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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Mooresville, NC, USA

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Mooresville, NC, USA

AnnaTriangle



Registered: December 2022
City/Town/Province: Mooresville
Posts: 2
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Less than 80 miles away from my hometown in Detroit Michigan was the biggest crisis in the United States' ecological history. The Flint Michigan water crisis reached thousands of people in Michigan, the effects of lead-ridden water bacterial infection including my own family. This would eventually lead to our exodus from the area, into sunny, safe North Carolina. I've lived in North Carolina for around seven years now, and though preservation is present in many places, one place where it is lacking is in our water. Issues that my family experienced near Flint inspired me to take part in water quality purification in Lake Norman and the areas surrounding it. The Marshall coal-fired power plant located on Lake Norman exerts radioactivity 2.5x the federal drinking water standard, thallium levels are 18x the North Carolina groundwater Standard, and over 16 million pounds of coal ash remain in unlined ponds at the Marshall Steam Station. These facts presented themselves as alarming to me, and armed with anger and passion behind me, I knew I had to do something about it.
I found myself sitting in the second block of my AP environmental science classroom devising a project with four other classmates devising a plausible plan to help Lake Norman. We briefly considered going after the issues of carcinogen-laced radioactive water, but given that the issue was linked to Duke Energy, multi-million cooperation, we decided to help the Lake in more manageable ways than high schoolers could. Every waterway in North Carolina is vastly impacted by plastic pollution, as both physical pieces and microplastics flow swiftly through our waterways, so after much debating, we chose to focus on plastic waste in the lake. In the execution of plans, The Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists (LNWC) agreed to send a representative out onto Lake Norman for a four-hour excursion manually removing plastic from the lake.
The LNWC took us out on a sunny Saturday morning to aid in our brave quest for the removal of plastic waste. With sunscreen in one hand and our hopes in another, we were taken out on a boat in hopes of helping our environment. On the water, we were taught about important landmarks and species found throughout the lake. We were introduced to invasive plants, such as the hydrilla, bird nesting sites, and the site of the infamous Marshall Steam Station. Most importantly though, we scoured the water for any forms of waste and found a few interesting items. My group's personal favorite was a size 11 Adidas men's slide. We were vastly disappointed that we only found one-half of a pair of shoes, but we were also very proud to have removed the lake of one rather fashionable hazard. Plastic was removed, and once driven back I and my group indulged in ice cream concealed in recyclable cups atop the docs of Lake Norman.
Our excursion had me thinking, though. We were told that my group was the only group of students volunteering for the LNWC that year. It was quickly brought to my attention how few of our youth were getting involved in the environment of our community. But why? Because reaching out to an organization to help with volunteering seems frightening. I was most certainly frightened when I had to reach out to the LNWC to help with my projects. So I thought, what if I made it easier?
I've been a member of the Mooresville Youth Council for many months now, and when it came down to pitching ideas for youth-run boards and committees, I knew that I had to get involved. I am a very proud founding member of the Mooresville Youth's first-ever Earth Day and Student Advancement committees, which aim to provide opportunity and education to Mooresville's youth and overall 50,000 residents of our town's environment. The Student Advancement committee is currently working on a letter draft urging school boards to consider providing more advanced material to younger children. Our group chose to center this advancement on STEM-related topics, with a focus on the environment and how their knowledge could shape the ecological future of Mooresville. Additionally, I've already seen the impact these teachings can have, as during this time I volunteered to teach sixth graders at my local elementary school about the environment through a club it hosted. The Youth Council's Earth Day Committee will be organizing Earth Day events for the entire town. We've chosen to take over our town's creek week, which will clean up creeks around Mooresville, clean out storm drains, and will drive a community-driven effort to help our environment. Both youth and adults would be able to get involved in "the Crusade Against Kudzu" a controlled burn of the invasive plant organized by the board I helped start.
Overall, I'm very proud of the work and inspiration that I've done for my community. From cleaning up the Lakes of my town to inspiring youth-led boards to get involved in my community, I believe that my actions now have shaped my future. In the future, I hope to hold a full-scale research project on the effects the radioactive waters have had on the Lake Norman Community. I aim to continue the spread of the Mooresville Youth councils aid in environmental preservation and outreach through the Student Advancement and Earth Day committees. And lastly, I hope to attend a four-year university with studies in environmental chemistry, so I can continue my outreach in hopes of creating a bigger, more positive impact on my community.
Date: December 26, 2022 Views: 255 File size: 12.8kb : 194 x 262
Hours Volunteered: 30
Volunteers: 5
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14-16
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