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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, Iowa, USA

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Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, Iowa, USA
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Registered: January 2022
City/Town/Province: Ankeny
Posts: 1
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On the 26th of July, 2021, I went with my volunteer group to the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge for a day trip experience. I'd been volunteering at the Blank Park Zoo for four summers, and one of my key roles was the Conservation Station. In this role, I would advocate for the foremost conservation cause of our facility: pollinators and the importance of native plants.

It was an important role, being an advocate. However, that didn't prepare me for the real experience. I cut down invasive plants in 90-degree heat for two hours, before aiding the ranger guiding us in sorting through prairie seeds in order to help rebuild the farmed-over prairies of my state.

It didn't prepare me for finally fully comprehending how important local conservation is. I plan on being an ecologist, but I'm a bit of a dreamer as well, and all my life I've dreamed of going to Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, or Siberia. I didn't pay enough attention to my own home, and often shrugged off the conservation shifts as filler hours. But that day, covered in sweat and the smell of cut bergamot, the concept I'd been taught came to life. Now, I carry it in my mind as I attend field studies in my marine biology class and work with exotic species at the zoo: your own corner of the world is just as important as the world at large, and deserves the same protection.
Date: January 1, 2022 Views: 984 File size: 8.1kb, 174.1kb : 950 x 348
Hours Volunteered: 7
Volunteers: 4.75
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18, 14-40s
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 0.4
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