,250 second-hand books to the Children's Book Project! Our goal was to raise awareness of the opportunity second-hand items such as books can give. Environmental stewardship can look like many different ways, for example repurposing items that otherwise would be left to go to waste through the gift of a second, third, or more life. Upwards of 15 billion trees are cut down each year in the world, the majority of which is used for paper. By reducing the amount of demand for purchasing new books, the impacts of deforestation and wildlife destruction decrease.

BAYCS has been an outlet for me to extend knowledge, resources, and passion beyond myself. Education is the foundation of any solution. By reaching audiences on a large scale to discuss important environmental issues, we aimed to create a solution-based dialogue when often what we hear around us is not. Since starting my project, I’ve also noticed increased climate conversations at school as a result, with more people reaching out to me on how to become their climate activists. Networks like the BAYCS make climate change seem less daunting and hopeless, as passionate individuals are united in a common goal to uplift the environment we are in now and leave the best possible environment for future generations. BAYCS highlights that any small improvements in local living conditions for both citizens and wildlife through education or action can make a big difference, no matter what.
Date: December 31, 2021 Views: 929 File size: 8.5kb, 17.9kb : 480 x 360
Hours Volunteered: 400
Volunteers: 30
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14-18
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 90
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